Elementary Education Careers

Most elementary school teachers are responsible for teaching one class of children in several, if not all subjects, especially in the earlier grades. Elementary school teachers spend a time dealing with the emotional and developmental needs of children, as they help them solve problems and grow socially in the context of a group of their peers. An elementary school teacher may teach one particular subject, such as music, art, science, physical education, or computer lab, to students at many grade levels. Some teachers in smaller educational systems may find themselves teaching different grade levels every year or so, depending upon the needs of the community at the time.

Employment Opportunities

Elementary education professionals may work in a variety of environments, including:

  • Public, private, and vocational schools


Elementary education professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Patience
  • Leadership
  • Excellent motivational skills
  • Creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Computer knowledge

Industry Spotlight

Preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and secondary school teachers, except special education, held about 4.0 million jobs in 2006. Of the teachers in those jobs, about 1.5 million are elementary school teachers, 1.1 million are secondary school teachers, 674,000 are middle school teachers, 437,000 are preschool teachers, and 170,000 are kindergarten teachers. The vast majority work in elementary and secondary schools. Preschool teachers, except special education, are most often employed in child daycare services (59 percent), public and private educational services (16 percent), and religious organizations (15 percent). Employment of teachers is geographically distributed much the same as the population.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008