What's the Job Description of a Montessori Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for Montessori teachers. Get the facts about education and training requirements, job duties and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Montessori Teacher?

Montessori teachers use specialized learning techniques and exercises, as well as specialized learning materials, to teach children. The term Montessori is derived from the name of the doctor who invented this method of teaching. Montessori teachers serve more as guides and assistants than directors of a classroom, allowing the students to direct their learning. Teachers will perform tasks like preparing activities for students, keeping the classroom stimulating and developmentally appropriate, and guiding students through their day.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a Montessori teacher.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Training Required Accredited teacher training program
Key Responsibilities Teach students through Montessori methods, create independent learning environment, use specially-designed learning materials
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (all PreK-12 teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $51,640 (kindergarten), $54,890 (elementary), $55,860 (middle school), $57,200 (high school)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Montessori Teaching Method

In the first half of the 20th Century, a psychologist and educator named Maria Montessori created a new, experimental way of educating children based upon her research findings. This system would become known as the Montessori method; this method involves learning through independent exercises, as well as the use of specially-designed learning objects, like movable alphabets. A Montessori teacher is trained and certified in the Montessori method; he or she may teach in public or private institutions, as well as in stand-alone Montessori schools.

Certifications

You can earn teacher certification in the Montessori method through the American Montessori Society (AMS); you'll need to complete a bachelor's program in order to qualify for this credential. You'll also need to complete a teacher training program that is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).

Accredited Montessori teacher training programs are available through private organizations, public colleges and private universities. The AMS website has a directory that will allow you to search by zip code for a training program that is located in your area. Each training program is differentiated by age group; for example, you could learn how to teach children and adolescents ages 0-3, 2.5-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15 or 15-18. The AMS notes that aspiring Montessori teachers who possess only a high school diploma can qualify for the associate credential to teach children at the 0-3 and 2.5-6 levels (www.amshq.org).

In most training programs, you'll study topics like child development, curriculum planning, geography, music, mathematics and physical education. You'll also be expected to complete a student-teaching internship under the guidance of a certified Montessori instructor. Many training programs may take 1-2 years to complete.

You could also enroll in a Master of Education program with a specialization in Montessori Education. Some master's programs include coursework leading to AMS certification as part of their curriculum. You can usually complete a master's program after two years of study; you might be expected to take a written comprehensive exam in order to earn your degree.

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs available for preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers was expected to increase by 6% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the BLS estimated that the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $54,890; kindergarten teachers earned a median annual salary of $51,640 during the same year. The median annual wage for middle school teachers in 2015 was $55,860; during that year, secondary school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200, as reported by the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you like the idea of letting students learn by doing, you might also consider a career as a physical education (PE) teacher or a life coach. PE teachers not only coach students through sports games, but they must develop instructional materials for students to use. They usually need a bachelor's degree in education, PE, or something related. Life coaches are trained to guide individuals into healthier lifestyles, including nutrition, exercise, and other activities. They may work in schools or hospitals, and they need at least a high school diploma to begin, although some employers may require an associate's or bachelor's degree in a related field.

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