K is for Kindergarten Teacher
by Bettsy Hjelseth
Being able to impact the beginning of a child's educational life positively is but one of the many benefits of being a kindergarten teacher. Kindergarten teachers prepare children, usually four to six years old, for first grade. They also help them develop basic skills and social behavior with games, exercise, music, simple handicrafts, and other activities.1 They may be required to hold state certification, and they typically need a Bachelor's degree (see Figure 1).
|Figure 1: Typical Tasks for Kindergarten Teachers
- Prepare children for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks
- Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools
- Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations
- Organize and lead activities designed to promote physical, mental, and social development, such as games, arts and crafts, music, and storytelling
- Prepare materials, classrooms, and other indoor and outdoor spaces to facilitate creative play, learning and motor-skill activities, and safety
|Source: DEED Career and Education Explorer Tool
DEED's Occupational Employment Statistics program showed that in the first quarter of 2016 Minnesota employed a total of 3,060 kindergarten teachers at a median wage of $53,538. In comparison, kindergarten teachers across the country earned a median wage of $52,056 during the same period. From 2014 to 2024 the number of kindergarten teaching jobs in the state is forecast to increase 1.5 percent.
In Minnesota the region that employs the largest number of kindergarten teachers is the Seven County Metro with 1,800. The region that employs the smallest number of kindergarten teachers is the Northeast with 140. The region that has the highest median wage for kindergarten teachers is the Seven County Metro at a median wage of $57,587 a year. The region that has the lowest median wage for kindergarten teachers is the Northwest with a median wage of $43,699 a year. The Central Minnesota Region is projected to see the largest job increase for kindergarten teachers in Minnesota between the years 2012 and 2022, followed closely by the Seven County Metro Region (see Table 1).
Kindergarten teachers are part of the Elementary and Secondary Schools industry. The U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Workforce Indicator shows that in the fourth quarter of 2015 the Elementary and Secondary Schools industry had 125,248 female employees and 44,123 male. The race that made up the largest number of employees in this industry was white with 158,925 employees. Black or African American made up the second largest group represented in this industry with 4,993 employees, and Asian made up the third with 2,912 employees.
According to DEED's Job Vacancy Survey, in the second quarter of 2015 a total of 40 job vacancies existed for kindergarten teachers in Minnesota, and the median wage offered for these positions was $19.50 per hour. In the second quarter of 2014 there were a total of 22 job vacancies for kindergarten teachers in Minnesota, and the median wage offered for these positions was $20.75 per hour. For both years all of these jobs required a certificate or license. In 2015 one-third of them required one or more years of previous experience while one-fourth of them did in 2014. Overall, the future outlook for kindergarten teaching jobs in Minnesota seems to be promising.
|Table 1: Employment Information First Quarter, 2016
||Projected % Change from 2012 - 2022
|Seven County Metro
|Source: DEED Occupational Employment Statistics