Career Definition of a Lead Preschool Teacher
Lead preschool teachers serve as administrators, teachers, and leaders. They are responsible for the development and implementation of curriculum that fosters language and vocabulary development, improves social skills, and ultimately prepares children to enter kindergarten. Lead preschool teachers draw upon their teaching experience to provide guidance to staff working with difficult children, parents, or situations. They also observe and evaluate the social and physical development of preschoolers and work closely with parents to solve issues, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
|Education||Certification, associate's, or bachelor's in early childhood education|
|Job Duties||Develop and implement curriculum that prepares students for kindergarten|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$28,990 (all preschool teachers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||10% (all preschool teachers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education requirements for all preschool teachers, including lead preschool teachers, vary by state and facility. Some preschools require a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, while others require an associate's degree or only certification by a nationally recognized authority. Most lead preschool teachers have at least a bachelor's degree and some may hold an advanced graduate-level degree. Many lead preschool teachers began as preschool assistants and typically have a long history of teaching experience that provides valuable insight into the characteristics of a well-run preschool.
Lead preschool teachers must be caring individuals who hold a deep belief in each child's potential and seek to use their experience and administrative skills to further that potential. They must also have strong communication skills in order to interact effectively with both staff and parents.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for preschool teachers in general were expected to increase by 10%, faster than average for all occupations, from 2016-2026. The bureau reported that as of May 2017, the median annual salary for preschool teachers was $28,990.
Alternate Career Options
Similar career options in this field include:
Preschool and Childcare Center Director
The requirements for directors vary by state, but many have bachelor's degrees in early childhood education along with teaching experience. Directors oversee and direct the staff, plan programs, and prepare budgets. Faster than average employment growth of 11% was projected by the BLS from 2016-2026, and the median annual salary in 2017 was $46,890.
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
By completing a bachelor's degree that includes an internship, aspiring teachers also must obtain state licensing or certification to teach in public schools. These teachers usually work with students up through fourth or fifth-grade planning lessons, assessing students, teaching lessons, communicating with parents, and often supervising children outside the classroom. The BLS anticipated a fast as the average increase in jobs of 7% during the 2016-2026 decade. When considering both kindergarten and elementary teachers' salaries, the BLS reported an annual median wage of $56,900 in 2017, with elementary teachers earning slightly more.