Certified Preschool Teacher Career and Certification

Learn how to become a preschool teacher. Read on to learn more about becoming certified for this career path, common job duties and education options. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Preschool teachers provide care and supervision for young children. They are also responsible for foundational education concepts and fostering social and emotional development among students.

Certification Some states require the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential
Responsibilities Teach young children, plan curriculum that meets child development needs, organize activities, develop classroom routines and schedules, keep record of students' progress
Salary* $28,990 median annual salary for preschool teachers in May 2017

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Can I Become a Certified Preschool Teacher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the education needed to become a preschool teacher varies depending on the state in which you will work. In some states, a high school diploma may be sufficient, while in others you may need to complete a certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree program in either early childhood education or child development. These programs can include coursework in areas like language development, nutrition, preschool management and child psychology.

A common certification for preschool teachers is the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. In order to earn a CDA, you must have a high school diploma and competency in areas like safety, health, guidance, professionalism and program management. You must provide evidence of 120 hours of training in the field of teaching young children, though this training doesn't necessarily have to be for credit. Applicants also need to have professional experience and undergo classroom observation by a CDA advisor.

What Will Does a Career as a Preschool Teacher Look Like?

As a preschool teacher, you will be expected to supervise, manage and care for young children. According to the BLS, you may also be expected to deal with issues of diversity, social development, motor skills and emotional development. You will be responsible for nurturing and advancing many educational concepts in young children, including:

  • Number and letter recognition
  • Colors
  • Basic math skills
  • Vocabulary skills

These concepts are often introduced through play exercises, group activities and crafts projects.

Job growth for preschool teachers is set to increase by 10% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. This is faster than the average job growth expected for all employment. In May 2017, the BLS reported the median annual salary for preschool teachers was $28,990 per year.

What Are My Online Options?

Various early childhood education and childhood development programs can be completed partially or completely online. Through distance education options like online lectures, examinations and courses, you may use the Internet to complete programs entirely from home. Online training and exam preparation classes for the CDA are also available.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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