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Elementary School Teacher

Elementary School Teacher

U.S. Department of Labor

Job Description

Elementary school teachers instruct one class of children in several subjects. In some schools, two or more teachers work as a team and are jointly responsible for a group of students in at least one subject. In other schools, a teacher may teach one special subject—usually music, art, reading, science, arithmetic, or physical education—to a number of classes. A small but growing number of teachers instruct multilevel classrooms, with students at several different learning levels.

To learn more about specialized elementary teaching careers, read about Gifted Education Teachers or Special Education Teachers

Median Annual Salary (2006-2007)


Educational Requirements

All 50 States and the District of Columbia require public school teachers to be licensed. Licensure is not required for teachers in private schools in most States. Usually licensure is granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee. Teachers may be licensed to teach the early childhood grades (usually preschool through grade 3); the elementary grades (grades 1 through 6 or 8); the middle grades (grades 5 through 8); a secondary-education subject area (usually grades 7 through 12); or a special subject, such as reading or music (usually grades kindergarten through 12).

Teaching Career Links

  • The Most Comprehensive Teacher Salary Guide on the Internet Read now.
  • Certification Requirements for U.S. Teaching Read now.

Requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten through grade 12 vary by State. For specific state requirements, read 50 States Certification Reciprocity. For more information about becoming a teacher, read our helpful guide, Ten Steps to Becoming a Teacher.

Find a Job

In 2006-2007, there were 1.6 million elementary school teachers. Search our job listings to find Elementary Education teaching positions

From the Editor

Are you a first year teacher looking for support? Or would you like to read about classroom management? Check out these great resources!

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