Preschool Teacher: Average Salary of a Preschool Teacher

Published Sep 12, 2009

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You can help kids begin their education on the right foot with a job as a preschool teacher. Teachers study child psychology and development in college to learn how to encourage growth and learning in young children. Most preschool teachers work in day care facilities.

Preschool Teacher Career Summary

Preschool teachers work with children who are usually ages 3-5. These teachers are employed by day care centers, elementary schools and other organizations with on-site child care such as churches. The teaching curriculum for preschool children tends to be less structured and academic than curricula for later grades. Preschool teachers focus on helping children learn through experience and play.

The education requirements for preschool teachers vary by state and employer, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Some need only an associate's degree in early childhood education, while other positions require a bachelor's degree. According to the National Education Writers Association,, bachelor's degrees are more often required in states that have begun publicly-funded preschool programs, including Oklahoma and New Jersey. All states require preschool teachers in public schools to be licensed to teach early childhood.

Preschool Teacher Career Outlook and Salary Information

A May 2008 BLS survey found that the national average salary for preschool teachers was $26,610. The average salary was slightly lower at $23,880 in day care centers, which are the largest sector employing preschool teachers. Those working at elementary schools earn a higher average salary of $37,800. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, low pay for preschool teachers leads to a high turnover rate, ranging from 25% to 50% annually.

The BLS predicts much faster than average growth for preschool teacher positions from 2006-2016. This will come as more states seek to improve the quality of education for young children through more funding and universal preschool programs. With experience, a preschool teacher can be promoted to lead teacher and take charge of several classes. An experienced teacher can also become the director of the school or center.

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