Why Enroll in an Online Degree Program to become a Kindergarten Teacher

Becoming a kindergarten teacher can be one of the most rewarding experiences someone can have, especially if they love working with kids and find that teaching the next generation appeals to them. With the wealth of online education opportunities available, it has never been a better time to pursue a career as a kindergarten teacher.

Careers in education are various, and earning a degree as a kindergarten teacher does not necessarily limit the teacher to a traditional school setting. Other career options, as well as education requirements and things to keep in mind when pursuing a degree, are discussed below.

Education Requirements

At minimum, kindergarten teachers need a bachelor degree to be able to teach in the classroom setting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to a bachelor degree, they must obtain certification from the state in which they want to teach. Sometimes this means enrolling in an advanced degree program (either online or off), but more often it simply means enrolling in a teacher certification program.

Whatever degree the prospective student ends up pursuing, almost all state certification programs require on-the-job training or apprenticing in a classroom. This usually involves working one-on-one with a mentor teacher to develop a teaching style and learn the curriculum requirements of a state and grade level. It also eventually means taking over the classroom and acting in the stead of the teacher, hence the common name applied to this phase of education, “student teaching.”

Student teaching (also known as residency) can take anywhere from a 10-week term to a full semester, to an entire year in some of the newer programs. Usually, the basic university prerequisites must be met (often online) before admission to a student teaching program occurs. Once the student teaching portion is completed, a student then obtains their degree or certification, depending on the program type. For more specifics about what is required in individual states, try the University of Kentucky’s State Certification finder to figure out what the next steps might be.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Degree as a Kindergarten Teacher

Generally speaking, most kindergarten teachers are certified not specifically as such, but as “Early Childhood Education” teachers, which means that they are certified to work with children both younger and older. Typically this means the degree is good for working in nursery schools, preschools, and up to third grade. Teachers who obtain this degree, therefore, may work with other age groups while waiting for a Kindergarten teaching position to open up, and they may decide they prefer the age level they have started with and stick to it.

Prospective teachers should also keep in mind that gaining an Early Childhood Education degree can also pave the way for specialization, such as in ESL/ELL (English as a Second/Learning Language) or Special Education.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Degree as a Kindergarten Teacher

Although teaching is commonly seen as a noble profession – that is, one that requires lots of time without a lot of compensation in return – that is a false impression for several reasons. For one thing, kindergarten teachers often decide to pursue their careers because they love working with children. The daily interaction with children and their parents is very rewarding to many.

For another, it is not necessarily true that kindergarten teachers cannot be well paid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average kindergarten teacher made $51,380 per year in 2010. Job growth is roughly average, which means that until the year 2020, prospective Kindergarten teachers can expect the job outlook to remain the same as it is now. Of course, this varies by region.

Also bear in mind that certifications, while frequently transferable with some paperwork, do not always cross borders. When moving from one state to another, even after having been a teacher for several years, kindergarten teachers must take steps to ensure their degrees and certifications meet the requirements of their new home state.

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