Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5, who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach reading, writing, science, and other subjects in a way that young children can understand.
Preschool teachers prepare children for kindergarten by introducing concepts they will explore further in kindergarten and elementary school. They also plan and carry out classroom activities that promote different areas of child development, such as language, motor, and social skills.
Education and training requirements for early childhood educators vary based on settings and state regulations. Preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field; those with a degree in a related field must have experience teaching preschool-age children. In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
The median annual wage for preschool teachers was $28,570 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $51,990.
Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The number of preschool-aged children is expected to increase; however, their share of the overall population should remain constant.