How to Become an Elementary School Teacher

online masters degree in education

Teachers shape the minds of our children and prepare them to become successful adults. The role they play in forming the future of our nation cannot be overstated. This noble profession calls to those who possess immense patience, understanding and passion, as well as a love of knowledge.

The path to becoming a teacher is relatively straight forward. However, there are decisions and mandatory steps that must be made along the way. Read on for more information on how to become an elementary school teacher, where to start your education and how to take your career further.


To become a kindergarten or elementary school teacher in a public school setting, candidates must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education. Requirements vary by state and school district. Some states require elementary teachers to obtain a bachelor’s degree in their intended content area and then complete a teacher preparation program or go on to earn a master’s degree in education.

Teachers in private schools are not obligated to meet state requirements; however, private schools typically seek elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licensure and Certification

In addition to educational requirements, all states require public school teachers to obtain a teaching license for the state in which they practice. A teaching license may also be referred to as a certification. Private school teachers in certain states may be exempt from this requirement.

Though requirements for teacher certification may vary by state, there are some common threads. Every state requires that public school teachers complete a bachelor’s degree prior to certification. Public school teachers must also complete a teacher preparation program and undergo a period of supervised experience (student teaching typically fulfills this requirement). In some states, teachers must achieve a minimum GPA in their studies and pass a certification exam that tests their knowledge and pedagogical skills in the content area in which they will teach. Alternative certification programs are available in some states for teachers who already have teaching experience and wish to transition into the public school system.

Career Advancement

In teaching, as with most disciplines, the best way to advance your career is to further your education. With additional training, teachers can become school counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, school administrators or principals.

Notre Dame College Online Education Degree Programs

Notre Dame College offers several online education programs for teachers who are just starting out or who want to take their careers to the next level.

Bachelor of Education

This education program offers two licensure tracks for students in the bachelor’s program. The mild to moderate interventional specialist (MMIS) concentration prepares graduates to work with K-12 special education children. The early childhood education (ECE) program is intended for teachers who wish to work with students in pre-K through Grade 3.

Fourth and Fifth Grade Endorsement

Students in the ECE bachelor’s concentration can opt to complete this endorsement. Successful completion of the endorsement allows teachers to pursue certification for Grade 4 and Grade 5 in the state of Ohio.

Master of Education

Choose from concentrations in special education, reading, technology facility and educational leadership. Teachers who already hold a bachelor’s degree can specialize their skill set or transition into a school administrator position.

Teacher Education Evening Licensure (TEEL)

Those who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in education can earn their teaching license through the TEEL program. TEEL prepares teachers from kindergarten to Grade 12 for success.