Is a degree in Elementary Education right for you?

In some regions, elementary schools encompass grades 1-8. In others, elementary school extends only through the fifth grade and grades 6-8 are considered middle-level. Most elementary school teachers teach a specific grade level and work with one class of students in a hands-on environment teaching mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, music, art and reading. The goal of elementary school is to help build the student's foundation of a well-rounded education, overseen by teachers who closely follow them through their development.

Getting your degree in Elementary Education

Elementary Education degrees provide educators with the pedagogical knowledge to teach grades 1-8. Courses of study focus on philosophies of education, psychologies of learning, methodology and technology used in the classroom.

Is a degree required?

Elementary school teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor's degree. Some states require elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification, and teachers with a master's degree often have a greater chance at promotions and increases in salary.

Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements; however, private elementary schools typically seek teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Where do elementary educators work?

Elementary educators teach in public schools, including magnet and charter elementary schools, as well as private elementary schools. Employment for teachers is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Elementary school teachers made an average of $51,660 per year in 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,390, and the top 10 percent earned more than $80,140. Pay varies by state, education level, and experience.

Advancement opportunities in Elementary Education

Experienced elementary teachers can advance to become mentors or lead teachers. These elementary teachers work with less-experienced educators to help them improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, elementary teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, instructional coordinators, or school principals. To become a school principal, a master's or doctoral degree in educational administration or leadership is generally required.