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Become A Preschool Teacher

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Working As A Preschool Teacher

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • $28,175

    Average Salary

What Does A Preschool Teacher Do

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach reading, writing, science, and other subjects in a way that young children can understand.


Preschool teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach children basic skills such as color, shape, number, and letter recognition
  • Work with children in groups or one on one, depending on the needs of children and the subject matter
  • Plan and carry out a curriculum that targets different areas of child development, such as language, motor, and social skills
  • Organize activities so children can learn about the world, explore interests, and develop skills
  • Develop schedules and routines to ensure children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Watch for signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to the attention of the parents
  • Keep records of the students’ progress, routines, and interests, and inform parents about their child’s development

Young children learn from playing, problem solving, questioning, and experimenting. Preschool teachers use play and other instructional techniques to teach children about the world. For example, they use storytelling and rhyming games to teach language and vocabulary. They may help improve children’s social skills by having them work together to build a neighborhood in a sandbox or teach math by having children count when building with blocks.

Preschool teachers work with children from different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Teachers include topics in their lessons to teach children to respect people of different backgrounds and cultures.

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How To Become A Preschool Teacher

Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They range from a high school diploma and certification to a college degree.


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.


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.

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Preschool Teacher jobs

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Preschool Teacher Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Italian

  • Mandarin

  • Japanese

  • Chinese

  • Arabic

  • Portuguese

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Russian

  • Hindi

  • Hebrew

  • Filipino

  • Urdu

  • Vietnamese

  • Tagalog

  • Greek

  • Romanian

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Real Preschool Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Preschool Teacher Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD May 28, 2016 $78,415
Preschool Teacher Wyspa Dzieci Learning Center Northbrook, IL Jan 31, 2015 $62,610
Preschool Teacher Rainbow School Ridgefield, NJ May 29, 2015 $61,734
Preschool Teacher Kissena Cherry Daycare Inc. NY Jul 01, 2015 $61,734
Preschool Teacher Rainbow School Ridgefield, NJ Mar 28, 2016 $61,734
Mandarin Immersion Preschool Teacher Presidio Knolls School, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 09, 2016 $60,564
Mandarin Immersion Preschool Teacher Presidio Knolls School San Francisco, CA Dec 08, 2016 $57,624
Preschool Teacher Montessori Family School of Manhattan New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $53,000
Preschool Teacher The Maria Montessori School Levittown, NY Sep 01, 2015 $52,175
Preschool Teacher Christ Church United Methodist New York, NY Sep 15, 2016 $46,732
Preschool Teacher Dallas Services Dallas, TX Jan 19, 2016 $43,000
Preschool Teacher Alta Plaza Preschool Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 15, 2016 $41,740
Preschool Teacher Lubavitch of Cambridge Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 30, 2016 $41,740
Preschool Teacher Children's Hut LLC Washington, DC Aug 19, 2016 $41,740
Preschool Teacher Riverside Assembly of God, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jan 27, 2016 $36,296
Preschool Teacher Nihonmachi Little Friends San Francisco, CA Sep 20, 2015 $36,000
Preschool Teacher Hall & Associates, LLC Alexandria, VA Sep 12, 2015 $36,000
Preschool Teacher Cambridgeport Children's Center Inc. Cambridge, MA Feb 01, 2015 $35,700
Spanish Immersion Preschool Teacher Pine Village Preschool Inc. Needham, MA Jul 15, 2015 $35,500 -
Preschool Teacher Montessori Family School of Manhattan New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $35,000
Spanish Preschool Teacher Su Escuela Language Academy LLC Hingham, MA Aug 20, 2016 $35,000 -
Preschool Teacher Toddlers On The Hill, LLC. Washington, DC Sep 15, 2016 $35,000
Spanish Preschool Teacher Su Escuela Language Academy LLC Hingham, MA Nov 16, 2016 $31,000 -
Preschool Teacher Carousel School Los Angeles, CA Sep 04, 2015 $30,826
Preschool Teacher Wyspa Dzieci Learning Center Northbrook, IL Mar 10, 2016 $30,742
Preschool Teacher West Town Daycare Chicago, IL Aug 17, 2016 $30,640
Preschool Teacher Coordinator Integral Education Inc. Plantation, FL Aug 03, 2016 $30,618
Bilingual Preschool Teacher Leaders In Education Inc. Houston, TX Jul 16, 2016 $30,572
Preschool Teachers Goldies 1 LLC Washington, DC Aug 19, 2015 $30,449
Preschool Teacher Children's Hut, LLC Washington, DC Aug 18, 2015 $30,449

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Top Skills for A Preschool Teacher


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Top Preschool Teacher Skills

  1. Weekly Lesson Plans
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Appropriate Curriculum
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked independently and as part of a team to achieve classrooms weekly lesson plans.
  • Developed and maintained a functional classroom management plan.
  • Created and implemented a developmentally appropriate curriculum.
  • Provide a model classroom for the child care center teachers to observe.
  • Provide direct, 1 on 1 instruction, creative center activities, art projects, and music and movement activities.

Top Preschool Teacher Employers

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Preschool Teacher Videos

Preschool Teacher - Career Conversation

How to Become a Certified Preschool Teacher

A day in the life of a pre-school teacher