Early Childhood Education

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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 Certification Requirements

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 $29,780 in May 2018. 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 $20,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,350.

Job Outlook

Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected due to a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education.

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