Preschool Teacher Job Description
Preschool teachers instruct preschool aged children (3-5) in activities designed to promote their social and academic development.
Teachers in preschools play a critical role in preparing children for success in elementary school. Their curriculums are designed to inspire creativity and imagination, while teaching children the basics of vocabulary, math, geography, and science.
They often use methods like storytelling, rhyming games, and songs to create lessons that their students can easily remember.
Preschool teachers are also responsible for keeping parents informed about their child’s development. Because the environment at school is much different than it is at home, preschool teachers are able to provide valuable feedback on areas where their children excel or need improvement.
Additional responsibilities for preschool teachers include:
- Evaluating the performance of each child.
- Establishing and enforcing behavioral rules.
- Attending children’s basic needs.
- Establishing objectives for all lessons and projects, and arranging classroom space to encourage creative play.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most preschool teachers work in day care centers, but there are also many opportunities available in public and private schools, as well as religious organizations that run preschool programs.
The working schedule varies depending on where you choose to work. Teachers employed in daycare centers work year round, while those in the public and private school systems usually receive a couple months off in the summer.
In public and private schools, preschools normally operate between 9 am and 3 pm. Daycare centers open earlier and remain open later to accommodate parents’ work schedules.
Overtime is rarely required for preschool teachers, and they enjoy one of the most stable work schedules of all teachers.
How to Become a Preschool Teacher
The requirements for preschool teachers vary depending on position and the state you’re working in.
In public school systems, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is preferred.
In daycare centers, preschool teachers are normally required to have a high school diploma and a certification in early childhood education.
If you’re interested in pursuing a certification, there are a couple options available to you. The National Child Care Association offers a Child Care Professional certification, and the Council for Professional Recognition offers a Child Development Associate certification.
Both certifications are nationally recognized, but you should check with your local school system to learn the exact requirements for schools where you live.
There are currently 456,800 preschool teachers in the United States, with 23,240 new preschool teacher job openings created each year.
Preschool Teacher jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Preschool Teacher Salaries
Preschool Teacher salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most preschool teachers make between $20,700 – $35,600 per year, or $9.96 – $17.11 per hour.