How To Become An Elementary School Teacher

Would you like to play a role in the education of children, so that they may be better prepared for making a difference in the future? If you are interested in how to become an elementary school teacher, continue reading to get more information.

What Do Elementary School Teachers Do?
As an elementary school teacher, your responsibilities will include:

  • Preparing lesson plans, class activities, homework assignments, and tests
  • Teaching basic subjects like science, mathematics, reading, social studies, English, and history
  • Grading tests and assignments to evaluate progress of the students
  • Providing individual attention to students
  • Communicating with parents regarding their child's class performance, behavior, and other school related activities and events
  • Preparing students for taking standardized tests which are required by the state
  • Supervising children outside the classroom - lunch-breaks, assemblies, recess, or field trips

What Are The Educational Requirements?

There is no single definite set of requirements for becoming an elementary school teacher. It varies depending on the state and school district where you want to teach. Most states require teachers to have a bachelor degree in elementary education. Some school districts would prefer specialized knowledge in a certain area like science or math. If you are specializing in a specific area, you could enroll in a teacher's preparation program at a university. These programs also enable you to take courses in education and child psychology. The programs are designed in such a way as to teach you the skills necessary for dealing with children of different abilities and backgrounds. In addition to classroom instruction, most programs require students to complete student teaching during their last year of their undergraduate program.

If you want to teach at a private school, you may not have to comply with state requirements. But remember to check the specific requirements of each school and state.

Are There Any Licensure Requirements?
If you intend to teach in a public school, you will be required by your state to be licensed. Before granting a certificate, some states will require you to fulfill several additional conditions:

  • Your undergraduate GPA must be above their minimum requirement
  • Pass a general teacher certification exam
  • Take a specialized test related to check your knowledge of the subject you want to teach
  • Complete an annual professional development class
  • Pass a background check

What Does It Take To Become A 'Good' Elementary School Teacher?
Many elementary school teachers have additional skills and traits that help them be successful. Teaching might initially come across as a very pleasant and rewarding profession, but it is also challenging and stressful in several ways. Some useful qualities include effective communication skills, patience, steadfastness, creativity, sense of responsibility, and the ability to view a situation from different perspectives.

What Is The Employment Outlook?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is going to be a 17% growth in the employment of elementary school teachers from 2010 to 2020. In 2012, elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $56,130 on a yearly basis. There is a shortage of teachers in several subspecialties like special education and English as a Second Language (ESL). To enhance your employment prospects, you might consider focusing on these areas. Opportunities, however, will vary in different states and school districts.


Q:How long does it take to become an elementary school teacher?

A:At least a 4 year bachelor degree is needed to become a teacher in any state. You can opt for a bachelor in education with specialization in elementary teaching. Most bachelor degrees take four years to complete. Apart from this, you will also have to apply for a teaching license in your state.

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