A preschool teacher colors with preschool students

How to Become a Preschool Teacher

Becoming a preschool teacher may not be a bad career to look into. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool teachers have an average annual salary of $31,420, with a projected job growth of 17% over the next decade. But do you get the wheels in motion to take on this profession? Let’s look at some of the steps involved when becoming a preschool teacher.

Find your fit.

There are many different types of preschools, and many of them have their own requirements for certification. Look into each and find out which one is right for you. Once you know where you see yourself working, it’s easier to start actively pursuing the path needed in order to get there. The most popular options are Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, HighScope, and Bank Street. Each type of preschool has its own set of expectations for instructors.

Build up your experience with children.

Seeing children in a variety of settings will help you be more impressive to employers. Try to volunteer in a position that has you working with children. This may even be outside of a preschool setting. If you could find a part-time or temporary job that puts you around kids, you’re off to a good start. To be an effective preschool teacher, you need to understand how children behave and how to manage them in an array of scenarios. The best way to build this knowledge is through experience.

Study early childhood education.

There are a lot of knowledgeable professionals out there who are more than willing to show you the ropes. If you don’t already have a college degree, consider majoring in early childhood education. This will get your feet wet so you can see if it’s really the right fit for you. Also, you will be able to learn valuable strategies for interacting with young ones. If you have a degree in another field, try to take some classes at a local community college. You will quickly see that the expertise you’ve earned in an unrelated area can come in handy.

Get certified.

While not all programs require it, many preschool teachers choose to earn their Child Development Associate (CDA). For your CDA, it’s required that you have experience studying education, but it isn’t necessary for you to have a degree in it. Some areas accept the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP), which is designed as an alternative certification method. Check around the preschools near you to see what is required in the setting where you see yourself working. Most certification programs can be completed entirely online.