Why Get an Elementary Education Certification

Earning an elementary education certification demonstrates that the recipient can teach an elementary school classroom and educate the youngest minds.

Those interested in teaching at the elementary level can begin their studies through an associate degree program, but most states require a bachelor or master degree to receive an elementary education certification. Those who have obtained the certification in elementary education will be required to have a proven competence in child development, psychology and education methods. Since elementary school teachers will largely be generalists, they may not be required to specialize in one particular subject, although some may choose to.

Education Requirements

Those interested in obtaining an early elementary education certification should verify their state’s exact requirements. Most states will require either a bachelor or master degree in elementary childhood education, a period of teaching in a classroom while being supervised by another experienced teacher, a passing score on a teaching exam such as the Praxis, and continuing education credits to be taken throughout the duration of the teacher’s career.

To obtain the bachelor or master degree, the student must have obtained a high school diploma. Any courses that they can take in high school, such as introduction to psychology courses or child development, would be especially beneficial in preparing for the subject matter they will study in college and showing college admission officials that they are interested in this particular line of work.

Students must take a range of courses related to education as well as child development when they are accepted to their elementary education program. It is important for teachers dealing with young children to not only understand the material they are communicating but also to understand where their students are developmentally so they know the best ways to communicate with and educate them. The courses for this area of study will focus on teaching about these ideas as well as educational theory, cultural considerations and other important concepts for successfully running a classroom in the modern era.

Some programs will also offer students the opportunity to take additional courses within an area of emphasis or specialty. This will be most beneficial for those looking to work more at the middle school level, where there may be some more specialization among subjects taught by particular teachers. It can also be helpful for those looking to pursue master degrees or higher.

Career Options: What You Can Do with an Elementary Education Certification

Those who pursue an elementary education certification are typically interested in working as elementary education teachers. Teachers with this certification are considered equipped to work with students between kindergarten and sixth grade in public schools.

Although private schools may not require the certification or may have their own requirements, the certification will most likely be beneficial for those wishing to work in these institutions as well. Some may choose to pursue this certification as a prerequisite for higher education and administrative leadership.

What to Consider if You Pursue an Elementary Education Certification

Those interested in becoming elementary school teachers have a strong job outlook before them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the next decade is about as fast as the rest of the labor market, with an expected growth rate of about 17 percent. This growth is to be expected because of the growing trends within education to emphasize smaller teacher-to-student ratios, which means more teachers will be needed to teach the same number of students.

There are also projected increases in overall enrollment in some areas of the country, largely in the South and West. The Midwest is expected to have steady enrollment and the Northeast is expected to see a decline in the number of students. Those who wish to specialize in areas such as English as a second language(ESL) or special education will have even stronger job outlooks.

According to the BLS, the median salary for kindergarten teachers is around $48,800 while the median annual wage for elementary school teachers is slightly higher at $51,660. Both jobs had wide ranges between the lowest and highest earners based on experience, region and distinct specialty.

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