Education Portal is now! We still offer the same great content and features, with more added every day, just under a new name. Learn more x

Education Requirements for Teaching Pre-K Classes

Pre-K teachers are typically required to have some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

View 14 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Pre-K teachers work in classrooms and day care centers teaching and caring for children who are younger than kindergarten age. Education requirements for Pre-K teachers vary by state, but some education is usually necessary. A high school diploma along with some training and certification is sometimes accepted by employers, while others require an associate's or bachelor's degree. A Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate and state certification is also usually necessary. Earning a CDA requires a combination of training and education and passage of an exam. Pre-K teachers usually must be certified in CPR and first aid.

Required Education High school diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree
Other Requirements CDA certification, state certification, first aid and CPR certification often required
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 17%*
Median Annual Salary (2013) $27,570*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Requirements

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has set national guidelines for Pre-K teacher education, but not all states and programs have adopted these standards. According to Pre-K Now (, a public education organization that advocates for Pre-K programs for all children, 26 of the 48 states that have Pre-K programs require teachers to hold a bachelor's degree, and some of those states require teaching certificates as well. The Head Start Program requires teachers to hold at least a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) publishes a report that includes state-by-state Pre-K and preschool teacher standards and statistics (

Education Programs

Child Development Associate Credential

The Council for Professional Recognition (CPR) sets standards for the CDA credential, which is geared toward Pre-K teachers working in preschools or family child care settings or as home visitors. Pre-K teacher candidates enrolled in a CDA-focused program learn to create healthy learning environments, promote social development, encourage physical activity and work with parents to meet learning goals.

These programs typically involve three courses and a period of in-classroom training that prepares graduates to apply for the CDA credential. A representative of the CPR visits the Pre-K teacher candidate to observe his or her performance and conduct an interview before awarding the CDA credential.

Early Childhood Education Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education prepare students to teach pre-K through third, fifth or sixth grade, depending on the program. These programs typically combine extensive field work with in-classroom discussions and lectures. Early childhood education programs cover subjects like science, math, English and arts. Students also learn about the development of children from Pre-K age through early childhood.

A bachelor's degree in early childhood education might offer Pre-K teachers the opportunity to advance to positions as lead teachers or childhood care center directors or to teaching positions at higher grade levels, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Show me popular schools

Related to Teaching Pre-k

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Should Schools Be Teaching Entrepreneurship?

Business degrees are popular options for students who are interested in climbing the corporate ladder. Entrepreneurship degrees...

Retirees Take on New Career: Teaching

The expression 'you're never too old' certainly applies to the thousands of individuals who have decided to take on another...

Beyond Teaching: New Ways for Teachers to Get Paid

It's often suggested that those in the teaching profession don't receive fair financial compensation for all their hard work....

Teaching the Deaf an Issue in Many States Across the Nation

Add specialized schools for blind, deaf and disabled students to the growing list of casualties as budget cuts continue to...

How Mobile Apps and Devices Impact Teaching and Learning: EduMOOC 2011

Popular Schools

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics