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Grand Canyon University

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Purdue University Global

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Liberty University

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Bryant & Stratton College

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What Are the Education Requirements for Preschool Teachers?

Research the degree requirements to teach at a private preschool, state-run pre-K program or federally-funded Head Start program. Learn about the certification that might be required of preschool teachers at some early childhood education facilities.

Learn About Your State's Education Requirements for Preschool Teachers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that every state has its own rules regarding preschool teacher education requirements, and certain types of schools may set additional requirements (www.bls.gov). Typically, state and federally funded preschools require more education than private institutions do. At the very least, you'll need a high school diploma and some post-secondary education, and you may also need a license or certification of some kind.

You might be able to be a preschool teacher after taking just a few courses and earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition (www.cdacouncil.org). In some cases, an associate's or a bachelor's degree in early childhood education will be necessary, the BLS notes. Bachelor's degree programs often prepare you for teacher certification from preschool through third grade.

Degree RequirementsMost state and federally funded preschools require some coursework and CDA credential.
CourseworkBasic instruction in early childhood development, childhood growth, and behavior. Bachelor's degree programs prepare you for teacher certification in preschool through third grade.
Online OptionsFully online programs are rare as practicum experience is essential to the degree. Some online options exist for certified teachers wishing to add early childhood credentials to their license.
Median Salary (2018)$29,780 (for preschool teachers, except special education)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)10% growth (for all preschool teachers, except special education)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Programs Like?

CDA programs include basic instruction in early childhood development, including discussions about children's social and emotional growth. You'll also learn about safe learning and play environments. Associate's degree programs require about two years of full-time study. You'll take courses in childhood growth, behavior and development. You'll also learn how children acquire language and reading skills. In any preschool teaching educational program, you'll be required to observe and lead in a real classroom under supervision.

Bachelor's degree programs for preschool teachers prepare you to earn regular teacher certification and teach in preschool through third-grade classrooms in public schools. You'll take early childhood development courses, and you'll learn about educational assessment, language acquisition and inclusive education. You'll spend time observing and teaching in preschool, kindergarten and early elementary classrooms. Upon graduation, you'll be eligible to apply for teaching certification or licensure with your state.

Can I Learn Online?

As a preschool teaching student, you might be able to find a program that allows you to take some of your courses online, but these are rare. Online preschool teacher education programs are typically geared towards students who are already licensed teachers and want to get additional credentials to teach preschoolers. You'll still have to complete any required supervised practicum work in person.