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Fifth-Grade Teacher Career Guide

How to Become a Fifth-Grade Teacher

During their closing years in an elementary school setting, fifth-grade students depend on teachers to play an important educational role. As these students prepare for their middle school or junior high years, fifth-grade teachers provide valuable instruction, encouragement, and formation that can contribute to success in future years.

Fifth-grade teachers fulfill educational roles that are quickly becoming more important. The nationwide teacher shortage makes an influx of passionate new fifth-grade teachers even more important to future students. If you have a knack for teaching younger children and a passion for the field of education, the role of a fifth-grade teacher is ideal for you. And with the right elementary educational career path, aspiring fifth-grade teachers can quickly find their classroom and begin positively influencing students toward success.

Teacher and kids lying on floor reading book in library at elementary school

What Does a Fifth-Grade Teacher Do?

Fifth-grade teachers maintain busy schedules. During the school year, they spend much of their time in a classroom setting, providing proper instruction to fifth-grade students. In the summer months, many fifth-grade teachers focus their attention on lesson planning, to optimize their teaching instructions and materials for an even better year to come.

The exact responsibilities of a fifth-grade teacher can include:

  • Creating curriculums that teach concepts to fifth-grade students.
  • Answering student questions during teaching periods.
  • Grading student assignments to gauge progress and identify any areas of need.
  • Supervising students both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Communicating with parents to update them on student progress and answer any questions about their student’s performance.
  • Fostering a nonjudgmental classroom environment that encourages learning and discovery.
  • Encouraging students to pursue topics that interest them.
  • Developing classroom parameters that all students must follow to preserve the integrity of the learning environment.
  • Integrating innovative learning methods into the classroom.
  • Spending time researching new teaching methods to better connect with students and help them better retain taught concepts.

These and other responsibilities help all fifth-grade teachers connect with students daily. Fifth-grade teachers maintain a responsibility not only for their students but also for the classroom environment they create.

What Is Taught in Fifth Grade?

Fifth-grade students are either in their last year of elementary school, or their second-to-last year of elementary school. The skills they learn during this year are key in preparing them for middle school or junior high school. Some of the important skills and subjects that are taught in fifth grade include:


  • Advanced reading of longer books
  • Increased comprehension of what is read
  • Homophones
  • Idioms
  • Latin and Greek roots
  • Identifying characters, plots, settings, etc.
  • Develop opinions about the books they read and use examples in the text to support their opinions


  • Journaling
  • Personal expression
  • Poetry
  • Autobiography 
  • Fiction
  • Editing for punctuation, flow, and clarity
  • Build a writing portfolio
  • Edit the work of their peers


  • Solar system
  • Photosynthesis
  • The digestive system
  • Chemical properties of elements
  • The Scientific Method
  • Performing experiments to prove their hypothesis

Social Studies

  • Citizenship
  • United States history
  • The history of the colonies and the implications for us today
  • Branches of government
  • Geography and unique features of states


  • Use multiplication, division, subtraction, and addition in the same problem
  • Order of operations 
  • Symmetry of shapes
  • Perpendicular and parallel lines
  • Formulas to calculate the volume of shapes
  • Conversion of fractions
  • Number plotting
  • Data sets

What Education Does a Fifth-Grade Teacher Need?

Before aspiring fifth-grade teachers can fulfill rewarding elementary school positions, they must obtain a bachelor’s degree in education. In order to be prepared to teach the fifth grade, you will need a degree in elementary education in most states. Teachers in every state are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from an accredited university will prepare you for the needed credentials and licensure of becoming a teacher. 

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching field, a Master of Arts in Teaching—Elementary Education degree could be the perfect fit for you. This degree will allow you to further your education while getting you the needed courses to be prepared for a teaching license. This is a great option for those who are looking to change careers and become a teacher, or for those who currently teach older students and want to extend their license to teaching elementary-aged students.

Best Degrees for Fifth-Grade Teachers

Elementary Education – B.A.

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary...

An online teacher certification program for...

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary teachers.

Leads to teacher licensure. Specific grade levels will vary depending on teaching certification in your state.

  • Time: 60% of grads earned this degree within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,825 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this program often include:

  • Aspiring elementary school teachers who currently lack a teaching license
  • Substitute teachers
  • Career-changers
  • School paraprofessionals
  • Others who feel the call to teach

This elementary education degree program includes courses in the foundations of teacher education, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core teacher education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and pedagogy. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching. This online teaching degree program helps you to be eligible for teaching certification in any of the 50 states.

Teaching, Elementary Education – M.A.

An online master's of arts in education degree and teacher...

An online master's of arts in education degree...

An online master's of arts in education degree and teacher certification program for aspiring elementary school teachers who already have a bachelor's degree in a non-teaching field.

Leads to a teaching license. Specific grade levels will vary depending on teaching certification in your state.

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition: $3,975 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this master's of arts in education degree program often include:

  • Aspiring elementary teachers who currently hold a bachelor's degree but lack a teaching license
  • Substitute teachers
  • Career-changers
  • School paraprofessionals
  • Others who feel the call to teach

This online teacher's degree includes courses in the foundations of teaching, mathematics content, instructional planning and presentation, elementary education methods, and effective teaching practices. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.

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What Skills Does a Fifth-Grade Teacher Need?

To thrive in an elementary education role, fifth-grade teachers regularly put a broad skill set to use. These skills help fifth-grade teachers connect with students, communicate with parents, create lesson plans, and teach concepts that are retained by students.

The exact skills that a fifth-grade teacher will need can include:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate with both students and their parents.
  • Classroom management: The ability to create and maintain a classroom environment that promotes free and ethical learning opportunities for all students.
  • Discipline: The ability to appropriately enforce classroom rules and regulations.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to creatively solve problems that might arise inside or outside of the classroom.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to help students solve their own issues.
  • Lesson planning: The ability to create dynamic lessons that encourage student participation and ultimately allow students to retain concepts taught in class.
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to understand and operate all basic pieces of technology found in a classroom, including all computers and online resources.

These and other skills make a fifth-grade successful on a daily basis.

How Much Does a Fifth-Grade Teacher Make?


The exact income of a fifth-grade teacher can vary based on a number of changing factors. These factors can include a fifth-grade teacher’s job experience, job performance, employer, employer’s place of business, and tenure status. In general, the salary of a fifth-grade teacher can average $49,062, with a range of roughly $35,000 to $73,000 per year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The role of a fifth-grade teacher is characterized by a favorable outlook. Employment rates for elementary school teachers are expected to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029, bolstered by a forecasted increase in total students. With an increase in expected students comes a parallel need for informed and passionate fifth-grade teachers.

Do I Need Certification To Become a Fifth-Grade Teacher?


After students complete their educational requirements, they still need to obtain state-specific teaching licenses before becoming fifth-grade teachers. Exact requirements for these state licenses vary by region, but can include completion of necessary education, the passing of preliminary teaching exams, and submission of transcripts.

Interested in Becoming a Fifth-Grade Teacher?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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