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Occupational Profile

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers teach and facilitate the learning of children ranging in age from four to 12 years in Kindergarten to Grade 6.

  • Avg. Salary $79,825.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.98
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

Educator, Instructor, School Teacher, Teacher, Music Teacher

NOC & Interest Codes
The Elementary School Teacher is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers
NOC code: 4142
SOCIAL

Interest in leading students in activities to promote their physical, mental and social development; in participating in staff meetings, educational conferences and teacher training workshops; and in preparing examinations

INNOVATIVE

Interests in co-ordinating information to prepare courses for presentation to students according to curriculum, to identify children's individual learning needs and to prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help

DIRECTIVE

Interest in instructing students using a systematic plan of lessons, discussions, audio-visual presentations and field trips; and in assigning and correcting homework and administering and correcting examinations; may supervise teachers' aides and student teachers

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In general, elementary school teachers:

  • identify children's individual and collective learning needs
  • plan and deliver instruction based on student learning needs
  • provide a stimulating learning environment in which each child can experience growth and develop to potential
  • help students learn appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • facilitate positive social relationships between students
  • use various assessment tools to evaluate and communicate student progress
  • serve as role models for students.

Elementary classes vary in size and include students who represent a broad range of abilities, interests and needs. A variety of instructional and assessment strategies are required to maintain student interest and maximize individual learning.

In addition, elementary teachers:

  • meet with parents
  • meet with other professionals to discuss individual student needs and progress
  • organize and direct the work of teacher assistants and parent volunteers
  • supervise extra-curricular and after school activities
  • attend meetings, seminars and professional development sessions
  • deal with children's crises such as forgotten lunches, minor scrapes, family emergencies or not being picked up as scheduled.

Most elementary teachers are responsible for a homeroom class of 20 to 33 children and teach most subjects. Some teachers team teach or teach music, second languages or physical education at different grade levels.

Elementary teachers who have specialized in Early Childhood Education are prepared to work with children from kindergarten to Grade 3. These programs focus on the development of positive self-concepts in young children and include planning, organizing and providing a wide variety of developmentally appropriate experiences that foster understanding and use of language through:

  • hands on activities, stories, discussions, songs, art, games and other exploratory learning activities
  • listening experiences
  • individual and group activities and projects.

Most kindergarten teachers in urban areas teach two different groups of children each day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). In rural areas, kindergarten teachers often work in half day or alternate full day programs.

Many schools in Alberta offer language immersion or bilingual programs in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Ukrainian, native and other languages. In addition, the number of non-English speaking immigrant children in the province has created a need for English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Language Learners (ELL) teachers. ESL and ELL classes usually are taught by elementary teachers who have completed related university course work...

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Teaching is a physically and emotionally demanding occupation that requires a high level of energy. Much of the time teachers are on their feet interacting with children. Teachers are required to maintain a positive learning environment while addressing the intellectual, physical, social and emotional needs of students from diverse backgrounds. A teacher's day, therefore, is busy and requires careful attention to a wide variety of responsibilities concurrently.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Elementary school teachers need the following characteristics:

  • strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • a genuine interest in children and respect for their individuality
  • the ability to be creative, imaginative, patient, energetic, organized and resourceful
  • the ability to establish rapport children and parents
  • strong leadership and teamwork skills 
  • a clear speaking voice and the ability to convey confidence
  • positive conflict resolution skills and the ability to handle stress well.

They should enjoy finding different ways to solve problems and present information, and organizing and co-ordinating the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach in an elementary school is four years of post-secondary education leading to a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Concordia University of Edmonton

Mount Royal University

St. Mary's University


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

University of Alberta

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Competition for admission to quota programs often is keen. Post-secondary institutions may give preference to applicants who have experience working with children in a leadership capacity. Valuable experience can be obtained from:

  • volunteer work in elementary schools
  • playground supervision
  • day care work
  • hospital volunteering
  • amateur sports coaching
  • teacher assistant work
  • working with children in organized groups.
Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Teacher

Elementary school teachers teach and facilitate the learning of children ranging in age from four to 12 years (Kindergarten to Grade 6). Secondary school teachers may be generalists or subject area specialists who provide instruction to young people in junior and senior high school (Grades 7 to 12).

Legislation

Under Alberta's School Act and Certification of Teachers Regulation, school teachers must be certificated by Alberta Education.

Education

Minimum requirements for an interim professional certificate: (1) four years of university education and a recognized degree including 48 semester hour credits in teacher education coursework and 10 weeks of supervised student teaching at an approved institution, (2) a Statement of Professional Standing from the jurisdictions in which applicants were trained and last taught, (3) verification of currency of teaching experience, (4) evidence of Canadian citizenship or permanent residency, and (5) proficiency in English or French. 

Requirements for a permanent professional certificate: (1) the equivalent of two years of full time teaching experience in Alberta, (2) at least two successful evaluations of classroom performance based upon requirements in the Teaching Quality Standard, and (3) a positive recommendation from the employing Superintendent of Schools or, in the case of private schools, from a Designated Signing Authority.

For official, detailed information including coursework requirements for elementary and secondary teachers, visit Alberta Education's teacher certification website or contact the Professional Standards branch.

Working in Alberta

Teachers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified teachers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Professional Standards
Alberta Education
2nd Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard Building
10044 - 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 5E6
Phone number: 780-427-2045
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 310-0000 and then 780-427-2045
Fax number: 780-422-4199
Website: www.education.alberta.ca/teachers/certification.aspx

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Elementary teachers are employed in:

  • playgrounds
  • public schools
  • private schools
  • hospitals and other institutions.

To find employment, new graduates may relocate to rural or isolated communities or work as supply (substitute) teachers.

With experience and additional training, elementary school teachers may advance to positions such as:

  • team leader or co-ordinator of a subject area in a large school or school system
  • vice-principal, assistant principal or principal
  • specialist in a department of education, university or school district.

Elementary school teachers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4032: Elementary school and kindergarten teachers.  In Alberta, 99% of people employed in this classification work in the Educational Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Educational Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 21,300 Albertans are employed in the Elementary school and kindergarten teachers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 320 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As elementary school teachers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for elementary school teachers. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years. The Alberta Teachers' Association estimates that about 900 teaching positions will become vacant each year due to retirement.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Salaries vary from one school board to another because wages and benefits are determined by collective agreements between boards and their teachers. Teachers are paid according to a grid system which is based on number of years of training and experience. Administrators such as school principals receive an additional allowance.

All teachers employed in Alberta's publicly supported schools are members of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) and are automatically included under the Alberta Teachers Pension Plan Act. Holidays and pensions are specified by provincial legislation. However, teachers often use the summer break period of July and August, or Christmas and spring break holidays, for professional development or for fulfilling additional professional responsibilities.

Elementary school teachers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4032: Elementary school and kindergarten teachers. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Elementary school and kindergarten teachers occupational group earned on average from $31.03 to $53.68 an hour. The overall average wage was $43.98 an hour. For more information, see the Elementary school and kindergarten teachers wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
  • English Language Arts
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) website: www.teachers.ab.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Feb 01, 2012. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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