Jobs, Salaries and Career after Masters in Elementary Education and Teaching - Updated 2020

2018 median Pay for Elementary Education and Teaching

The median annual wage for elementary school teachers, except special education was $58,230 in May 2018. The median annual wage for kindergarten teachers, except special education was $55,470 in May 2018.


Pay

However, teaching may be stressful. Some schools have large classes and lack important teaching tools, such as computers and up-to-date textbooks. Some states are developing teacher mentoring programs and teacher development courses to help with the challenges of being a teacher. Work Schedules Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally work during school hours when students are present. They may meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school. They often spend time in the evenings and on weekends grading papers and preparing lessons. Many kindergarten and elementary school teachers work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer.



Best paying jobs for Education


Number of Jobs for Elementary Education and Teaching

Number of Jobs in 2018 was 1,565,300


Education required

Bachelor's degree


Job Outlook for Elementary Education and Teaching

Overall employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for kindergarten and elementary teachers, but employment growth will vary by region.


Job description of Elementary Education and Teaching

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical-thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day. Teachers may escort students to assemblies, recess, or classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, typically either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers use technology in their classroom as a teaching aide. They must be comfortable with using and learning new technology. Teachers also may maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.


How to become Elementary Education and Teaching

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Private schools typically have the same requirement. Some states also require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science.

Those with a bachelor’s degree in another subject can still become elementary education teachers. They must complete a teacher’s education program to obtain certification to teach.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. They also take classes in education and child psychology. Programs typically include a student-teaching program, in which they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.

Some states require teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification and obtaining a job.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified in the specific grade level that they will teach. Those who teach in private schools typically do not need a license. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state, but generally involve the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average
  • Completion of a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching.
  • Passing a background check
  • Passing a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach.

For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license or certification. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification and obtaining a job.

All states offer an alternative route to certification or licensure for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators. They also need to be able to communicate the subject content to students in a manner in which they will understand.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to new teachers or become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional schooling in education administration or leadership.


What people in similar profession do

Job Title What they do How to become one
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma. Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer those who have a license or certification. Education Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL).
Elementary Education and Teaching Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Private schools typically have the same requirement.
Secondary Education and Teaching High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market. High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require public high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history.
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children. Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They typically need at least an associate’s degree. Education Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree. Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
Educational Leadership and Administration Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program. A bachelor’s degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA). Education Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but educational requirements can vary by state.
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student life, or the registrar’s office. Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. Education Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. However, at smaller colleges or community college, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient.
Special Education and Teaching Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities. Special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. Private schools typically require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, but the teachers are not required to be licensed or certified. For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education. Education All states require special education teachers in public schools to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Curriculum and Instruction Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment. Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some states require licensure for career counselors. Education Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. Degree programs teach counselors the essential skills of the job, such as how to foster academic development; conduct group and individual counseling; work with parents, school staff, and community organizations; and use data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs for all students.
Educational/Instructional Technology Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.

Job Outlook for other majors in Education

Job Title Number of jobs Median Salary Job outlook
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 68200 $53630 Decline
Secondary Education and Teaching 1018700 $60320 As fast as average
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 478500 $29780 Faster than average
Educational Leadership and Administration 61800 $47940 Faster than average
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration 180100 $94340 Faster than average
Special Education and Teaching 439300 $59780 As fast as average
Curriculum and Instruction 163200 $64450 Faster than average
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services 291700 $56310 Faster than average
Educational/Instructional Technology 163200 $64450 Faster than average