What Can I Do with a Degree in Elementary Education?

Learn more about what you can do with a degree in elementary education. Find information on elementary education careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers in elementary education.

Overview

Elementary school teachers typically work with students between Kindergarten and 5th or 6th grades. In these positions, elementary educators work with the same students throughout the day and are required to provide instruction in a number of different subject areas. Generally speaking elementary education provides students with a broad foundation for basic knowledge and skill development that will be important for the student in terms of both academic and social development. Based on the education provided to students in their elementary years, they are prepared to receive more subject- and content-focused instruction in middle and high school.

For professionals that truly love working with young students, the elementary education environment can provide important opportunities for achieving personal and professional fulfillment. Because elementary educators spend so much time with their students, they are able to get to know them on a personal basis. As a result, elementary educators are able to tailor their classrooms and teaching methods to the unique needs of the student. Further, because of the student’s age, elementary school teachers are responsible for more than just the academic development of the student. Through learning experiences and classroom activities, elementary school teachers also provide students with the supports needed for social and emotional development.

Careers

Most of the careers in elementary education focus on teaching. Elementary school educators are responsible for providing students with a wide range of supports that will enable them to successful engage in learning in middle and high school. In order to obtain a position as an elementary school teacher, most states require the completion of a bachelor’s degree in education and licensing before employment. In some states, elementary educators are required to have a master’s Degree in education that must be completed before the educator is hired in a permanent position. In these cases, the professional is able to obtain a bachelor’s degree before beginning teaching. However, the professional will be required to complete a master’s degree before being hired into a permanent position. While most careers in elementary education focus specifically on teaching, there are some other alternatives for professionals seeking employment in this field. In particular, careers in elementary education can include teaching assistants, school administration or special education teacher.

Salary

Myths about salaries for elementary educators suggest that these professionals are not paid that well. However, a review of median annual incomes for elementary educators working in public schools indicates that these professionals are paid well and that salaries for professionals continue to increase. For instance, in 2005 the average annual salary for a public school elementary educator was $46,990. In 2009, the average annual salary had increased to $53,150. A review of salary information for elementary school teachers also indicates that salaries will vary based on the geographic location of the professional. Elementary school teachers working in public schools in Atlanta, Georgia had average annual salaries of $53,450 in 2009. Professionals in the same positions working in Chicago, Illinois had average annual salaries of $63,860. Elementary educators that are willing to seek advanced degrees in their field will also be able to command higher salaries. Professionals with a master’s degree will have higher starting salaries than those with a bachelor’s degree.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for elementary educators is generally favorable through 2018. This is due to a number of different factors. Despite current challenges facing federal and state governments, efforts to support and fund education remain principle areas of concern for social and economic well being. As a result, many educators seeking employment in the field will be able to find a job. Further, demand for elementary educators is being fueled by the large number of retirements from the field. As older workers retire more will be needed to fill vacant positions. Professionals that are willing to relocate to areas where educators are needed will have access to additional career opportunities. Inner city neighborhoods often have significant shortages of educators at all levels including elementary educators. Additionally professionals with bilingual skills will have access to additional employment opportunities. Bilingual skills are needed due to an increase in the diversity of school populations.

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