Preschool Teacher Certification: Requirements to Complete a Preschool Teacher Certification Course

Published Sep 07, 2009

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Preschool Teachers play an important role in young children's lives, assisting with their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development, which will prepare them for primary school and beyond. Licensure and certification requirements for preschool teachers vary according to employer and state.

Preschool Teacher Career Summary

Preschool teachers supervise young pupils and teach basic skills that prepare children for kindergarten. Art projects, music and games foster intellectual growth, teach social skills and encourage healthy habits. Preschool teachers create and follow lesson plans, working with parents and other teachers to meet each student's needs.

Knowledge and Skills Required to Become a Preschool Teacher

Education and training requirements for preschool teachers vary by employer and state. Someone interested in a career as a preschool teacher should consider an undergraduate degree in early childhood education, regardless of whether a future position may require one. A degree will give job seekers a competitive edge.

Some states require licensure, while others require only a certification. Many preschool teacher positions now require fluency in Spanish. O*Net ( lists other important skills for preschool teachers, such as active listening, reading comprehension, learning strategies, writing, speaking, time management, critical thinking, social awareness, instructing and monitoring.

Certifications Required to Become a Preschool Teacher

The most common certification for preschool teachers is the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. According to the Council for Professional Recognition,, the CDA is incorporated into the licensing regulations of 49 states and the District of Columbia.

To meet CDA eligibility, a candidate must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, have at least 120 hours of formal childcare education within the past five years and have at least 480 hours of child care experience within the past five years. Those who do not meet the eligibility requirements can enroll in the 1-year CDA Professional Preparation Program.

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