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Preschool Teachers - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Preschool teachers usually work their way up from assistant teacher, to teacher, to lead teacher—who may be responsible for the instruction of several classes—and, finally, to director of the center. Those with a bachelor's degree frequently are qualified to teach kindergarten through grade 3 as well. Teaching at these higher grades often results in higher pay.

Employment
Preschool teachers, except special education, held 457,200 jobs in 2008. They are most often employed in child day care services (65 percent), and public and private educational services (15 percent). Employment of teachers is geographically distributed much the same as the population.

Job Outlook
Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow faster than the average through 2018. Job prospects are expected to be excellent due to high turnover.

Job Growth
Employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Continued emphasis on early childhood education is increasing the demand for preschool teachers. Some States are instituting programs to improve early childhood education, such as offering full day and universal preschool. These programs, along with projected higher enrollment growth for preschool age children, will create new jobs for preschool teachers.

However, this growth will be moderated by slower growth in the number of children aged 3 to 5, the age group most often enrolled in preschool programs. In addition, these workers are often assisted by child care workers and teachers assistants and higher demand for these workers may temper growth for preschool teachers.

High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for preschool teachers. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Many preschool teachers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation to fulfill family responsibilities, to study, or for other reasons. Others leave because they are interested in pursuing other occupations or because of low wages.

Earnings
Median annual wages of preschool teachers were $23,870 in May 2008; the middle 50 percent earned $18,840 to $31,430; the bottom 10 percent earned less than $16,030 and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,660.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education (ECE) is a pedagogical approach to cover the education of children from the period from birth to six years of age. Although early childhood education does not have to occur in the absence of the parent or primary caregiver, this term is sometimes used to denote education by ...more
Education
In North America the degree is awarded for courses taken that generally last two years (one year in some Canadian universities). To gain the qualification the student is required to have a previous or substantial progress towards a bachelor's degree, usually in the field that the student wishes to teach ...more
Teacher Education
A teacher's professional duties may extend beyond formal teaching. Outside of the classroom teachers may accompany students on field trips, supervise study halls, help with the organization of school functions, and serve as supervisors for extracurricular activities. In some education systems, teachers ...more