The One Degree You Need to Become a Kindergarten Teacher

The One Degree You Need to Become a Kindergarten Teacher

Do you love working with young children? Does a career in early childhood education sound rewarding? If so, becoming a kindergarten teacher may be the right path for you. But what degree do you need to teach kindergarten?

In this post, I’ll explain exactly what education and credentials are required to become a kindergarten teacher. You’ll learn:

  • The one degree you need to have on your resume
  • Other common requirements for teaching kindergarten
  • How to stand out in the hiring process
  • Answers to frequently asked questions on degrees for teaching 5-year-olds

So if you want to get the qualifications needed to start a fun, meaningful career as a kindergarten teacher, keep reading!

What Degree is Needed to Become a Kindergarten Teacher?

The One Degree You Need to Have to Become a Kindergarten Teacher (And Get Hired) is Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

While requirements can vary slightly by state, at minimum, you need a four-year bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field to become a kindergarten teacher.

Many states require that your bachelor’s degree includes coursework and student teaching experience specifically tailored for the instruction of young children. Subject areas often covered include:

  • Child development
  • Teaching reading and language arts
  • Math and science for early learners
  • Assessing student learning
  • Working with special education students
  • Classroom management
  • Methods for teaching kindergarten

Ideally, your early childhood education degree program and student teaching will focus on children ages 5-8 years old. This prepares you best for meeting five-year old’s unique developmental needs in a classroom setting.

In addition to an early childhood bachelor’s degree, most states require teacher certification to work specifically as a kindergarten teacher in public schools.

Common Requirements for Teaching Kindergarten

Along with a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to complete other typical hiring requirements to get a job as a kindergarten teacher:

State Teacher Certification

As mentioned, earning a state teaching license or certificate for K-3 grades is mandatory for public school pre-primary teaching jobs. Each state has different certification rules and processes. Often it involves taking certification exams on general teaching methods and early childhood instruction.

Background Checks

Any work with young kids requires extensive vetting. Expect multiple levels of background checks before you can step foot in a kindergarten classroom. School districts or private schools hiring teachers screen for criminal history, abuse records, illegal substance use and more.

Interviews

Teacher interviews allow schools to further assess your skills and fit beyond degrees and test scores alone. Come prepared to interview questions on managing classroom behavior, teaching strategies tailored to five-year-olds and more unique situations an early childhood educator faces.

How to Stand Out from Other Teacher Candidates

An early childhood education degree gets your foot in the door for a kindergarten teaching career. But how can you stand out when applying for K-3 teaching jobs? Consider gaining these additional credentials:

  • English as Second Language (ESL) certification
  • Special education credentials
  • Master’s degree in elementary or early childhood education
  • Certificates in curriculum types popular in K-3 grades like Montessori or Reggio Emilia
  • Technology skills tailored to early learners
  • Extra student teaching experience with ages 5-8

The more qualifications you can bring to the table above state minimum requirements, the more competitive your teacher resume will be.

Frequently Asked Questions on Degrees to Teach Kindergarten:

  1. Can I teach kindergarten without a degree?

In most cases, no. You need at minimum a bachelor’s degree to teach accredited public or private school kindergarten programs.

  1. Can I get an early childhood education degree online?

Yes, many universities offer online bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. Just be sure any distance learning program still includes in-classroom student teaching experience.

  1. Do I need a master’s degree to be a kindergarten teacher?

A master’s degree is not strictly required. However, seeking a master’s in elementary or early childhood education can make you more hirable compared to other teaching candidates. Some states also require teachers earn master’s within the first few years on the job.

Over to You

As you can see, an early childhood education degree is fundamental to launching a rewarding kindergarten teaching career. But don’t stop there! Consider going above state requirements to get your resume noticed and have an edge hiring-wise.

Now you know exactly what educational credentials are needed to become a beloved kindy teacher. So what’s next for you? Do you want to research top education degree programs? Or maybe start submitting applications today? Leave a comment below with your next steps.

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