Preschool teachers are responsible for fostering a child's development from age three to five years. The teacher plans and implements curriculum that focuses on social skills, motor skills and language development. A teacher uses games, books, artwork and music to teach preschool age children a variety of concepts. As of 2008, job growth for preschool teachers is expected to increase 19 per cent by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics. However, before launching a career as a preschool teacher, you'll need to complete the required education and training.
- Skill level:
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Earn an associate's degree in early education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each state has different laws that regulate preschool teachers. Some states require that prospective teachers earn an associate's degree in early education. Even if your state doesn't require it, employers will prefer this degree.
Complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Most preschools will require that preschool teachers complete CPR training. Check with your community college or the American Red Cross (see Resources) to find courses in your area.
Seek experience working with preschool age children. Employers prefer candidates with experience with preschool age children. Partner with your community college to find internship opportunities at local preschools. Volunteering at programs with your city's parks and recreation department is another option for getting hands-on experience.
Apply to preschool teaching assistant positions. Preschool teachers typically start out as an assistant teacher. After earning tenor with the school, apply for a preschool lead teacher position. Child care centres hire the most preschool teachers (employ about 65 per cent of preschool teachers), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, target private schools and government programs (such as Head Start).
Tips and warnings
- Earning a bachelor's degree or higher will provide more career opportunities and higher wages. For example, an individual with a bachelor's degree or higher may have an opportunity to become a director of the preschool centre.
- If you plan on teaching preschool at a Head Start Program, you'll need a degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2011 all Head Start teachers must have achieved at least an associate's degree.
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