How to Become a Preschool Teacher

If you're interested in teaching or love working with children, you may want to consider becoming a preschool teacher. You'll need to be creative, patient, energetic and full of ideas for making a school environment fun and educational.

Facts

  • Preschool teachers are instrumental in helping form the academic and social development of their students.
  • Preschool teachers use games, interactive activities, songs, stories and hands-on projects to introduce kids to social studies, math, science, reading and writing.
  • Preschool teachers use a less structured, more play-oriented method to instruct and prepare kids for success in their academic years.
  • Even at the preschool level, teaching can be frustrating when dealing with larger class sizes and children that bring discipline issues.

Education  

While having a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement, it can bring additional benefits and higher salaries. Employers are more interested in experience, excellent recommendations and workshops that keep skills current. Most preschools require CPR certification and most insist on a criminal background check.

Working as a preschool teacher is an excellent way to "test-drive" the teaching career field to see if it's right for you. It's also a great way for a perspective teacher or college student working toward their teaching certificate to get essential on-the-job training for their resume.

Different Types of Preschool Jobs

Preschools typically work for:

  • religious organizations,
  • day care facilities and
  • Both public and private educational organization. In many cases, qualified preschool teachers with a bachelor's degree can work in private schools up to third grade.

Preschool teachers that choose to work for a private organization or a child day care provider will usually hire be hired as an assistant teacher, progress to becoming a classroom teacher and will advance to group-lead teacher.

The lead teacher would be responsible for the instruction of several classes and trouble shoot with their teachers on issues. In some cases, lead preschool teachers may want to advance to becoming the director of their facility or consider opening their own center.

Typical Salaries of Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers typically earn around $22,000 to $24,000 depending upon the geographic location. With additional advancement and responsibilities those wages increase with the highest salaries going to preschool teachers that advance to a direct their own facility.

In addition, teachers can add to their salaries by teaching over the summer, or accepting additional job-related responsibilities like after-school art or athletics classes.

The Future of Preschool Teaching Jobs

The position of preschool teacher in the teaching industry is projected to grow faster over the next few years than other teaching jobs, and faster than the general job average. Because of the ongoing national push for improvements in early childhood education, teaching jobs will rise quickly. Also, the projected increase in full-day preschool demands are rising and more kids need schools. Teachers with special skills like a second language and special needs training will be in the highest demand.