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Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary and Secondary Education

Earnings Potential

  • A school teacher typically earns between $26,730 and $66,240 (BLS).

Facts at a glance

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9-17% increase in preschool, kindergarten, elementary and secondary teaching jobs through 2014. 
  • Most elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers belonged to unions - mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association (BLS).

Summary of what this career entails

Preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers use a variety of “hands-on” interactive techniques like board games, artwork, music, computers, books and film, to help children learn and develop in subjects like language, math, science, English, and social studies. 

Middle and secondary school teachers help older students expand their knowledge about the world in more specific subjects like English, Spanish, civics, mathematics, history, or biology.  Computers play an integral role in the education teachers provide, and teachers must keep their computer skills updated so they can teach and use the latest technologies in the classroom.  Using educational software and the Internet exposes students to a vast range of learning experiences and promotes interactive learning.  Student can use the internet to gather information for research projects, or to communicate with other students anywhere in the world, allowing them to share experiences and different viewpoints (BLS).

Examples and or details of work

In a blog titled "Don’t Underestimate value of children’s play" posted on October 30, 2006, Evelyn Petersen of writes about an “anxious mom who wrote to say she was worried that her preschooler might be less successful if she stayed home and did things with her instead of being in enrichment activities all week.  She wondered why other moms seemed so frantic about their children's academic preparation.  Why are so many parents feeling this pressure?  What are they giving up when they focus only on their children's academic and competitive skills?  What do the experts say? Today's parents are overwhelmed with an overload of information” (Petersen).

Degrees that lead to this career

All 50 States and the District of Columbia require public school teachers to be licensed.  Although requirements for regular teaching licenses vary by State, all States require a bachelor’s degree, completion of an approved teacher training program, and supervised practice teaching.  Licenses are granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee.  Some states require a master’s degree in education within a period of time after teaching begins.  Additionally, some States require technology training, and proficiency in one’s subject.  Most States do not require a license for private school teachers (BLS). 


Petersen, Evelyn.  “Don’t Underestimate value of children’s play”.

30 Oct.  2006.  7 November 2006.

<>. Path: Search, Evelyn Petersen; 10/30/06.

U.S. Department of Labor.  Bureau of Labor Statistics.  “Teachers – Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary”.  4 Aug. 2006.  7 November 2006.