Kindergarten is sometimes referred to as a bridge year for young children. They move from unstructured play or early learning in a home or a pre-school environment to a more structured formal education environment. Kindergarten teachers teach these little ones a variety of subjects, social skills, personal hygiene, art and music. A kindergarten teacher's salary depends on her geographic location and type of employment.
The national mean annual salary for kindergarten teachers was $52,350 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 25 percent earned annual wages of $39,910 or less, while the top 25 percent made $62,770 or more per year. The top 10 percent of the nation's kindergarten teachers earned at least $76,900 per year.
Approximately 13 percent of the nation's 164,910 kindergarten teachers worked in California, where they earned mean annual wages of $61,150 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Kindergarten teachers who worked in Texas earned average wages of $49,570 per year, while those who taught in North Dakota earned mean annual wages of $40,140. Those who taught in Rhode Island earned the highest average salaries in the country at $71,820 per year.
Elementary and secondary schools were the primary employers of kindergarten teachers, accounting for more than 93 percent of all jobs as of May 2011. Kindergarten teachers who worked for elementary and secondary schools earned mean annual salaries of $53,520. Those who worked in day care centers made $32,880 per year, while those employed by religious organizations earned mean wages of $40,300 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for kindergarten teachers to grow by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, although new job opportunities will likely vary by region, depending on state and local budgets. Kindergarten teachers who hold additional certification in English as a Second Language or special education should have better employment opportunities.