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Kindergarten Teacher Career Guide

Are you calm and compassionate enough to work with children in the first stages of their education? Then become a kindergarten teacher!

Kindergarten teachers work only with children between the ages of four and five. They are responsible for teaching these young children the basic skills that prepare them for elementary school (and the world beyond that!). To become a kindergarten teacher, you will need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. In some states, kindergarten teachers will be required to have a major in a content area (e.g., math, science or music).

Kindergarten Teacher Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life Kindergarten Teacher Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the Kindergarten Teacher field.
ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33703 Teacher Female 31 $62,000 Westford, MA 01/01/2010
33590 Kindergarten Teacher Female 27 $60,000 Ellicott City, MD 01/01/2010
33448 Teacher Female 24 $45,000 bolivar, OH 01/01/2010

Overview

What does an kindergarten teacher actually do?

Kindergarten teachers have the lovely and fulfilling job of working with young children at the very beginning of their education. They are responsible for teaching these young children the basic skills that prepare them for elementary school (and the world beyond that!). Kindergarten teachers teach children between the ages of four to five years old. They can work in private or state schools or for child day care services. Regardless of where they work, the main duties and responsibilities of a kindergarten teachers include:

  • Planning a programme that helps each young student achieve the learning objectives
  • Preparing lesson materials that are fun and engaging for young children 
  • Selecting and using instructional methods and materials
  • Adapting teaching methods to meet individual student’s needs
  • Developing and implementing a suitable classroom management system
  • Enforcing school rules
  • Instructing children on self-care
  • Observing and evaluating each students performance
  • Forming relationships with parents and keeping them updated on their child’s development

Why they are needed

All teachers are arguably some of the most important members of society. Specifically, kindergarten teachers are responsible for integrating young children into the world of learning. Kindergarten teachers teach these young children the social, personal hygiene, basic reading, art and music skills that they need to be successful not only at school, but in life. They prepare the children for the higher grades of elementary school and play an important role in the bridge between early childhood care and elementary school. Overall, kindergarten is a very important year for all children and kindergarten teachers are needed to insure that they have a safe and easy transition.

The pros and cons of a career as an kindergarten teacher

Pros:

  • Like all teachers, kindergarten teachers have an excellent schedule as they tend to work during school hours
  • If you like education and children, then you get to do something you’re passionate about every single day!
  • Kindergarten teachers get to work in a cohesive, supportive and friendly working environment
  • Being a teacher is an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career as they make a huge difference to the lives of young children by teaching them the skills they need to progress successfully through life
  • No two days are the same and there is rarely a boring day as an teacher
  • Kindergarten teachers often have excellent benefits packages

Cons:

  • Kindergarten teachers have a lot of responsibility
  • Looking after lots of small children can be physically and mentally draining
  • Not every child will progress and develop as hoped
  • It is a job that requires a high level of commitment and dedication
  • Kindergarten teachers have to dedicate evenings and weekends to lesson planning
  • Kindergarten teachers may have to work with challenging parents who may disagree with what they believe is best for the child’s development

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This employment growth is expected because the growing population will cause a rise in student enrolment in kindergarten and elementary schools. Therefore, more kindergarten teachers will be needed to accommodate these students.

However, the employment growth of  kindergarten teachers will vary by region, as the number of job opportunities is dependent on state and local government budget.  If state and local governments experience budget deficits, they may lay off employees, including teachers. As a result, employment growth of public kindergarten teachers may be somewhat reduced.

Career paths

The career path to becoming a public or private kindergarten school teacher begins with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. In some states, you may be required to have a major in a content area (e.g., math or science).

If  you decide to achieve a bachelors degree in another subject, you can still become a kindergarten teacher! To do this, they must complete a teacher education program to obtain a certificate to teach.

In a teacher education program, you will learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. During these programs, aspiring teachers will work with a mentor teacher to gain experience teaching students in a classroom setting!

In some states, kindergarten teachers are required to have a masters degree which is achieved after receiving their teacher certification and obtaining a job.

Example Job Titles for Kindergarten Teacher

Below is a list of common job titles in the Kindergarten Teacher field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for kindergarten teachers in the United States was $56,850. The lowest 10% earned less than $37,420 and the highest 10% earned more than $90,180 per year. Kindergarten teachers at local elementary and secondary schools received the highest median annual salary ($58,380 per year). This was followed by private elementary and secondary schools ($46,470) and then child day care services ($34,190).

Autonomy and flexibility

Like many careers, autonomy is lower among kindergarten teachers at the beginning of their career and higher among those with years of experience. However, one study found that 38% of all teachers (kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school) felt that they have ‘a little’ or ‘no’ influence over their professional development goals. This means that many teachers will feel they have little control and autonomy over their career. This is likely to be because teachers must to stick to state regulations and teaching requirements in order to give children the best possible education.

Locations and commute

The opportunities for kindergarten teachers will vary by state. This is due to different budgets. However, according to Zippia, the best states to be a kindergarten teacher, based on average annual salary and number of job available, are:

  1. Connecticut, where the average annual salary is $51,516
  2. Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $51,661
  3. New Hampshire, where the average annual salary is $50,495
  4. New Jersey, where the average annual salary is $50,207
  5. Nevada, where the average annual salary is $43,239

The worst states to be a teacher, according to Zippia, are Tennessee, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Hawaii and Missouri.

Work environment

81% of kindergarten teachers in the United States were employed by local elementary and secondary schools in 2019. 14% were employed by private elementary and secondary schools and 3% of kindergarten teachers were employed by child day care services.

In general, being a kindergarten teacher is highly rewarding. Often, teachers work in supportive and cohesive environments where they get to interact with other like minded people. However, of course, teaching is very stressful at times. Some schools have large classes and lack important teaching tools, such as computers. At other times, children can be very challenging and frustrating.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Kindergarten Teacher careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Kindergarten Teacher career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Kindergarten Teacher.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

Successful teachers are likely to be ENFJ personality types. ENFJ’s, or sometimes called ‘the mentor’, are forward-thinkers. They enjoy serving the community and can always see the potential in other people. They want to focus on the possibilities of growth for others, which is absolutely essential qualities for school teachers who must strive to help every student grow.

Accomplishment and mastery

In general, all teachers will feel a high sense of accomplishment and mastery when they help students to achieve the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in life. Kindergarten teachers will feel particularly accomplished because they play such an important role in a child’s education journey. Kindergarten teachers will work with small children who are positive and grateful for the help they receive and the fun things they need.

Meaning and contribution

As mentioned previously, elementary school teachers are so important because they are some of the first teachers that a child with encounter. They have huge meaning to society because the shape a child’s educational process. Without the hard work and dedication of teachers, society would not be able to progress in a positive way. Teachers play a hugely meaningful role in inspiring each generation and preparing them from the big wide world.

Life fit

In general, kindergarten teachers work during school hours when kindergarten students are present. However, they will also have to meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school. Kindergarten teachers will often spend time in the evenings and on weekends preparing lessons.

Many kindergarten teachers work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. They also have a short midwinter break. Some teachers work during the summer. Which, can provide lots of time off to spend with family and friend.

Who will thrive?

Teaching requires a lot of patience. To thrive as a teacher, of any grade, you will need to have qualities such as:

  • Adaptability, as teachers will be faced with constant changes and differing situations – this may be having different students each year or changing curriculum
  • Calmness, as it is important that this reflects and rubs off on the children
  • Mental strength, as teaching young children can be difficult and in order to thrive, teachers must be able to see through this
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations, as teachers will have to keep their cool when dealing with disobedient students
  • The desire to work really hard during school term time
  • Finally, to thrive high as a teacher, you need the genuine passion for education and improving the lives of students. Without this, they may be ok teachers, but they will never thrive and be successful

Who will struggle?

Rather obviously, you will struggle as a kindergarten teacher if you don’t like children (especially young ones). Similarly, if you have no real passion for education and shaping the future generation, then you are likely to struggle as a school teacher. A lack empathy and patience is also not beneficial to teachers, who will have to work with challenging and demanding children.

Requirements

Skills and talents

As well as a genuine passion for education, kindergarten teachers need skills and talents such as:

  • Communication skills, as kindergarten teachers need good speaking skills to communicate with parents and colleagues and understanding young children. They will also need good writing skills in order to maintain written documents
  • Observational skills, as young children may not always communicate clearly, so kindergarten teachers must be able to observe their needs and progress
  • Creativity, as kindergarten teachers must be able to plan fun and engaging lessons that interest and inspire small children a
  • Patience, as working with small children can be very difficult!
  • Resourcefulness, as kindergarten teachers must find new ways to engage students, especially those who are not passionate about learning

Education

To become a kindergarten teacher, either at a public or private school, you will ideally need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. In some states, you may be required to have a major in a content area (e.g., math, science or music). If you do not have a bachelors degree in elementary education, you must complete a teacher education program to obtain a certificate to teach.

Certificates

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed in the specific grade level that they teach. To achieve licensure kindergarten teachers must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average, completed a student-teaching program, passed a background check and passed a general teaching certification test. Those who teach in private schools typically do not need to be licensed.

For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education.

However, if you didn’t complete a student-teaching program, all states offer an alternative route to licensure. These alternative programs cover teaching methods and child development. Candidates are awarded full certification after they complete the program. Other alternative programs require prospective teachers to take classes in education before they can start to teach. Teachers may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.

How to Become

Summary

Kindergarten teachers are one of the first teachers that many children encounter. Based on this, they play a really important part in a child’s education process and teach them the skills they need for not only the rest of their education, but also the rest of their lives.

Due to the growing population, and therefore the increased enrolment of students in kindergarten and elementary schools, the demand for kindergarten teachers is expected to rise over the coming years. This will create many exciting job opportunities in both local and private schools.

Immediate action

Does becoming a kindergarten teacher sound like something you’re interested in doing? Great!

Well, like many careers, it is always advisable to get your foot in the door early. To do this, we recommend seeking relevant work experience. Work experience for kindergarten teachers includes things such as working in a school, working in a preschool or nannying children

Education and learning

Kindergarten teachers will need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. In some states, kindergarten teachers will be required to have a major in a content area (e.g., math, science or music). Kindergarten school teachers that do not have a bachelors degree that isn’t in elementary education (i.e., it is in another area) must complete a teacher education program to obtain a certificate to teach.

Skill development

Kindergarten teachers will learn many of their skills through their training. Like all teachers, kindergarten teachers will continue to develop their skills throughout their career. They will do this by attending teacher training days and by constantly learning and challenging themselves.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Kindergarten Teacher careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33703 Teacher Female 31 $62,000 Westford, MA 01/01/2010
33590 Kindergarten Teacher Female 27 $60,000 Ellicott City, MD 01/01/2010
33448 Teacher Female 24 $45,000 bolivar, OH 01/01/2010

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