How Do I Become a Kindergarten Teacher?

If you enjoy teaching others, have excellent communication skills and love the adventure of working with young children, you might be wondering how to become a kindergarten teacher. Kindergarten teachers are the classroom instructors who educate kindergarten students, usually in the age range of five- to six-years-old. Often, kindergarten teachers teach their classes every subject, with the exception of special subjects such as art, music or physical education.

Kindergarten teachers must be able to manage entire classes full of five- and six-year-old students. They create classroom rules to maintain order and help socialize their students, and they must enforce both their own classroom rules and school rules. Kindergarten teachers must devise lesson plans that will keep students attentive and interested as well as communicate information. At this grade level, education often includes fun and creative activities that allow students to learn the basics of reading, such as identifying letters, and mathematics, such as recognizing numbers. Though written assignments are likely to be less frequent and heavily weighted in kindergarten than they are in later grades, kindergarten teachers may assign classwork. Kindergarten teachers evaluate students’ social and behavioral performance based on how well they behave in class and grade their academic progress how well they perform in class projects.

The first step to becoming a kindergarten teacher is pursuing a formal education at a college or university. In most states, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education is a requirement for public school positions and most private school positions as kindergarten teachers. State regulations might also require teachers to study in a content area we well as elementary education. During their academic careers, aspiring kindergarten teachers will learn about child psychology, child development, teaching strategies and classroom management. Often, a student teaching experience is required to graduate. If an aspiring teacher has already earned a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than elementary education, he or she may pursue teaching certification through an alternate route of study.

Upon completing their educational requirements, aspiring kindergarten teachers must obtain licenses and certifications as required by the state in which they intend to teach. Exact license and certification requirements vary by state. However, a bachelor’s degree, supervised hands-on experience acquired through student teaching and successful completion of a certification test are common requirements for earning certification as an elementary school or early childhood education teacher.

Kindergarten teachers earn a median salary of $48,800 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Aspiring kindergarten teachers can look forward to a positive job outlook. The BLS expects job opportunities for these professionals to increase by 18 percent during the 2010 to 2020 decade, slightly more than the 14 percent job growth anticipated across all occupations. If you have the patience and creativity to work with young children and have natural leadership and instructional skills, knowing how to become a kindergarten teacher could be your first step toward a rewarding career in the important field of education.

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