6 Requirements Of Becoming An Elementary Teacher

Elementary school teachers play the most important role in educating and shaping the minds of young students. To become an elementary teacher, certain requirements must be met. 

These requirements vary from state to state but generally include obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in education and teacher certification and completing student teaching and a teacher preparation program.

Additionally, teachers must stay current with the latest teaching methods and educational practices through continuing education and professional development courses. Meeting these requirements requires dedication and hard work, but the fulfilling rewards of making a difference in students’ lives can be immeasurable. 

Let’s explore the requirements of becoming an elementary teacher in more detail.

1. Education

To become an elementary teacher, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in education is the first requirement that must be met. Many universities offer education programs to prepare future teachers for their careers in the classroom. 

The coursework typically includes foundational education courses, such as educational psychology, curriculum development, assessment methods, and courses in specific subject areas, such as math, science, social studies, and language arts.

It’s worth noting that some states may require a certain number of credit hours in specific subjects such as English, math, or science. For example, some states may require education majors to take at least one course in teaching reading or a course in teaching English language learners. These subject-specific requirements are intended to ensure that teachers are knowledgeable in the areas they will be teaching and can effectively teach their students.

While getting an elementary education bachelors degree, you may also be required to complete field experiences, such as observation and classroom participation, before graduating. This hands-on experience allows students to observe experienced teachers, gain insight into classroom management techniques, and practice teaching in a supervised setting.

2. Teacher Preparation Program

Completing a teacher preparation program approved by your state’s board of education is the next step in becoming an elementary teacher. These programs provide students with the practical teaching skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the classroom.

Teacher preparation programs typically include coursework in educational theory, classroom management, teaching methods, and subject-specific instruction. In addition to classroom-based instruction, teacher preparation programs also provide students with hands-on experience through student teaching or field placements in actual classrooms.

Teacher preparation programs also typically require students to pass a series of assessments or exams, such as the Praxis exams, which measure the knowledge and skills required to teach in their subject area.

3. Certification

Obtain teacher certification from your state’s board of education by passing exams and completing other requirements such as background checks and fingerprinting.

Once you have completed a teacher preparation program, the next step in becoming an elementary teacher is to obtain teacher certification from your state’s board of education. Teacher certification requirements vary by state but generally involve passing exams and completing other requirements such as background checks and fingerprinting.

The exams required for teacher certification may include content-area exams, such as the Praxis II, which measures the knowledge and skills required to teach in specific subject areas. Other exams may focus on teaching skills and pedagogy, such as the edTPA, which requires teachers to demonstrate their ability to plan and deliver effective lessons.

In addition to passing exams, teacher certification typically involves completing other requirements such as background checks and fingerprinting. These requirements ensure that teachers are qualified and suitable to work with children.

4. Licenses

The licenses required to become an elementary teacher vary by state, but in general, two types of licenses are commonly required: a teaching license and a background clearance.

The teaching license is typically issued by the state board of education and is required to teach in a public school. To obtain a teaching license, candidates must meet the state’s education and certification requirements, including completing a bachelor’s degree, passing a state teacher certification exam, and completing a teacher preparation program.

Background clearance is also required in most states and is designed to ensure that individuals who work with children do not pose a risk to their safety. The clearance process typically includes a criminal background check and may include a fingerprint scan, employment verification, and reference checks.

5. Student Teaching

Completing a student teaching program is essential to becoming an elementary teacher. This program provides future teachers with practical teaching experience and allows them to work with experienced teachers in a classroom setting.

During the student teaching program, future teachers work with an experienced teacher who serves as a mentor and provides guidance and feedback. This program typically lasts one semester or one academic year, during which the student teacher will plan and deliver lessons, manage the classroom, and assess student learning.

Student teachers may also have opportunities to observe their mentor teacher and other teachers in the school to gain additional insights into effective teaching strategies and classroom management techniques.

In addition to gaining practical teaching experience, student teaching is also a time for future teachers to build professional relationships with other educators, administrators, and parents in the school community. These relationships can be invaluable in securing a job after graduation and throughout their teaching career.

6. Continuing Education

Continuing education is an important requirement for becoming an elementary teacher. After completing a teacher preparation program and obtaining teacher certification, staying current with the latest teaching methods and educational practices is critical to provide the best possible education for your students.

Continuing education can take many forms, including attending professional development seminars, completing online courses, or participating in workshops and conferences. These opportunities allow teachers to learn new teaching strategies, techniques, and technologies and stay up-to-date with changes in education policy and practice.

Continuing education can also help teachers to specialize in a particular subject area or teaching method. For example, a teacher interested in teaching English language learners may choose to complete a course or workshop on teaching strategies for non-native speakers.

In addition to providing teachers with new knowledge and skills, continuing education can also lead to career advancement and increased earning potential.


Becoming an elementary teacher requires meeting specific requirements. These requirements are in place to ensure that teachers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to educate and shape the minds of young students. 


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