First Grade Teacher: Salary, Requirements & Job Description

A job as first grade teacher may be a career path to consider if you're interested in working with children in early education. Keep reading to discover what the job entails, educational requirements, salary, and the job growth outlook. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do First Grade Teachers Do?

First grade teachers work in public or private schools and provide children coming out of kindergarten with the necessary skills and knowledge to advance to later grades. Teachers work directly with students by providing structured lessons, evaluating individual student progress, grading assignments, and cultivating an environment of positive social development. In addition, first grade teachers keep parents updated on their child's challenges, growth, progress, and accomplishments.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Elementary education
Key Skills Adaptability, creativity, patience, communication
Licensure/Certification License required for public school teachers
Job Growth (2016-2026) 7% (for all kindergarten and elementary school teachers)*
Median Salary (2017) $56,900 (for all kindergarten and elementary school teachers)*

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Become a First Grade Teacher?

In order to become a first grade teacher, you'll need to get a bachelor's degree in elementary education or some similar degree depending on school offerings. While obtaining your degree, you'll learn how to manage a classroom, plan lessons, take courses in child development, and get hands on classroom experience. Most programs put you on the path to earning a teacher's certification. In some states, teachers are required to receive their master's degree once they begin working. While public school teachers need to have a state license and a certification in the grade they teach, this isn't typically a private school requirement.

If you have a bachelor's degree in a program other than elementary education, there are alternate routes to becoming a teacher. By completing a teacher education program, which typically consists of student-teaching, mentorship, and classes in child development, you can receive the certification and license required to teach.

How Much Do First Grade Teachers Make?

The reported median salary for elementary school teachers (excluding special education teachers) is $57,160. The lowest income reported was $37,340 and the highest was $92,770. Salary is also dependent upon whether teaching at a public or private school. The median salary for public school teachers is $58,390, while the median pay for private school teachers is $45,300.

What Is the Job Outlook for a First Grade Teacher?

Between 2016 to 2026, the expected employment for elementary school teachers is projected to see a 7 percent growth. Despite this, there are several factors that could impact employment. State and government budgets will play a role in the number of jobs available, and urban and rural school districts will be more likely to have open positions than suburban districts. More students enrolled in elementary schools along with older teachers retiring will certainly create a need for more elementary school teachers, but there is also the chance of this creating a surplus of teachers looking for work.

What Will My Work Schedule and Environment Be Like?

First grade teachers work in elementary schools and their work schedules typically follow the traditional academic calendar. They work during school hours and directly with students and get the summer and additional breaks off throughout the year. In the evenings and on weekends, teachers may spend time preparing lessons and grading assignments. They may also meet with other teachers or parents before or after school hours. First grade teachers spend much of their day in the classroom, though they also escort students to different activities throughout the course of the day such as lunch, recess, and activities outside of the school.

What Else Could I Do?

There are other careers you could pursue that are adjacent to that of a first grade teacher. For example, you could consider a career as a teacher of a different education level, such as a middle school, high school or preschool. You could also consider a non-teaching career that takes place in a school setting such as a principal or counselor. A career as a principal would involve more administrative work, and a career as a school counselor would involve working one-on-one with students to help them through educational and personal challenges. Finally, you could also consider a career as an instructional coordinator, which would involve reviewing and developing school curricula. All these alternative career routes require differing levels of education, although most require at least a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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