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Preschool Teacher Job Description, Career Options and Salary Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a preschool teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Preschool teachers work at schools and daycare centers, teaching young children fundamental skills to increase their social and intellectual skills. They might teach math, language and motor skills, and they may also interact with parents to help a child's development. This article will give you details about the education requirements and career options for preschool teachers.

Essential Information

Preschool teachers supervise, care for and educate children in daycare centers and schools. Teachers with a high school diploma may be able to find employment at childcare centers; however, an associate's degree is preferred. A bachelor's is required for teaching preschool at public schools. A Child Development Associate (CDA) certification and license are usually necessary for preschool teachers. Other common requirements include certification in first aid and CPR, and the completion of a training program. Some states require prior experience in a childcare facility.

Required Education High school diploma or associate's; bachelor's for employment with public schools
Other Requirements License or certification and CDA or CCP typically required; prior experience may be required
Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)* 7%
Mean Salary (2015)* $32,500 annually

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

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Job Description for Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers study aspects of early child development so that they may help children learn fundamental math, English and social skills. They supervise children and design curricula that advance their students' social, physical and intellectual capabilities. This may include games and activities to enhance a child's vocabulary, mathematical and motor skills. They may also use computers and educational software in their classes.

Preschool teachers need good listening and observation skills to identify each child's learning abilities. Teachers must be flexible and creative to capture their classes' attention and help them understand new concepts. These professionals are also required to interact with parents, teaching assistants and school administrators. Preschool teachers may also arrange field trips or have guests visit to reinforce lessons, and may be required to be knowledgeable about emergency equipment and safety protocols. Some of these professionals may work year round, while others maintain the typical 10-month school year.

Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for preschool teachers was projected to grow 7% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Expanded demand for early childhood education programs and the increase in the population of preschool-aged children are expected to create more opportunities.

The BLS notes that 441,000 preschool teachers were employed in 2014. Aside from schools and day care centers, preschool teachers may find employment with family services companies and social organizations.

Salary Information

As of May 2015, the BLS reports that preschool teachers earned an average of $32,500 annually. About 50% of preschool teachers received annual wages between $22,440 and $38,200. Preschool teachers in New Jersey received the highest wages among all states, averaging $40,730 annually, while those in the Vineland - Bridgeton, NJ area received average annual earnings of $50,820, the most of all metro areas.

Becoming a preschool teacher will require a high school diploma and associate's degree, but most likely a bachelor's degree for work in a public school. There are also certifications required by state for work in schools, daycare centers, and other organizations. Demand for preschool teachers is growing, as the need to teach young students basic skills increases in a variety of settings.

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