HOW TO BECOME A PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER
Working with children is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on society, which many people find personally rewarding. But what does it entail to be a primary school teacher? Primary school teacher education and training requirements vary from state to state. Learning the various skills necessary to become an elementary school is only the first item on a longer list of training requirements. Fortunately, there are paths students can take to more easily meet the various elementary teacher education requirements
If you want to learn more about becoming an elementary school teacher and go beyond the most basic requirements, please take a moment to request information about how the Drexel School of Education can help.
WHAT DEGREE DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER?
Having a bachelor’s degree is virtually a universal requirement for all teachers throughout the United States. But deciding what to study to become a primary school teacher depends on several factors, including the subjects you want to teach. While many different degrees can lead to an elementary school teaching career, the most direct route is a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (BS).
The requirements to become an elementary school teacher vary depending on the state in which you seek certification, but most states require that elementary school teachers have expertise in a specific set of subjects.
That’s why the Drexel School of Education prepares future elementary school teachers with a degree that allows them to specialize in specific fields such as English, math, and science. This can make meeting Pre K-4 teacher certification requirements much easier.
Completing a master’s program such as an MS in Sports Coaching Leadership or an MS in Higher Education can help lay the foundation for career advancement and help teachers stand out from other job seekers. Pursuing MS is also a requirement for licensed teachers to maintain their certification in many states.
REASONS TO BECOME A PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER
Not everyone is ready to become an elementary school teacher. While a typical elementary school job description might go to great lengths to discuss the importance of curriculum and classroom discipline, it doesn’t talk as much about what attitudes, personalities, and motivations help someone thrive in a teaching position. That said, what are the good reasons to become a primary school teacher?
- Lifelong learners make great teachers. Because teaching gives you the opportunity to continue learning and help teach students to become lifelong learners themselves.
- People who appreciate the importance of early education as a foundation for students’ lives may find primary school education very fulfilling.
- Teaching primary years gives you the opportunity to pursue a wide range of interests and teach students many subjects.
- The ability to form special relationships with students is something few other professions can offer. People who enjoy the excitement and energy of working with children often make excellent teachers.
HOW MUCH DO PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS EARN?
Elementary school teacher salaries vary depending on several factors, including years of experience, education, and type of school. According to pay.com, as of October 29, 2021, elementary school teacher salaries range from $39,435/year to $81,672/year, with an average salary of $60,252/year.
COMPULSORY COURSES FOR BASIC EDUCATION DUR
Because they are responsible for teaching more than one subject, becoming a primary school teacher requires a well-rounded education. For example, the Basic Education Requirements: PK-4 Degree Requirements include a wide selection of courses to help students prepare for both general education and pedagogy requirements. Some of these courses include:
- BIO 100 – Applied cells, genetics and physiology
- CHEM 111 – General Chemistry I
- EDUC 210 Early Language Development
- EDUC 236 Early Literacy I
- MATHEMATICS 181 Introduction to Analysis A
Drexel’s full course catalog also provides a wide variety of electives that allow students to focus on their education.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Specific requirements for certification exams vary from state to state and from one type of teacher to another. But there are broad similarities.
In Pennsylvania, teaching Pre-K through 4th grade requires taking the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT). A series of Praxis subject exams are required for each grade four through eight, and basic skill requirements are generally met by taking the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA).
- See the Undergraduate Teacher Certification Requirements page for more detailed information.
Public school teachers must be certified by the state where they teach. Teacher certifications are issued by the state and show that the recipient has been authorized to teach children in a certain area or otherwise perform special tasks. The School of Education has several programs that help beginning educators earn a number of valuable graduate certifications, including:
- Reading Specialist Certification
- Teaching English as a Second Language
- Certification in special education
- School principal certification
Graduate certifications help prepare teachers to take on new roles in education and can make recipients more competitive job candidates. The School of Education currently offers 14 certificate programs that help students specialize.
Along with graduate certifications, it is possible for students to complete a number of graduate certificates that can be incredibly useful for elementary school teachers. While certifications are legal documents granted by the state that allow a person to work in a certain field of education, certificates are an acknowledgment of a university. For example:
- Certificate in Education Policy
- Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Certificate in Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness
- Certificate in STEM Education
- Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
Certificates serve to inform potential employers that the recipient accurately understands a specific field of study and is able to apply his knowledge in practice. This makes certificate holders more competitive job candidates and allows teachers to develop expertise in the teaching area that most closely matches their interests.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER?
The time it takes to become a primary school teacher depends on your starting point and where you practice. But you will need to:
- Get a bachelor’s degree. (approx. 4 years)
- Complete state requirements for teacher licensure. (About 3 months)
- Complete a period of supervised instruction. (up to one year)
If you complete a bachelor’s degree that does not provide teaching experience, an additional year of continuing education may be required. Depending on your state, you may be required to complete a master’s degree after obtaining your license. As a result, it can typically take five to seven years to become a primary school teacher.
STUDENT TEACHING WITH THE DREXEL SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Gaining field experience in the classroom is a basic requirement for elementary school teachers. The prospective teacher will fulfill this requirement during the supervised teaching period. They are led by an experienced teacher who supervises the student teacher. This student teacher then gradually takes on more and more responsibilities in the classroom. Familiarizing yourself with the Student Teaching Advice and Resource Guide can help you learn more about the intensive nature of this process.
Not all student learning programs are created equal. But student learning programs typically take place during the final year of a degree and include an intensive period of fieldwork that lasts around three or four months. Because student teaching is one of the most critical elements of any teacher’s education, the School of Education provides students with a variety of part-time and full-time internship opportunities.