In most states, elementary school teachers must be licensed in order to teach, and licensure requirements may vary by state; in California, elementary school teachers must earn an undergraduate degree, complete student teaching experience, be able to demonstrate technological competency and pass a series of tests in addition to receiving a formal recommendation from their college or university. Other states may require more or less preparation than California, but earning a degree, completing student teaching experience and passing a test are common requirements across most states in the United States.
Requirements for working in a public elementary school may differ from working in a private elementary school. Public elementary schools are regulated by state entities and, in the U.S., all states require that teachers have at least a bachelor's degree and have been properly and fully licensed by a state licensure or certification board. Private elementary schools may be able to set their own rules and guidelines for teacher requirements. These private-school rules may be more or less strict than those enforced by the state. For example, a religious school may require that teachers have additional education in the specific religious tradition the school adheres to, or they may accept religious training in lieu of formal education.