Kindergarten teachers instruct students whose average age is five in the basics of reading, writing, math and science. They typically work with the same group of students all day and help them with such personal skills as communication, sharing and tying their own shoes. They require a bachelor’s degree at minimum, and those teaching in the public schools also need state certification.
As of May 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that kindergarten teachers made a mean $50,380 per year. It does not list the hourly rate because these professionals typically work a year-round, full-time job. However, dividing this yearly rate by 2080, which is the standard number of hours worked in a year, determines a mean hourly rate of $24.22. This rate is lower than the pay for teachers at the elementary and high school levels. Teachers in elementary schools earn a mean $25.55 per hour, in middle schools they make a mean $25.74 per hour, and in high school they receive a mean $26.51 per hour. Amounts do not include special or vocational education specialties.
The biggest employers of kindergarten teachers are elementary and secondary schools. Here, kindergarten teachers earn a mean $24.72 per hour and form almost three percent of the 5.7 million education, training and library workers. The mean for these workers, which include elementary and high school teachers, vocational professionals, librarians and teacher assistants, is $22.70 per hour, which is under the mean for kindergarten teachers. Other mean hourly rates in this sector include $25.57 for elementary school teachers, $25.76 for middle school teachers and $26.54 for secondary school teachers.
The state with the highest population, California, also offers the most jobs for kindergarten teachers at 28,420 positions. Hourly rates here are at $27.24, which is above the national mean. In general, education, training and library occupations in this state pay more than the national average with mean hourly rates of $27.22 per hour. The state with the highest wages, Rhode Island, has the smallest area. Pay for kindergarten teachers is a mean $32.55 per hour, and for all education workers, it runs $27.87 per hour.
New York City, the most populous city in the nation, also has the most jobs for kindergarten teachers at 13,460 positions. Mean pay here is higher than the national mean at $32.41 per hour. Hourly means in other large cities are much closer to the national mean and include $27.22 in Los Angeles, $22.78 in Chicago, Illinois, and $23.60 in Houston, Texas.
- Career State University: Kindergarten Teacher Job Description
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2009 U.S. Wage Estimates
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2009 Elementary and Secondary Schools Wage Estimates
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2009 California Wage Estimates
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2009 Rhode Island Wage Estimates
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2009 New York Wage Estimates
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images