CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a kindergarten teacher.

Step 1

Is becoming a kindergarten teacher right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

Overview
What do kindergarten teachers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are kindergarten teachers happy with their careers?
Personality
What are kindergarten teachers like?

Still unsure if becoming a kindergarten teacher is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a kindergarten teacher or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

Step 2

Learn how to work with young children

Volunteering as a teacher’s assistant at a local school or daycare facility provides beneficial experience prior to enrolling in a post-secondary education program. Consider visiting a kindergarten classroom to observe the live environment and talk to and learn from an experienced educator in the field.

Step 3

Bachelor’s Degree

Kindergarten teachers typically have a Bachelor's Degree in Education, Elementary Education, or Early Childhood Education. The selection of a major may be dependent on specific state licensing requirements.

While earning their undergraduate degree, prospective kindergarten teachers should create a professional teaching portfolio, comprised of teaching philosophy statements, a resume, references, certifications, professional development activities, and lesson plans. This portfolio will exhibit competence and will be of use during the post-graduation job hunt.

Step 4

Student Teaching Practicum

One of the prerequisites of most teacher preparation programs is a one- or two-semester student teaching practicum. This allows students to hone their teaching skills with the assistance and support of an experienced kindergarten teacher.

In addition to gaining in-classroom experience, student teachers receive periodic assessments of their lesson planning and instructional skills.

Step 5

Teaching License

Individuals who intend to teach kindergarten must be licensed in the state in which they wish to be employed. Licensing requirements may vary by state.

Typically, candidates must graduate from a state-approved education program and pass proficiency exams and assessments of instructional methods. Many states rely on the Praxis tests or Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) as a national standard for assessing qualifications. These exams test core academic skills and aptitude in specific subcategories such as counseling and special needs education.

Additionally, prospective teachers must submit fingerprints and have a clean criminal record to become licensed.

Step 6

Certification (optional)

Like all teachers, kindergarten teachers may choose to earn voluntary certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Teachers with a bachelor’s degree may apply for this national credential — recognized by all states — after gaining a minimum of three years of classroom experience in a state-approved learning institution.

The credential is valid for ten years and may be renewed. The Board offers sixteen certification subjects; a kindergarten teacher is likely to focus on the generalist certification for early childhood.

Step 7

Master’s Degree (optional)

A Master’s Degree in Elementary Education is an excellent choice for:

  • Individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching field and wish to transition into a new career as a kindergarten teacher
  • Experienced teachers looking to specialize, conduct educational research, and enhance their career potential.
Step 8

Professional Associations and Resources

National Organizations

  • Association of American Educators
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Kindergarten Alliance

Teacher Resources