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Many of today’s elementary school teachers began their careers doing something completely different. Career paths take some interesting twists and turns, and not everyone ends up doing what they thought they would when they graduated from college. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon for someone with a bachelor's degree to discover their true calling is teaching and end up having truly rewarding careers helping to shape young lives.
The good news is, if you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree, becoming a certified elementary school teacher might not be as complicated or take as long as you think. Thanks to innovative online teaching curriculums, it’s possible to become a highly qualified elementary school teacher at a time when the number of students enrolling in kindergarten and elementary schools is expected to increase. They’re called post-baccalaureate licensure programs, and they are designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become a teacher.
Are you ready to become a role model? A difference maker? A positive force in the lives of young children? Maybe it’s time for you to step up to a rewarding career as a teacher… you might be closer than you think!
Many kindergarten and elementary school teachers love what they do and choose to do so until they retire. Still, if you choose to use your teaching career as a springboard to other opportunities in the field of education, you’ll have plenty of rewarding avenues to pursue.
Positions in the field.
"My graduate degree has awarded me many more opportunities that my undergraduate degree could not provide including increased salary, multiple job offers, and the ability to be given specialized work." Lacie Smithee
M.A. Teaching, Elementary Education
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the number of students enrolling in kindergarten and elementary schools to increase over the coming decade. Consequently, employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is projected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026, which is near the average for all occupations.
During this period, the student–teacher ratio in schools is expected to decline, meaning each teacher will be responsible for fewer students. Therefore, more teachers will be needed to teach the same number of students. Good news if you’re planning to become a teacher!
WGU has industry-aligned degrees to help you reach your career goals. A few you may find interesting are:
As a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, you’ll work in either a public or private school. Your workday will typically include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers, so good communication skills are essential. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons. Many career-changers also look forward to a teacher’s schedule that allows them to take summers off from work.
If you’re thinking about making a career-switch and becoming a teacher, you have an exciting, rewarding adventure ahead of you. Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations and resources to help support you and your goals.
As in most careers, a school teacher's salary varies based on factors like how much experience you have, the level of education you have completed, and what part of the country you live in. Generally speaking, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for kindergarten teachers was $55,490 in May 2016, and for elementary school teachers, it was $55,800.
In this day and age, it’s possible to switch careers and become a teacher, especially if you already have a bachelor’s degree. You’ll just need to look for a teacher’s college that offers a post-baccalaureate program in elementary education that leads to teacher licensure.
Typically, an elementary school teacher will teach multiple subjects, and well-rounded knowledge accumulated through earning your bachelor’s degree and life experience can work to your advantage. That’s because many top-ranked teacher’s colleges offer competency-based education, meaning you won’t have to spend time (or money) "re-learning" material you already know. Instead, you’ll demonstrate your skills and knowledge in required subject areas through a series of carefully designed assessments.
Every state also requires teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. To meet these standards, you’ll need to complete a supervised teaching experience in a classroom, typically called student teaching. To accomplish this, you’ll work with a mentor teacher and gain experience teaching students in a live classroom setting. Certain teacher’s colleges have these requirements built into their curriculums. To ensure a quality education that will be recognized once you're ready to apply for your first teaching job, make sure you enroll in a superior program that leads to teacher licensure from a Teachers College that has received CAEP accreditation.
Ready to jump-start your career in teaching elementary students? The next step could be earning your teacher certification through a post-baccalaureate program. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!