How to Become a
Kindergarten Teacher

Woman teacher with a group of kindergarten children painting with crayons

Are you considering becoming a Kindergarten Teacher, but don’t know where to start? This is the place to find out the skills and educational requirements you need to enter this position. Also, learn how much you can potentially make, and the job outlook for this profession.

What Does a Kindergarten Teacher Do?

A Kindergarten Teacher is responsible for instructing children ages 5 to 6 in basic academic subjects. These educators have a unique role in working with children that are just entering the school system; therefore, they also teach students social skills required to succeed in the classroom and in the school. Kindergarten Teachers work in both public and private schools at the elementary level throughout the school term. Some Teachers also tutor after school or teach summer school for additional income.

Being a Kindergarten Teacher requires knowledge in basic academic skills, as well as the ability to instruct young children during their first year of school. Teachers are responsible for:

  • Teaching basic academic subjects, such as math and reading

  • Preparing lesson plans

  • Grading assignments

  • Teaching social skills, such as raising hands to speak and taking turns

  • Discussing child’s progress with parents and caregivers

Kindergarten Teacher Skills

As students at the kindergarten level have never been in a formal school setting before, Kindergarten Teachers have the unique job of introducing them to the rules and requirements of the classroom and the school. These educators often deal with children that are scared and upset, and must have the skills to listen to their concerns and counsel them to be comfortable in the school setting. Kindergarten Teachers must be patient and empathetic, yet firm and strict when the situation requires. They must be able to teach groups, but tailor lesson plans to meet individual student needs.

Other key Kindergarten Teacher skills include:

  • Active listening

  • Excellent oral expression

  • Ethics

  • Computer skills

  • Typing proficiency

How Do You Become a Kindergarten Teacher?

Education and Training

To become a Kindergarten Teacher, candidates need to complete a bachelor’s degree and to obtain a teaching certificate or license from the state.

Aspiring Kindergarten Teachers must obtain a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require these educators to major in a specific content area, such as science or math. Most colleges and universities offer enrollment into a teacher education program, which involves classroom study as well as student teaching experience.

After completing a bachelor’s degree, applicants are required by the state to obtain certification or licensure to teach early childhood grades, preschool through third grade. Requirements for the certification vary, but most states require a certain amount of student teaching hours, a minimum grade point average (GPA) as well as a passing score on an exam.

Many Kindergarten Teachers go on to complete a master’s degree to advance in their careers; some states may require these educators to receive a graduate degree prior to starting to teach.

Finding a job

There is a growing demand for Kindergarten Teachers, with a 6 percent increase in projected job openings through 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that due to an increasing population, which will lead to an increase in student enrollment, 37,870 new jobs will be available for Kindergarten Teachers.

JobHero can help you compile a professional Kindergarten Teacher resume, which will outline your educational and student teaching experience.

Check out job openings at the elementary school level, but go the extra mile to contact school administrators you may have met during your field experience to inquire about job openings.

A Kindergarten Teacher cover letter is a must when applying for a position; make sure to list how you plan on teaching groups of small children basic academic subjects and social skills.

Insights from a Kindergarten Teacher

Meridith Kuba, MEd., a Kindergarten Teacher at Queen Creek Elementary in Arizona, shares her thoughts on what it takes to become this type of educator.

What is the common career path for this position?

I think most are straight from college as it's not really a career change position. Most stay in the position – it's a lifestyle, lol – and don't grade hop or move on to admin positions.  You either are a kinder teacher, or you aren't.

What should someone consider before becoming a Kindergarten Teacher?

What is your patience level? What is your capacity for chaos? Are you nurturing? Do you like small children – you'd be surprised how many people don't.

What type of person excels in this job?

One who is patient, nurturing, creative, has the ability to think and change direction on their feet and is adaptable.

What are some of the most important skills required for this position?

Wide breadth of knowledge (you'll get asked the craziest things), kindness, patience and the ability to make the mundane fun and exciting.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Kindergarten Teacher?

The growth that you get to see; these little guys come in a blank slate, and by the end of the year, they know all about school and they possess so much knowledge. Lining up, getting lunch, raising their hand, letters, sounds, numbers, reading – it's amazing to see how much they change!

How Much Do Kindergarten Teachers Get Paid?

Elementary School Teachers, which includes Kindergarten Teachers, make an average salary of $54,900. The highest-paid professionals make $85,600, and the lowest-paid earn $36,200.

Top 10 States for a Kindergarten Teacher’s Salary

Kindergarten Teachers in the following states make the highest median salary in the U.S.

    Connecticut

    $75,900

    California

    $72,900

    Alaska

    $71,500

    Massachusetts

    $71,200

    Rhode Island

    $71,200

    New York

    $68,500

    District of Columbia

    $67,100

    New Jersey

    $64,000

    Michigan

    $63,500

    Washington

    $62,100

    Kindergarten Teacher Resources

    These sources will help you learn more about working as a Kindergarten Teacher.

    On the Web

    Teach.org
    Helps you explore what exemplary teaching is about, how you can get involved in the innovations shaping the future of education, and how to make informed choices to create a rewarding career.

    Teacher.org
    To inform, empower, and encourage aspiring, new and veteran teachers.

    Industry Groups

    National Education Association (NEA)
    The nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education.

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
    A union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities.

    On LinkedIn

    Teachers Seeking Employment
    A networking group for teachers seeking a teaching position from preschool through high school. Leave no stone unturned.

    Teaching Jobs Education Teacher Research Faculty University College K-12 School
    Group for faculty and teaching jobs in college, university and schools.