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Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They range from a high school diploma and certification to a college degree.Education
In childcare centers, preschool teachers generally are required to have a least a high school diploma and a certification in early childhood education. However, employers may prefer to hire workers with at least some postsecondary education in early childhood education.
Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Those with a degree in a related field must have experience teaching preschool-age children.
In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Bachelor’s degree programs teach students about children’s development, strategies to teach young children, and how to observe and document children’s progress.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some states require preschool teachers to obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA credential requires coursework, experience in the field, a written exam, and observation of the candidate working with children. The CDA credential is valid for three years and requires renewal.
Some states recognize the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Some of the requirements needed to obtain the CCP include that the candidate must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have experience in the field, take courses in early childhood education, and pass an exam. The CCP accreditation requires renewal every two years through the CCP maintenance process.
In public schools, preschool teachers must be licensed to teach early childhood education, which covers preschool through third grade. Requirements vary by state, but they generally require a bachelor’s degree and passing an exam to demonstrate competency. Most states require teachers to complete continuing education credits to maintain their license.Other Experience
A few states require preschool teachers to have some work experience in a childcare setting. The amount of experience necessary varies by state. In these cases, preschool teachers often start out as childcare workers or teacher assistants.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good communication skills to talk to parents and colleagues about students’ progress. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information effectively. They must also be able to communicate well with small children.
Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young students. In addition, they need to adapt their lessons to suit different learning styles.
Interpersonal skills. Preschool teachers must understand children’s emotional needs and be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and colleagues.
Organizational skills. Teachers need to be organized to plan lessons and keep records of their students.
Patience. Working with children can be frustrating, and preschool teachers should be able to respond calmly to overwhelming and difficult situations.
Physical stamina. Working with children can be physically taxing, so preschool teachers should have a lot of energy.Advancement
Experienced preschool teachers can advance to become the director of a preschool or childcare center or a lead teacher, who may be responsible for the instruction of several classes. Those with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education frequently are qualified to teach kindergarten through grade 3, in addition to preschool. Teaching positions at these higher grades typically pay more. For more information, see the profiles on preschool and childcare center directors and kindergarten and elementary school teachers.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Lead Teacher
Top Careers After Lead Teacher
Hispanic or Latino9.7%
Black or African American0.5%
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University of Phoenix15.9%
Grand Canyon University11.4%
Northern Virginia Community College3.5%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro3.2%
Southern New Hampshire University2.6%
Virginia Commonwealth University2.5%
George Mason University2.4%
Michigan State University2.4%
Western Michigan University2.3%
Georgia State University2.3%
Ball State University2.3%
Illinois State University2.2%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Lead Teacher||Youthbuild Charter School of California||Fresno, CA||Jul 23, 2015||$84,990|
|Lead Teacher, K||Aspire Public Schools||Huntington Park, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$81,614|
|Lead Teacher, K||Aspire Public Schools||Huntington Park, CA||Dec 22, 2016||$81,614|
|Lead Teacher||Youthbuild Charter School of California||Palmdale, CA||Jul 23, 2015||$76,440|
|Chinese Lead Teacher||China Institute In America||New York, NY||Sep 10, 2015||$73,045 -
|Chinese Lead Teacher||China Institute In America||New York, NY||Aug 27, 2015||$73,045 -
|Spanish Lead Teacher (Instructional Coordinator)||Carolina International School||Concord, NC||Jan 27, 2016||$73,000 -
|Lead Teacher, Music In Schools Initiative||Yale University||New Haven, CT||Dec 02, 2016||$70,554|
|Lead Teacher||Columbia University||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$69,927|
|Spanish Lead Teacher (Grades)||Dc Bilingual Public Charter School||Washington, DC||Oct 14, 2016||$67,790 -
|Lower Elementary Lead Teacher||Waterfront Montessori, LLC||Jersey City, NJ||Jul 27, 2015||$67,000|
|Design Group Leader and Teacher of Product and Digital Desig||Atlanta International School||Atlanta, GA||Mar 06, 2016||$65,000 -
|Secondary Group Leader and Teacher of Mathematics||Atlanta International School||Atlanta, GA||Sep 11, 2015||$64,000 -
|Secondary Group Leader and Teacher of Mathematics||Atlanta International School||Atlanta, GA||Nov 09, 2015||$64,000 -
|Primary Grades Lead Teacher||The Magellan School||Austin, TX||Sep 01, 2015||$54,500|
|Lead Teacher||The Summit Montessori School, Inc.||Framingham, MA||Aug 24, 2015||$54,300 -
|Mandarin Lead Teacher||Presidio Knolls School, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 06, 2015||$53,744|
|Lead Teacher||Palm Tree School||Fairfax, VA||Jun 07, 2016||$53,400|
|Mandarin Lead Teacher||Presidio Knolls School, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 17, 2016||$52,374|
|Mandarin Lead Teacher||Presidio Knolls School, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 27, 2016||$52,345|
|Primary School Lead Teacher||The Magellan School||Austin, TX||Aug 21, 2015||$50,896|
|Mandarin Lead Teacher||Presidio Knolls School, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 06, 2015||$50,850|
|Pre-School Lead Teacher||Kovago Developmental Foundation Inc.||Ashland, MA||Jul 24, 2015||$42,162|
|Pre-School Lead Teacher||Kovago Developmental Foundation Inc.||Ashland, MA||Mar 28, 2016||$42,162|
|Primary Lead Teacher||Shivsiddhi, Inc.||Albuquerque, NM||Sep 01, 2015||$42,020|
|Lead Teacher||St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, Inc.||Saint Louis, MO||Jan 08, 2016||$42,000|
|English Lead Teacher||Family First Enterprises, LLC||East Point, GA||Sep 20, 2016||$41,290|
|Lead Teacher||St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, Inc.||Saint Louis, MO||Jan 07, 2016||$41,200|
|Montessori Lead Teacher||Ra Laur, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Feb 22, 2016||$41,120|
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