How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten Teacher Careers & Degrees

When you become a kindergarten teacher you have the ability to make a difference to your students in a very important time in their development.

A kindergarten teacher is a teacher who specializes in the first year of schooling for children aged between 4 and 5.

Important skills such as literacy and numeracy are taught at this level.

It’s also an important time for social development, as children learn how to relate to their teachers and peers.

During kindergarten, a teacher will help students make the transition from preschool to elementary school.

While a lot of learning is completed in the traditional way, there is also a component of playing in the classroom which helps children to learn.

If you’re interested in a career in education, and enjoy spending time with children, then you might like to become a kindergarten teacher.

To succeed you’ll need a friendly personality that young children can relate too.

You’ll also need excellent communication skills and lots of patience.

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Education Requirements to Become a Kindergarten Teacher

If you are in high school but would like to become a kindergarten teacher, you might like to get some work experience.

Working in a before and after school care center can be helpful, as well as babysitting jobs, or other activities that involve kids.

To become a kindergarten teacher you will need a four year bachelor degree either in elementary school education or an early childhood education degree.

In all states you are required to be licensed to become a kindergarten teacher.

Licensure required a four year accredited degree, plus literacy and numeracy exams.

To find out the exact licensing requirements in your state, take a look at the CDA Council website.

Kindergarten Teacher Job Description

A kindergarten teacher takes classes for children in their first year of school where students are usually between 4 and 5 years of age.

Teachers develop lesson plans that focus on literacy and basic math skills, as well as making the adjustments required in their first year of elementary school.

Social and emotional development is also important for students.

Learning how to listen, share, and relate to peers and teachers is stressed in this year of education.

Quite a bit of teaching is done through play, with children taking part in games and story time to help them learn.

Kindergarten teachers will regularly communicate with their student’s parents, either directly or through regular progress reports.

They must also keep in close contact with other teaching and administrative staff.

Here are some of the tasks a kindergarten teacher may be responsible for:

  • Planning lessons
  • Teaching students
  • Supervising recess and play time
  • Writing reports
  • Communicating with parents
  • Communicating with other staff
  • Professional development

Kindergarten teachers work a forty hour week, but may sometimes need to work overtime to mark work or create new curriculums.

Most only work ten months of the year, with a break over the summer.

Kindergarten Teacher Salary and Career Path

After you have completed your education along with any requirements for licensure in your state, you’ll be ready to begin work as a kindergarten teacher.

Many teachers stay in their position indefinitely.

Others move on to work as leading teachers, or principals.

Some leave teaching to work in educational administration.

Some similar roles to that of kindergarten teacher that might interest you include:

In your first year of teaching you could expect to earn about $35,000 in a public school.

the median 50% of teachers earn between $47,000 and $51,000 a year.

Private schools teachers earn less, but may have access to other benefits.

After some experience you could expect a salary within this range.

Some teachers earn additional income by coaching sports teams or supervising other activities.

If you are looking for a rewarding career working with children, then you might like to become a kindergarten teacher.

It’s a great field to be in, as education shows high growth and employment opportunity.

There is also a lot of opportunity for advancement within schools, and also many areas to take on further study or other forms of professional development.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$60,210
$37K
$45K
$60K
$71K
$90K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$46,190
Alaska$65,420
Arizona$45,310
Arkansas$48,100
California$73,480
Colorado$50,920
Connecticut$78,720
Delaware$61,040
District of Columbia$58,800
Florida$56,970
Georgia$57,490
Hawaii$37,570
Idaho$47,800
Illinois$57,810
Indiana$51,730
Iowa$51,720
Kansas$51,100
Kentucky$53,880
Louisiana$45,200
Maine$53,260
Maryland$70,240
Massachusetts$77,970
Michigan$60,320
Minnesota$62,410
Mississippi$45,510
Missouri$52,670
Montana$51,900
Nebraska$60,030
Nevada$56,070
New Hampshire$58,030
New Jersey$68,800
New Mexico$52,290
New York$78,140
North Carolina$48,700
North Dakota$55,290
Ohio$58,960
Oklahoma$45,360
Oregon$74,700
Pennsylvania$66,160
Rhode Island$78,180
South Carolina$54,710
South Dakota$43,060
Tennessee$50,390
Texas$55,340
Utah$64,710
Vermont$57,340
Virginia$68,720
Washington$63,710
West Virginia$46,980
Wisconsin$58,060
Wyoming$57,420
Guam$46,350
Puerto Rico$33,000

The top earning state in the field is Connecticut, where the average salary is $78,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Connecticut - $78,720
Rhode Island - $78,180
New York - $78,140
Massachusetts - $77,970
Oregon - $74,700
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education, OCC Code 25-2012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a kindergarten teacher do?

A kindergarten teacher is a professional who educates kids; the main difference between this professional and any other teacher is that the children that the kindergarten teacher works with are experiencing school for the first time.

The specialists are not only responsible for managing the resources and materials used to educate the children – the main aim of a teacher is to provide the educational and emotional growth of the children in a classroom setting.

A kindergarten teacher teaches very basic reading skills, phonics learning, early mathematics, proper social skills, etc.

Moreover, the teachers prepare their students for the higher grades and also certain aspects of their future life outside school.

The professionals are responsible for reporting to parents; recognizing any emotional or intellectual problems; conducting parent-teacher conferences, and so on.

QuestionHow much do kindergarten teachers make?

On average, a kindergarten teacher can make a little more than $55.000 per year in the United States.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the school you work for, the location and so on.

Teachers that work in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level kindergarten teacher can earn around $17 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $41.50 and more per hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a kindergarten teacher?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree in elementary or early childhood education in order to become a kindergarten teacher.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

To improve job perspectives, you can go for a master’s degree in elementary education (over $30.000).

You must be certified to be able to become a kindergarten teacher; the cost of teacher certification can vary from state to state, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $200.

QuestionWhat is the demand for kindergarten teachers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the kindergarten teacher job market is expected to grow by 8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is pretty much the same as the national average for all occupations in the United States.

The career will be providing moderate employment opportunities in the near future.

The industry is mainly concentrated in Texas, Florida, and California.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a kindergarten teacher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree.

To become a certified teacher, you would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, pass a background check and knowledge and skills tests.

The initial certificate is valid for 5 years; you would have to complete a certain number of professional development hours every five years to maintain the certification.

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