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What jobs can you get with an elementary education degree?

Kindergarten teacher sitting on the floor near three children

At a glance

  • Elementary education generally encompasses the instruction of children in grades pre-K through sixth.
  • While elementary education degree programs can prepare candidates for teaching careers, opportunities exist beyond the classroom.
  • Depending on the university and program, elementary education degrees can also lay a foundation for such jobs as literacy coach, school counselor and curriculum director.
  • Learn more about online education degrees at University of Phoenix.

If you enjoy working with young children, pursuing a degree in elementary education may be a good option to consider. While most people with an elementary education degree pursue teaching jobs, a select range of alternative careers is available too.

An elementary education degree focuses on subjects like childhood development and classroom management. Such skills may be applied to the classroom, yes, but several other career paths can benefit from those skills as well.

What is elementary education?

Elementary education focuses on the instruction of children in grades pre-K through sixth, though some elementary school go through eighth grade. It lays a foundation for a child’s lifelong educational journey by imparting both intellectual and social skills to carry them through secondary school, postsecondary school and on to a graduate degree or the workforce.

It is the job of professionals in this field to help students grow and learn effectively. Not surprisingly, professionals within this field develop knowledge in subjects like child development, classroom management and curriculum design.

Elementary education jobs and salaries

A common assumption about elementary education degree programs is that all graduates move directly into teaching positions upon matriculation. For many, this is true. And while there are other options out there (more on those in a moment), the following are some rewarding paths for educators interested in traditional teaching careers.  

Kindergarten teacher*

Kindergarten teachers are elementary educators who work specifically with kindergartners. These children are typically 5 years old; for many of them, the kindergarten classroom is their introduction to the education system. Kindergarten teachers therefore play a pivotal role; their work can have a long-lasting impact on the rest of a child’s educational experience.

As of May 2021, kindergarten teachers earned an annual salary ranging between $38,390 and $98,440, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This income can vary greatly depending on which state a teacher works in. It can also vary among institutions: Public and private schools may have different salary structures.

Open roles for this occupation are expected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, according to BLS data. That’s an estimated 120,300 open positions per year.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

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Elementary education teacher*

While kindergarten is technically a part of the elementary education system, its curriculum and classroom management style often differ from those of first through sixth grades. Like kindergarten teachers, elementary school teachers typically teach multiple subjects, although some specialize in one or two.

As of May 2021, elementary education teachers earned an annual salary of $43,950 to $99,420, according to BLS. Factors such as geography, experience and institution type (public versus private school) play a role in determining a teacher’s salary.

Open roles for this occupation are projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, according to BLS data. That’s an estimated 120,300 open positions per year.

Alternative careers for professionals with a degree in elementary education

Opportunities available to elementary educators extend beyond the traditional classroom environment too. Other jobs may involve working in a different capacity at a school, with a nonprofit organization or as a consultant.

While University of Phoenix’s educational degrees do not directly align to the following, they are available to some candidates with education degrees.

Curriculum developer*

Curriculum developers, also known as instructional coordinators, are responsible for supervising school curricula and teaching standards. They develop and implement educational material and assess it for effectiveness.

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Elementary school counselor*

School counselors help students develop their academic and social skills.

In high schools, counselors often help students identify colleges to apply to and guide them through the application process. They also provide guidance if social conflicts arise. In elementary schools, counselors help students move to different classrooms when necessitated by their academic performance (such as a move to a gifted program). They also help students and parents deal with certain social and behavioral issues.

Literacy coach*

Literacy coaches act as guides for teachers, schools and school districts as they work toward improving literacy rates. A literacy coach helps teachers implement the best practices established by reputable research to help students improve their reading and writing capabilities.

Elementary education degree requirements

Earning a degree in elementary education requires students to do a great deal of classwork and practical work. Courses cover such skills as teaching, leadership and learning strategies.

Elementary education degree programs also include a clinical component. This involves real-life experience in a classroom and working with licensed teachers to gain experience. This clinical component gives aspiring teachers the chance to develop even more useful skills, including adaptability and conflict resolution.

Beyond these requirements, students may pursue an educational fellowship, which involves teaching for one year, first as a co-teacher and then as an independent teacher. Depending on the state you live in, graduates may be required to take certain tests to earn their teaching license.

*University of Phoenix does not have an aligning elementary degree that can guarantee career outcomes, but the University can potentially prepare you for licensure and increase your knowledge and skill set in this field.

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Earn a degree in education at University of Phoenix

Whether you’re taking the first step in your journey toward a career in education or looking to expand your existing knowledge, University of Phoenix offers a variety of degree and certificate options in education. These include:

Learn more about online education degrees and certificates through University of Phoenix.



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