Kindergarten Teacher
How to Become a

Kindergarten Teacher

The complete career guide to be a Kindergarten Teacher: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $54,510
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute

Kindergarten teachers help students bridge the gap between homecare/daycare and elementary school. They teach student basic reading, writing, and math concepts, help students learn how to work together and how to behave in a classroom environment, and create plans for daily activities and lessons.


What is a Kindergarten Teacher?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in kindergarten teacher roles:

  • Create daily schedules and lesson plans for a class of kindergarten students
  • Teach students how to work together and how to behave in a classroom
  • Educate students on basic skills like counting, writing, reading, and hand coordination skills like coloring within lines and cutting paper with scissors
  • Work with parents to develop plans for improving and extending learning at home
  • Monitor students for signs of learning disabilities and behavioral disorders

A Day in the Life

Kindergarten teachers work with students who are around five years old and help them bridge the gap between daycare, preschool, or homecare and elementary school. Because the transition from playing all day to being in a classroom can be difficult for young children, kindergarten teachers play an important role in helping students learn how to be good students, good friends, and effective learners. A large part of the role is teaching students how to interact with others and how to behave in school.

Beyond helping students learn how to be effective students, kindergarten teachers also teach students basic concepts. They make sure students can count, can write all letters of the alphabet in print characters, and may teach basic reading, math, and spelling. They also have students engage in more fun activities like cutting out objects on paper and coloring to help students refine their hand-eye coordination—a skill that helps with writing more clearly and neatly.

Another important role of the kindergarten teacher is to observe and analyze student behaviors to determine whether or not students are ready for school and to identify any learning or behavioral disorders. The teacher works closely with parents of kindergarten students to inform the parents of any issues observed and make recommendations for activities or services that may help students improve. In some cases, the teacher may recommend that a student repeats the grade to be better prepared and more mature before moving into elementary school and first grade.

Typical Work Schedule

Most kindergarten teachers typically work full-time during the regular school hours which includes around 40 hours per week. However, some teachers may also work part time which provides more space to side activities or continuous learning. Occasionally, teachers may need more time to meet with parents or other teachers when some of the children show signs of disorders or abnormalities. You may also need to spend some time preparing the classes or the activities that you will deliver to the children. The advantage of this job, similar to other teachers, is that you will work only for the traditional 10-month school year and take 2-month summer vacation as well as a short break during the winter.

Projected job growth

There are currently more than 1.5 million kindergarten and elementary teachers in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 4 % from 2019 to 2029 which as fast as the average of all other occupations. This rate is expected to vary slightly depending on the region, but the rising student enrollment rates should increase the demand for teachers anyway. The increasing population will lead to increasing the number of students in various age groups which will require more schools and therefore more teachers. In addition, the number of teachers will depend on the state and local budget that will determine the number of teachers and whether to hire or lay off more teachers. Based on the limited growth in demand for the job, you should expect some competition when seeking a kindergarten teaching position.

Typical Employers

Kindergarten teachers normally work for educational institutes that can between the small day care centers, kindergartens or schools. These schools can either be in the public or in the private sectors. The schools can vary depending on the location and economic state of the population and different schools especially private schools may require extra certifications to earn a good position. You may also choose to work in special education which will require more experience and extra certifications.


How To Become a Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers must earn a bachelor’s degree to qualify for open elementary school teacher positions. Generally, aspiring kindergarten teachers pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, though part of their education may include specializing in a specific subject. To work in a public school, teachers must earn the appropriate certification or license from the state they want to teach in. Private schools may also require state certification, though they are not required to.

For individuals who earned degrees that weren’t education-specific and didn’t lead to licensure/certification, several institutions offer one-year programs that allow individuals to become certified as an elementary school teacher without requiring pursuit of a second, elementary education degree. Additionally, most aspiring kindergarten teachers are required to engage in several hours of student teaching in addition to completing the required coursework and licensure testing.

Generally, kindergarten teachers must engage in ongoing education to keep their licenses. Some teachers who want to move on to higher-level positions use these continuing education requirements to pursue a master’s degree that requires educational leadership or administration coursework. These teachers may then qualify to work as assistant principals, principals, or instructional coordinators, and they may also serve on the school board later in their careers if they want to move out of teaching.


Kindergarten Teacher Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$41,700

Average

$54,510

High Range

$79,960

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

---

Average

---

High Range

---

How do Kindergarten Teacher salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Kindergarten Teacher's can make an average annual salary of $54,510, or --- per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $41,700 or --- per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #333 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Kindergarten Teacher. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Kindergarten Teachers

  • 0.7%   Doctorate
  • 12.4%   Masters
  • 34.3%   Bachelors
  • 15.3%   Associates
  • 22.5%   College
  • 12.8%   High School
  • 1.9%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

159,400

2024 Est. Jobs

168,900

Job Growth Rate

6%

Est. New Jobs

9,500

How does Kindergarten Teacher job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 9,500 jobs for a total of 168,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #377 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Kindergarten Teachers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 128,600 7,600 8%
Child day care services 6,400 500 1%
Self-employed workers 600 --- ---

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