Children listen as their teacher reads them a story

How to Become an Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers have to focus on students’ individualized needs everyday in the classroom while balancing state-mandated curricula requirements. Teachers have to be able to transfer knowledge to students in a variety of subjects, and they also have to be conscious of developmentally appropriate concepts for the age group they are teaching. If you’ve ever thought about being an elementary school teacher, find out what it takes to make your dreams of teaching into a career.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

It doesn’t matter whether you work for a public school or a state school; if you want a career as a teacher, you have to first earn a bachelor’s degree. Although it is not always specified as a requirement, most schools these days prefer your bachelor’s degree to be in education. Degrees in education teach college students about the principles of American education and help college students understand state curriculum. It also prepares future teachers for the complexities of teaching in a classroom. Most degree programs require student teaching or internships, and degrees in education will help to set you up for the rest of the process of becoming a certified teacher.

Complete a Student Teaching Semester

Most education programs require students to complete at least one semester in a student-teaching position. However, even if your program doesn’t, it’s best to pursue student-teaching anyway. Not only will student-teaching help you gain an understanding of what it’s like to manage a classroom full of elementary school kids, it’ll also help you build professional connections for when you’re going through the job search process.

Pass State Licensing Exam

If you want to work for a public school system, you have to be legally certified to teach in a classroom. This means passing a state license or certification program. Licensing requirements vary by state. Most education programs help you navigate this process through your bachelor’s degree.

Decide Your Desired Type of School

Many teachers aim their job search at public schools, but others prefer to work in a private school setting. Both sectors have advantages and disadvantages. Public school systems may be more subject to economic downturn and funding cuts, but they also typically have set procedures for salary increases and promotions. As a public school teacher, you also work for the government, which promises certain benefits. Private schools, on the other hand, tend to pay teachers more. They also are allowed to reject students, so some suggest that teaching in a private school is made easier on the teacher because you are teaching students whose families are literally investing in their education. However, this also means that you’re not serving the public, which some people find problematic.

Apply for Teaching Jobs

Once you’ve gone through each of these steps, it comes down to applying for jobs and nailing interviews. Always remember the importance of professional networking and high academic performance!

Last Updated: July 01, 2015