A GED can help you work toward the education and credentials you need, but in itself is insufficient for becoming a kindergarten teacher. Kindergarten teachers need bachelor's degrees and sometimes even graduate-level degrees. However, a GED won't necessarily interfere with your ability to get higher education and can be your first step toward getting the degree you need to ultimately become a teacher.
Kindergarten teachers have to meet state licensing and educational requirements. Every state requires, at minimum, a bachelor's degree and a few require additional training such as a master's degree or graduate-level classes. Your certification may be contingent upon passing specific courses and kindergarten teachers have to qualify for a kindergarten or early childhood education certification depending upon the state. You may also need to take continuing education classes, take a licensing test or obtain a certain number of supervised teaching hours before you can teach independently.
GED and College
Many colleges accept a GED certificate as an alternative to a high school diploma, so your GED does not mean that you can never become a kindergarten teacher. Students who take the GED after a long time away from school, however, might still lack some of the skills necessary for college, and Jobs for the Future reports that only about 10 percent of people who take the GED graduate college. Starting out at a community college can help you prepare for the rigors of education-oriented degrees and an associate degree can help you get the grades and experience you need to get into a good school.
If you've just gotten your GED and are contemplating college, there are majors to choose that will prepare you to teach kindergarten. Early childhood education, which provides a background in educational techniques and child development, is ideal for kindergarten teachers. Some students choose majors such as developmental psychology or elementary education. Specializing in special education, music education or English as a second language can give you additional skills that will prepare you to teach kindergarten.
GED Teaching Options
Although you cannot teach kindergarten with only a GED, there may be other options for getting teaching experience, depending on your state's licensing requirements. Some states allow teachers to teach preschool with an associate degree and others may allow preschool paraprofessionals to have only a GED. Daycare workers sometimes only have GEDs, and experience with daycare can help you meet other teachers, learn whether the work is right for you and pay your bills while you're pursuing a degree in education.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.