Preschool Teacher Education Requirements & Qualifications (2023)

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The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. Unknown

Preschool Teacher Education Requirements & Qualifications (6)

Preschool is one of the only environments in school where the focus is on play and creativity, rather than intense curricular standards.

Preschool teachers use playtime and story time to:

  • Teach problem-solving skills
  • Encourage social development
  • Hone fine motor skills

Qualities of a Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers need to love children, be patient, and have a nurturing personality.

Their main goal is to participate in a child's growth and development, learn to understand and help their students, and to use a child's natural curiosity to develop a learning plan that is developmentally appropriate.

Preschool teachers need to create an atmosphere where risks can be taken and discoveries can be made all while maintaining a child safe environment.

Job Growth

Employment of preschool teachers has been expected to grow 17 percent between 2012 to 2022. This expected growth is due in part to the continued emphasis on the importance of early childhood education. In addition, there has been an increasing population of children between ages 3 to 5.

What are the Requirements for Teaching Preschool?

The education and training requirements for preschool teachers will vary from state to state.

At the minimum, most preschool teachers will be required to earn certification in first aid and child CPR as well as be able to pass a background check.

Child Development Association (CDA)

Some states require certification through (Child Development Association), if the prospective teacher has not finished their college degree.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) requires prospective preschool teachers to complete specific coursework related to early childhood education as well as relevant experience in the field. Teachers who do not have a college degree or teachers who have a degree in a field other than early childhood education can consider going this route.

Degree Requirements for Preschool Teachers

Head Start preschool programs and public schools require their preschool teachers to have a minimum of an Associate's Degree. Head Start programs must have 50% of their teachers hold at minimum a Bachelor's Degree.

As with public schools, preschool teachers should hold at least a Bachelor's Degree.

Requirements for private preschools may vary. Often times, an Associate's Degree or merely experience will suffice.

When completing a degree in Early Childhood Education, the prospective preschool teacher will take classes related to:

  • Behavior assessment
  • Classroom management
  • Teaching methods
  • Educational psychology
  • Methods on reading instruction.

Most education programs will require teaching experiences where the students will work directly in a classroom.

Prospective preschool teachers will be required to take and pass all classes related to their preschool certification and Associate's Degree.

Many Preschool Teachers earn a degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development.

Preschool Teacher by Degree Level

The tables and charts below break down the education level obtained as averaged across the U.S.

Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers

Degree LevelPercent (%)
Less Than High School Diploma2.0%
High School Diploma13.2%
Some College23.8%
Associate Degree13.7%
Bachelors Degree33.9%
Masters Degree12.7%
Doctorate Degree0.7%

Data taken from BLS Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2010-11 (

(Video) 5 Skills That Make A Great Pre School Teacher

Who Will My Students Be?

Preschool teachers, or Pre-K teachers, educate and care for children between the ages of three and five years old. These are children who are not old enough to enter kindergarten. Working with children in this age group can be very tiring but tremendously rewarding. Typical preschool students tend to be quite active and some may have difficulty communicating their needs effectively.

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What Does A Preschool Teacher Do?

Preschool teachers are responsible for the care and education of children between the ages of three and five.


Their curriculum is focused on a child's conceptual understanding of fundamental education through play and hands on experiences.

Preschool teachers educate their students by utilizing a child's play time and helping them further their language and vocabulary development.

Classroom Structure

Preschool classrooms will have varying levels of structure, but most will include small group lessons and one on one instruction throughout the day by using creative activities like music, art, and dance. Discussion and collaborative problem solving are normal characteristics of a preschool classroom. Many times a preschool classroom will have "centers" set up to give the children ample playtime and learning opportunities. These can include a science, art, music, dramatic play, and block areas.

Preschool Teacher Jobs & Job Description

Contrary to ‘child minding' preschool teachers have an important job shaping a child's relationship with others, himself, and the world. Preschool teachers help children build confidence, a sense of importance and inquiry about the world. While jobs do vary from state to state and between institutions, most preschool teachers have the following job traits:

  • Help students use play as learning
  • Help students develop their imagination with art, role play, and dolls
  • Help preschoolers develop better coordination
  • Help preschoolers have a healthy body weight
  • Teach students about nature
  • Help preschoolers master new motor skills
  • Model emotional regulation for preschoolers
  • Teach appropriate behaviors in a particular setting
  • Model understanding and response for behavior
  • Model clear rules
  • Model consistent expectations
  • Use positive discipline tactics
  • Help preschoolers develop positive relationships with each other and other people in their lives
  • Undergo pretend play with toddlers to help them synthesize the world
  • Teach emotional intelligence in a way that is practical and relevant
  • Teach and model behavior of strong readers and listeners
  • Show preschool students that reading is fun
  • Teach preschoolers how to make inferences about a story line
  • Teach preschoolers about cause and effect in a story
  • Teach preschoolers how to act in a classroom environment
  • Model how preschoolers should listen and concentrate in a classroom
  • Teach preschoolers how to use words instead of behavior to share feelings
  • Teach preschoolers about routines and activities that are linked to the school day
  • Teach preschoolers the foundations of literacy and numeracy
  • Advocate for preschoolers to get adequate amounts of rest
  • Model healthy food and eating behaviors
  • Help families identify potential developmental milestones
  • Help families access resources and supports for child development, should they be required
  • Assist families in completing developmental assessment at intervals for preschoolers
  • Undertake professional development whenever possible
  • Advocate for proper safety equipment - i.e. locks, latches, car seats - and safe behavior surrounding driving, bathing, and sleeping
  • Praise students to acknowledge their achievements using appropriate words and body language
  • Work in partnership with families to help preschoolers attain proficiency with life skills like getting dressed, using the toilet, and eating
  • Conduct all work activities in a timely and professional manner reflecting best educational practices

There are several career paths open for preschool teachers. Read on to discover more information about this field.

Where Can Certified Preschool Teachers Teach?

Preschool teachers work in:

  • Public and private schools
  • Childcare centers
  • Charitable organizations

Although many preschool teachers work the traditional school year consisting of 10 months, some work the full year depending on the school or the program.

Public Preschools

Many public elementary schools have public preschools on the school's campus. Typically, these preschools will be free or reduced for students and will be supported by federal and state funds. Public preschool programs will be governed by the US Department of Education, the state's board of education and by the local school district.

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Private Preschools

Private schools will charge tuition for a child to attend. They are typically governed by a private school board or organization. Private preschools are allowed to set their own standards for teachers and students.

If a prospective preschool teacher is interested in teaching at a private school, they should check with the school in which they wish to teach to find out specific criteria. Keep in mind that in order for a preschool to be accredited, they must be recognized by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). NAEYC accredits preschools according to health, safety, and education standards.

Head Start Centers

The Head Start program originated from efforts to combat poverty in America by providing children ages three to five years old with a variety of services.

Head Start focuses on the needs of the child and their family by providing health, education, social services, and parent-community involvement in one program.

Funding for Head Start comes from the state.

Preschool Teacher Organizations & Associations

What is the Salary of a Preschool Teacher?

Across the nation, beginning preschool teachers make between $27,455 ( and $32,000 ( a year. Preschool teachers generally do not require a Bachelor's Degree to work in public or private daycare environments. On average, preschool teachers who work in the private sector earn less than those who work in a public preschool. Many teachers enter the profession with starting qualifications and work to earn more education while gaining experience in the field of primary education, thus earning more money.

Read more about a Preschool Teacher's salary on our Salary page.

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Preschool Teachers

Salary (2019) and Job Outlook (2012 to 2020) by State

According to the published BLS data from 2019, the national average salary for Preschool Teachers is $34,650, with an estimated 431,350 being employed nationwide. Also, the job outlook growth projection from 2012 to 2020 is expected to increase by 17.4%.

StateProjected Growth (%)Avg Salary
New Hampshire14.8%$27,600
New Jersey3.0%$36,970
New Mexico17.1%$28,860
New York9.5%$43,650
North Carolina23.3%$25,530
North Dakota11.3%$26,680
Rhode Island7.2%$34,220
South Carolina16.7%$26,860
South Dakota15.2%$29,330
Washington, DC-$32,380
West Virginia-$28,640

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics ( for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

Salary (2019) By Largest Metropolitan Areas

AreaEmployedAvg Salary
Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach9,750$30,540
Birmingham, Hoover950$24,220
Albany, Schenectady, Troy930$33,360
Ann Arbor920$34,700
Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land9,120$39,290
Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers900$30,180
Johnson City90$38,500
Weirton, Steubenville90$42,900
Salt Lake City870$30,910
Spokane, Spokane Valley870$33,330
Durham, Chapel Hill860$30,230
Winston, Salem850$30,520
Lakeland, Winter Haven810$32,580
El Paso800$45,140

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics ( for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

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Why do you want to be a preschool teacher answers? ›

Example Answer:

“I have loved working with children my entire life. My first job was babysitting my neighbor and my love of educating and caring for children just expanded from there. Being a preschool teacher is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my professional experience.

What qualities do your possess to enhance your qualifications as an early childhood educator? ›

Patience, communication, and a love of young children are just a few of the qualities you'll need if you want to become an early childhood educator.
10 Qualities of Great Early Childhood Educators
  • Patience. ...
  • Passion for Teaching. ...
  • Love for Young Children. ...
  • Caring and Compassion. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Organization.
Aug 13, 2021

What skills are needed to be a preschool teacher? ›

9 preschool teaching skills
  • Organized. Any profession requires organization, but an educator has to be mindful of lesson plans, student work, school paperwork and any specialized educational plans a student may have. ...
  • Collaborative. ...
  • Laid back. ...
  • Creative. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Energetic. ...
  • Authoritative. ...
  • Empathetic.
Jun 24, 2022

What are the requirements to be a preschool teacher in Florida? ›

To become a preschool teacher in Florida, you must complete an approved teacher education program, which consists of a bachelor's degree or higher and all necessary requirements to become a licensed teacher in Florida, including a 10-week field experience in a preschool setting.

What are my strengths as a preschool teacher? ›

Patience, passion, flexibility, creativity, and compassion are only a few of the ways to describe the qualified teachers in Cadence's nurturing early learning environments.

What makes you the best candidate for this position preschool teacher? ›

Good Pre-K teacher candidates will be highly enthusiastic about working with young children. Be wary of candidates with low energy levels, as this role requires someone who can effectively handle a classroom of demanding, exuberant personalities.

Why are well qualified teachers important in preschool? ›

A well-trained teacher can cater to individual needs. They can identify each child's strengths and weaknesses and adapt their teaching methods accordingly. This ensures that each child can learn at their own pace and reach their full potential.

What skills knowledge and personal qualities does a good teacher educator need? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What are the key responsibilities of a preschool teacher? ›

Their main duties include teaching children about basic fundamentals, like numbers, color and shapes, helping children build their social skills and keeping the classroom clean and safe for all of the students and Teachers.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a preschool teacher? ›

Evaluates students' academic and social growth, keeps appropriate records and prepares progress reports. Monitor children's interactions and nurture cooperation and sharing. Oversee children in order to make sure they are safe. Cooperate with other teachers and administration staff.

What are the basic duties of a preschool teacher? ›

In this article we will identify ten of them and break down what they mean.
  • Teaching Your Children. ...
  • Being A Role Model. ...
  • Providing A Safe and Secure Environment. ...
  • Encouraging New Experiences. ...
  • Developing Social Skills. ...
  • Facilitating Communication. ...
  • Storytelling. ...
  • Managing Time and Routines.
Feb 19, 2021

What qualifications do you need to be a teacher? ›

What are the minimum entry requirements?
  • degree: you need a degree for all postgraduate teacher training programmes. ...
  • GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C / Grade 4.
  • GCSE Science at Grade C / Grade 4 applies only to those wanting to teach Primary or Key Stage 3.

What are the requirements for teaching? ›

You may follow one of two routes in becoming a teacher, namely: a four-year Bachelor of Education degree (B. Ed.); a three-or four-year Bachelor's degree, followed by a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Once completed, both routes lead to classification as a professionally qualified teacher.

What are the requirements to be a teacher in Florida? ›

To become a teacher in Florida, educators need a bachelor's degree and completion of a state-approved teacher-preparation program. Other steps include completing a criminal background check and passing examinations. These requirements ensure Florida's public school students learn from highly qualified educators.

What is my goal as a preschool teacher? ›

Preschool teachers help their students develop fine and gross motor skills daily. It is a crucial goal that enables children to feel confident as they advance their learning and skills. This builds morale and proficiency in simple tasks, such as feeding, grooming, and solving problems.

Why should we hire you as a teacher? ›

Your excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Your strong work ethic and dedication to students. Your innovative and enthusiastic approach to teaching. Your passion for helping students learn and grow.

How do you introduce yourself in a teacher interview? ›

Tips for Answering the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
  1. Choose where to begin chronologically & provide your education history. ...
  2. What skills or hobbies do you have to set you apart? ...
  3. Include highlights of your education experience. ...
  4. Let your personality shine.

Why do you think you are a good candidate for this position? ›

For example, you might explain that you are particularly motivated, or that you are known for going above and beyond for your employers. A second way to answer is to emphasize your unique skills. If you have skills that make you a strong candidate (especially if not many people have those skills), mention these.

How do you answer why do you think you are a good candidate for this position? ›

How to answer “why are you a great match for this role?”
  1. Highlight your relevant accomplishments. ...
  2. Emphasize your unique skill-set. ...
  3. Explain your personality and work ethic. ...
  4. Practice, but don't memorize word for word. ...
  5. Keep your answer concise. ...
  6. Use the most relevant examples. ...
  7. Focus on the value you have to offer.

What do you think you are a good candidate for this position? ›

Over the years, I have acquired relevant skills and experience, which I shall bring to your organization. I have also worked tirelessly on my communication abilities and teamwork skills, which I will put to use in my future career, which would be in your organization if I am selected for the position.

What are the five key responsibilities of an educator? ›

In this article, we would like to share the five main responsibilities and obligations of a childcare educator.
  • Build a trustable relationship with the Child. ...
  • Ensure Holistic Learning. ...
  • Prepare the Environment. ...
  • Assess the child's learning. ...
  • An Educator Must Ensure Ongoing Learning and Self-Development.
Feb 19, 2021

What is the most important role of an early childhood educator? ›

Early childhood educators dedicate their life's work to nurturing, educating and caring for young children. Only the most effective teachers and staff can ensure children in their care have the early experiences they need to be more likely to succeed in school, read on grade level and graduate on time.

What are the three main skills in teacher education? ›

Here are the top teaching skills:
  • Communication. A huge part of teaching is communicating information. ...
  • Patience. People learn at all different rates. ...
  • Creativity. People learn best when they're doing something fun and interesting. ...
  • Enthusiasm. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Dedication. ...
  • Conflict resolution. ...
  • Organisation.

What is most important for a teacher? ›

What is the most important for a teacher?
  • To maintain strict discipline in class.
  • To be punctual in class.
  • To remove difficulties of the students.
  • To be a good orator.

What qualities in you made you choose teaching as a profession? ›

People become teachers because they have a love for sharing knowledge and they want to instill confidence, self-worth, and a love of learning in them. This is even more true of special education teachers.

What should a highly qualified teacher be like? ›

The NCLBA defines “a highly qualified teacher as one who has (1) fulfilled the state's certification and licensing requirements, (2) obtained at least a bachelor's degree, and (3) demonstrated subject matter expertise.” Meeting these standards is very important in the process of becoming a highly qualified teacher.

What are the basic goals of preschool education? ›

One of the important functions of preschool programs is to help children acquire learning-related skills, such as the ability to express thoughts, adapt behaviours to situational demands, control impulsivity, show curiosity, remain concentrated and be socially competent.

How do I describe my preschool teacher on a resume? ›

How do you describe a lead teacher on a resume?
  1. Oversee children between 3-5 years old in one of four classrooms, preparing them for kindergarten.
  2. Communicate daily with parents in written and verbal forms.
  3. Mentor, support and coach the teaching fellow and teaching assistant in the classroom.

What is teacher job description? ›

Develops, plans, and implements curriculum, lesson plans, and educational programs for student audiences within areas of expertise. Advises, tests, and teaches students audiences in a variety of academic subjects. Presents and reinforces learning concepts within a specified subject or subject area.

How do you know if teaching is for you? ›

Do you love sharing knowledge with people and helping them to explore their own curiosities? Are you good at explaining things in a way that makes people feel encouraged to learn more? Does the idea of helping to shape minds excite you? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be a teacher in the making!

Do I need a degree to be a teacher? ›

What other qualifications will I need to become a teacher? While a degree is the highest qualification you'll need, you'll also be required to have GCSEs and be expected to complete an assessment of your English and mathematics fundamental knowledge.

How do I pass the Florida teacher certification exam? ›

To pass the GK exam, you'll need a scaled score of at least 200 on each of the three multiple-choice subtests (English Language Skills, Reading, and Mathematics) and at least 8 out of 12 points on the essay subtest. For more information about how your exam will be scored, check out our article on FTCE scores.

What are the requirements to become a PE teacher in Florida? ›

Physical education teachers (K-12) in Florida must have a bachelor's degree in physical education or 30 semester hours of physical education classes. Teachers must also pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations in general knowledge, physical education, and professional education.

What are the requirements to be a teacher assistant in Florida? ›

In general, teacher's aides must meet one of three different requirements to obtain certification: hold an associate degree; have two years of college attendance; or provide proof, through a local academic assessment, of the capacity to assist in the teaching of reading, writing and math.

Why are you interested in being a preschool teacher? ›

Preschool teachers get to create entertaining, engaging, and creative classrooms that promote learning as well as social, cognitive, and emotional development. In fact, every day brings unexpected learning experiences when you become a preschool teacher.

Why do you like to be a preschool teacher? ›

There is a somewhat noble feeling that goes along with teaching preschool education. Knowing that you are taking care of the most vulnerable people among us, helping them learn and grow into responsible people – and keeping them safe – is a big responsibility. One that you will definitely feel good about.

Why do you like being a preschool teacher? ›

“I've loved my job because I help families understand the life and development of the young child, which helped the family as a unit,” Lepore explains. “Right now, I get deep satisfaction knowing that quality early childhood education can help a child develop strong self-esteem, problem-solving skills and independence.

Why do you want to be a teacher best answers? ›

"I want to become a teacher so that I can make a real difference in children's lives. I take the task of developing young people into kind, thoughtful and contributing adults very seriously. I have always been so grateful to my teachers and the educational system for making me the person that I am today.

What should I say in a preschool interview? ›

Preschool Teacher Interview Questions
  • Why did you become a preschool teacher? ...
  • If I entered your classroom, what would I notice? ...
  • What are your strengths as a preschool teacher? ...
  • How do you manage a classroom when children are disruptive? ...
  • How do you encourage teamwork among students?

How do you introduce yourself in an interview as a teacher? ›

Tips for Answering the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
  1. Choose where to begin chronologically & provide your education history. ...
  2. What skills or hobbies do you have to set you apart? ...
  3. Include highlights of your education experience. ...
  4. Let your personality shine.

How do you explain why you want to be a teacher? ›

Further information
  1. Inspire the next generation. By becoming a teacher you'll get job satisfaction that few will experience. ...
  2. A true vocation. ...
  3. A passion for the subject. ...
  4. A clear career path. ...
  5. Salary benefits. ...
  6. International opportunities. ...
  7. Job security. ...
  8. Great for families.


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