Preschool Teacher: Career Outlook for Preschool Teachers

Published Sep 10, 2009

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Preschool teachers help children develop their language, behavioral and cognitive skills during their pre-kindergarten years. Preschool teachers should have a background in early childhood development or a similar area, and they must be licensed to teach in public preschools.

Preschool Teacher Career Summary

Preschool teachers are early childhood development professionals who work with kids as young as two years of age. Children learn to develop beginning skills in language, vocabulary, socialization, math and science through activities led by preschool teachers. These teachers work in preschools, and sometimes daycare centers, across the country. Music, games, books, computers and art are among the tools that preschool teachers use to educate their students.

The U.S. requires that all public school teachers be licensed, including preschool teachers. Preschool teachers working in private schools do not necessarily need a license to teach. Typical licensing for preschool teachers enables them to teach preschool and grade school, up to third grade. Additional credentials include the Child Development Accreditation (CDA) and certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). One example of an NBPTS certification is the generalist certificate in early childhood education.

Schedules for preschool teachers are typically part-time. Many teachers will also have two months in the summer off, working 10 months during the school year. Preschool teachers spend their summers either working part time in another area or teaching a summer program, if available.

Preschool Teacher Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2008, the median salary for a preschool teacher was $23,870 ( Advanced positions for preschool teachers include lead teacher or preschool center director. Additionally, preschool teachers who also teach higher grade levels may receive higher salaries.

The BLS reported that jobs for preschool teachers would increase heavily between 2008 and 2018. However, the BLS cites high turnover as one of the main reasons contributing to the forecasted number of job openings. On the other hand, the number of children at preschool age has been steadily decreasing, reports the BLS, and such a trend will taper some of the job growth.

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