California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education in California

May also be called: Teachers; Elementary Teachers; Classroom Teachers; Educators; Elementary Education Teachers; Primary Teachers; Title One Reading Teachers; Reading Recovery Teachers

What Would I Do?

Elementary School Teachers instruct students in various subjects, including basic academic, social, and other formative skills. Most instruct a group of 20 to 34 children at a single grade level ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Elementary School Teachers work in private, public, and publicly funded schools such as charter schools, and can work more than 40 hours a week both in and outside the classroom. They are often rewarded when their students succeed; however, they must have the emotional stability to cope with unruly, unmotivated students and be prepared to see students fail.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Elementary School Teacher will appeal to you if you enjoy activities that involve assisting others and promote learning and personal development. This occupation satisfies those with social interests. Social occupations involve teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Salaries vary between school districts and generally are based on experience, size of district, and college units completed. Teachers with a master’s degree or national certification often results in higher pay. In addition, some districts pay bonuses for advanced degrees or extra duty. Private schools pay somewhat less, but Teachers may be compensated with free tuition for their own children and greater independence in the classroom. Substitute Teachers are generally paid at a daily rate.

The median wage in 2021 for Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Educ in California was N/A annually. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Both public and private schools usually provide medical, dental, vision, life, vacation, sick leave, retirement, and insurance benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Due to large enrollment increases, job opportunities for Teachers will vary from good to excellent, depending on the locality, grade level, and subject taught.

How Do I Qualify?

Elementary School Teachers must obtain a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in order to teach in California. Teachers can earn this credential at an accredited college or university; through a university, district, or Early Completion internship program; from teaching experience obtained in the Peace Corps; or from teaching at a private school.

Finding a Job

Direct application to school districts remains one of the most effective job search methods. The California Department of Education publishes both a public and private school directory, which together contain a listing of all schools and school districts in the State of California. They also have a list of the county offices of education with their contact information and can be used to find job opportunities. In addition, college placement offices on campus are valuable resources for finding a job and are recommended to all teaching students. Job openings can also be found in newspaper ads, public libraries, and career centers across California.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Educ