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Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers teach and facilitate the learning of children ranging in age from 4 to 12 years (Kindergarten to Grade 6).

  • Avg. Salary $77,661.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.68
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 43,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Educator, Instructor, Music Teacher, Primary School Teacher, School Teacher, Teacher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers (4142) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers (E132) 
  • 2011 NOC: Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (4032) 
  • 2016 NOC: Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (4032) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Elementary School Teacher is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers

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


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


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

Updated May 18, 2021

In general, elementary school teachers:

  • Identify children’s individual and collective learning needs for their age and grade
  • Plan and deliver instruction based on student learning needs and approved curriculums
  • Provide a stimulating learning environment in which each child can experience growth and develop to their potential using course material
  • Help students learn appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • Facilitate positive social relationships between students and the rest of society
  • 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 or guardians regarding their child’s learning status
  • Meet with other professionals to discuss individual student needs and progress
  • Organize and direct the work of teacher assistants and parent volunteers
  • Supervise extracurricular and after-school activities
  • Attend meetings, seminars and professional development sessions
  • Deal with children’s crises such as forgotten lunches, minor scrapes, family emergencies and 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” (work as a group of 2 or more teachers to plan and carry out teaching activities) or teach music, second languages or physical education at multiple grade levels.

Elementary teachers who have specialized in early childhood education are prepared to work with children from kindergarten to Grade 3. Early childhood education programs focus on the development of positive self-concepts in young children. These teachers plan, organize and provide a wide variety of developmentally appropriate experiences that foster understanding and use of language through:

  • Hands-on activities, stories, discussions, songs, art projects, games and other exploratory learning activities
  • Listening experiences
  • Individual and group activities and projects

Most kindergarten teachers in urban areas teach 2 different groups of children each day: 1 in the morning and 1 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, Indigenous 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 May 18, 2021

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 May 18, 2021

Elementary school teachers need:

  • Genuine interest in children and respect for their individuality
  • Creativity, imagination, patience and high energy
  • Resourcefulness
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • 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
  • Strong organizational skills
  • The ability to establish rapport with children and parents

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

Educational Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021

In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach in an elementary school is 4 years of post-secondary education leading to a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree.

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

  • Elementary school volunteer work
  • Playground supervision
  • Daycare work
  • Hospital volunteer work
  • Amateur sports coaching
  • Teacher assistant work
  • Work with children in organized groups

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.

Concordia University of Edmonton

Grande Prairie Regional College

Simon Fraser University

University of Alberta

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

Certification Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021


In Alberta, teachers in the K to 12 system work at the elementary (Kindergarten to Grade 6), junior high (Grades 7 to 9), or high school (Grades 10 to 12) levels. Elementary and junior high teachers are typically generalists. However, it is preferred that high school teachers have subject area expertise.


Under Alberta’s Education Act [pdf] and Certification of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation [pdf], school teachers must be certificated by the Government of Alberta.

What You Need

Minimum requirements for an interim professional certificate are:

  • 4 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
  • Criminal record check with a vulnerable sector search

Requirements for a permanent professional certificate are:

  • 2 years of full-time teaching experience (approximately 400 days equivalent) in an Alberta accredited school while holding a valid Interim Professional Certificate
  • 2 successful evaluations of classroom performance based on meeting the requirements in the Teaching Quality Standard
  • Recommendation from the employing school authority

For detailed official information including coursework requirements for teachers in the K to 12 system, visit the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Individuals who hold a valid teaching certificate from another Canadian jurisdiction are eligible for certification in Alberta without additional training or examination. Evidence of language proficiency may be required. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Government of Alberta website.

Contact Details

The Registrar at Alberta Education
Government of Alberta
2nd Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard Building
10044 – 108 St
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5E6

Phone: 780-427-2045
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-0000, then 780-427-2045
Fax: 780-422-4199


Employment & Advancement
Updated May 18, 2021

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 coordinator 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 [pdf] 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4032: Elementary school and kindergarten teachers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 754 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 754 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

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 May 18, 2021

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 based on the 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 Plans Act [pdf]. Holidays and pensions are specified by provincial legislation. However, teachers often use the spring, summer or Christmas break periods for professional development or for fulfilling additional professional responsibilities.

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.71 $49.21 $35.77 $34.10
Overall $35.29 $53.89 $44.68 $44.78
Top $35.29 $84.44 $59.14 $55.55

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 18, 2021

Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated May 18, 2021. 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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