A degree in elementary education is needed to teach grades kindergarten through eighth in most schools. This degree can also be a catalyst to other education-related careers for teachers seeking a change from the classroom. Retired elementary teachers may find their degrees useful in pursuing a new career or securing part-time work for supplemental income.
An elementary education degree is a basic qualification for teaching children in elementary school. The grade level will depend upon how the school is structured. School districts may define elementary as kindergarten through fifth, sixth or even eighth. Administrators will use your teaching license to determine your placement. When states issue licenses, they will list the grades you are qualified to teach.
After you have taught elementary school for a few years, there may be opportunities to work in specialized educational fields. Many schools hire reading and math interventionists to assist struggling students. An elementary education degree plus some additional training is usually required. Other job choices are literacy coach or lead teacher. These jobs are supervisory, but not administrative. Years of experience along with a degree in education are usually sufficient qualifications.
Elementary classroom teachers can also work on higher degrees for job promotions and career advancement. They can enroll in graduate school and pursue a degree in educational administration to becoming an elementary lead or assistant principal. Teachers who want to continue helping children but not remain in the classroom can earn a master's degree in guidance counseling.
You may decide that teaching or working in an elementary school is not what you want to do for the next 20 years. If this is the case, your degree in education can help you get started in other careers. A bachelor's degree in any area can qualify you for entry-level jobs in management or administrative positions. Textbook companies also hire experienced teachers as consultants when they are designing curriculum and updating their publications.
Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.