How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
Drexel University School of Education
Working with kids can be quite rewarding, but it can also be rather challenging. Having a love for educating children and the patience required to work with them is a good start towards becoming a kindergarten teacher. Like any other educator, kindergarten teachers have to complete a variety of elementary school teacher educational requirements.
Those specific requirements vary on a state-by-state basis, but what else do you need to become a kindergarten teacher? In addition to general information on being a kindergarten teacher, below you can learn about the typical path that students take on their road to educating young minds during their formative years.
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Kindergarten Teacher?
It’s possible to become a teacher with practically any accredited bachelor’s degree. However, even though there is no such thing as a kindergarten teacher degree, there are programs that make it much easier to become a kindergarten teacher.
The most direct route is a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, prospective teachers need to earn a teaching certificate from the state where they wish to work. Becoming certified includes a host of additional requirements that are achievable while pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Kindergarten Teacher?
Determining how many years of college are required to become a kindergarten depends on the route you take. The most expedient route is through a program in elementary education, which allows future educators to obtain field experience and directly work towards achieving certification.
- Complete a Bachelor’s Degree. (3-5 years)
- Complete a background check with the department of education. (Several weeks.)
- Successfully finish a student teaching program. – (Usually 3-4 months.)
- Pass testing for certification of licensure. – (An additional 3-4 months)
- Pursue Further Education
Some states require teachers to obtain a master’s degree in early childhood education once they’re licensed and teaching, adding another 1-2 years of education. As a result, the cumulative education and training for a kindergarten teacher may take between 5-7 years.
How Much do Kindergarten Teachers Make?
Kindergarten teacher salaries vary based on several factors including years of experience, education level, type of school (public, private, parochial, etc.) and location. According to Zippia, the average base salary for kindergarten teachers in the United States is $48,102. The average salary for an entry level kindergarten teachers is $38,000 (Zippia).
What Classes Do I Need to Become a Kindergarten Teacher?
Children of all ages have their own unique developmental needs, which is why it’s essential to learn to create and implement an age-appropriate lesson plan. Not only does this help a person to become an effective educator, but it’s also a requirement for passing the Pre K-4 teacher certification requirements.
Course requirements to complete a Bachelor's in Elementary Education (BS) Degree will vary from school to school. In general, these programs are designed to prepare prospective teachers with courses in English composition, basic math and science, education, and early childhood development. For example, some of the kindergarten teacher courses required by the Elementary Education degree include:
- EDUC 210 Early Language Development
- EDUC 236 Early Literacy I
- EDUC 312 Educational Policy, Law & Advocacy
- PSY 320 Educational Psychology
- MTED 417 Mathematics Methods and Content: Early Childhood
Experience Student Teaching in the Drexel Co-Op Program
Student teaching is a hands-on instructional experience that allows prospective teachers to refine their skills while under supervision. These programs are usually undertaken during senior year of an education degree, but the Drexel Co-Op Program makes it possible to alternate full-time study with full-time employment for a flexible and in-depth learning experience.
The opportunity to get practical experience while studying can make students into more engaged learners, and allows graduates complete their education as more competitive job candidates. Among all the various many kindergarten teacher qualifications, few are as important as practical experience. The Student Teaching FAQ can provide more information about completing kindergarten teacher requirements for student teaching.
Kindergarten Teaching Certificate
Earning a bachelor’s degree in education will prepare you with nearly all of the skills necessary for becoming a kindergarten teacher. However, in order to become a practicing teacher, you’ll also need to be certified by the state where you want to teach. These requirements to obtain certification or licensure vary by state.
To teach children in the Pre-K through 4th grade in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to pass the PECT. That includes general skill requirements can be met in multiple ways, often by completing the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA.) Completing these exams takes time and preparation, but choosing the right degree for your goals can make meeting their requirements much simpler.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a kindergarten teacher, take a moment to Request Information about how the School of Education can help prepare you.