How Much Do Preschool Teachers Make?

Do you enjoy being around young children? Are you a patient person and a natural leader? Read on to learn how much preschool teachers earn and what factors affect their wages. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

As a preschool teacher, you'll help educate and watch over children who are 3-5 years old. You'll be expected to interact with an entire classroom at one time, but when necessary, you'll give individual attention to each student.

Your end goal is to prepare your students to enter kindergarten. To do this, you need to create appropriate curricula that will help the students grow intellectually and socially. Along with social and emotional development, you'll also work to help them refine their motor skills and speech. Other topics you might cover include science, social studies, creative arts and reading. You'll be the first school-affiliated representative to go over these topics with students, so you'll provide a crucial role in their development.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), preschool teachers (except special education teachers) earned a mean annual income of $30,750 as of May 2012 ( The BLS reported that the top ten percent of preschool teachers made $48,660 or more each year, while the bottom ten percent of earners took in $18,090 or less annually.

Salary by Industry

The industry that employed the greatest number of preschool teachers was day care services, which had an annual mean wage of $26,610 in May 2012, according to the BLS. Average annual wages for other popular employers included $43,930 for elementary and secondary schools, $29,850 for individual and family services and $32,040 for religious organizations.

Elementary schools were the top-paying industry for preschool teachers, while junior colleges came in second with an annual average wage of $39,800. Residential facilities focused on intellectual and developmental disability, mental health and substance abuse employed only 160 preschool teachers, but this industry had a high average wage of $38,610. Educational support services paid $36,960 on average.

Salary by Location

According to May 2012 BLS salary figures, states paying the highest average wages included New York ($40,010), New Jersey ($36,820), Alaska ($34,240), Vermont ($34,140) and Michigan ($33,690). The lowest-paid preschool teachers in the country made average salaries of $21,900-$25,900, and they worked in states that included Montana, Ohio, North Carolina, Utah and Mississippi.

California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois had high preschool teacher employment levels in May 2012. Average wages were $33,640 in California, $33,010 in Texas, $26,480 in Florida and $28,950 in Illinois.

Salary by Credential

January 2014 salary data from showed that preschool teacher salaries varied by certification and degree level. While those with an associate's degree earned $14,635-$34,687, teachers with a bachelor's degree made $16,020-$41,320. Those with teacher certification made $17,936-$48,287. Those with the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential made $13,458-$43,362.

Job Outlook

The BLS reported that preschool teaching positions were expected to grow 17% from 2012-2022. A gradual increase in preschool-aged children was anticipated to temper the growth of jobs over the 10-year period. A bachelor's degree may lead to better job prospects, according to the BLS, and having certification can also be beneficial.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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