How to Become a Preschool Teacher (2023)

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How to Become a Preschool Teacher

Would you like to make a real difference in shaping the lives of children? Do you enjoy being a role model and teaching kids about the world around us? Then you should consider becoming a preschool teacher.

Preschool teachers enjoy great flexibility in where they work—from public schools to daycare centers to churches and beyond. They also have days that are unique and centered on learning and fun. But most importantly these teachers are able to impact their students’ personal, social, and academic well-being at such a crucial stage in their brain development. Early childhood education is crucial for these students, and teachers in a pre-k setting are able to help their students thrive.

As a teacher of pre-K students, you truly impact your students’ future, which is why it’s such a rewarding profession. Read this guide for a complete preschool teacher job description, including core responsibilities, how much these teachers are paid, and how you can transition into this respected and meaningful career.

How to Become a Preschool Teacher (2)

What Is a Preschool Teacher?

Preschool teachers use imaginative methods to encourage early childhood education, engage their young audience, and prepare them for the structure of their K–12 education. They employ a seemingly simple curriculum to assess the mental and social development of their students, and they help these children and their parents prepare for the school years ahead. Most preschool teachers work with kids ages three to five, but they can be trained to work with children from infancy up to the age of eight. This early childhood education is critical, which is why the job description of this kind of teacher focuses on helping develop their minds.

Some of the ways preschool teachers differ from K–12 educators are:

(Video) How to Become a Certified Preschool Teacher

  • They can work earlier or later than traditional K–12 school hours.
  • They follow a basic learning curriculum, but they don’t assign or grade homework.
  • They use arts and crafts to progress academic skills instead of textbooks.
  • They use story and play time to teach problem-solving and encourage social development.

Essentially, being a preschool teacher requires more tactical, hands-on learning. And it also necessitates more patience—which is why many pre-K educators teach mindfulness in their classrooms.

What Does a Preschool Teacher Do?

A good job description for a preschool teacher is that you’ll teach critical language, social, and motor skills to children who have yet to enter kindergarten. Early childhood education focuses less on specific knowledge levels, and more on overall skills that children need.

Kids under the age of six learn best from playing, experimenting, and problem-solving. So you’ll need to work fun into your daily lessons. Some creative ways preschool teachers do this is through using rhyming games or sing-alongs to teach vocabulary, building blocks to introduce basic math skills, and group projects to develop social IQ.

Your day-to-day duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Implementing a curriculum covering the many areas of child development, including both educational and behavioral skill sets.
  • Teaching colors, shapes, letters, and numbers recognition.
  • Introducing children to the wonders of the world around them through activities that explore varying interests and develop investigative skills.
  • Working with students one-on-one or within groups, depending on the subject matter and your students’ needs.
  • Using schedules and routines to give students structure, and making sure to incorporate sufficient physical activity and rest.
  • Monitoring students for any emotional or developmental warning signs and notifying their parents.
  • Reporting on each child’s development, including their interests, routines, aptitudes, and overall progress.

As with all teachers, you’ll interact with kids from diverse socioeconomic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Thus, it is beneficial to teach and incorporate tolerance so your students can learn how to value one another’s differences.

How Do I Become a Preschool Teacher?

Although some facilities require only an associate degree, most preschool teachers today have their bachelor’s in educational studies,early childhood education, or a related teaching discipline. Many states also require pre-K teachers to complete a teacher prep program, pass state or national exams, and earn their teaching licensure or certification.

If you’re currently working and can’t afford to take time off to earn a bachelor’s degree, getting your teaching degree online is a great option. Accredited universities like WGU enable you to complete coursework when and where you have the time. WGU’s respected teachers college also prepares you for taking teaching exams and getting your licensure.

Other credentials that are helpful to have if you’d like to work in early childhood education include:

  • Child Development Associate (CDA)—This credential must be renewed every three years and requires experience in the field, a written exam, and an in-practice observation with children.
  • Certified Childcare Professional (CCP)—This accreditation typically takes one year to complete, but it includes a self-study process where you can work at your own pace and potentially finish it faster.
  • Work experience—In some states, you’ll need work experience in a childcare setting to get hired as a preschool educator. This can include working as a teacher assistant or within a childcare or daycare environment. Time spent as a professional nanny or au pair can be helpful, too.

Best Degree for Preschool Teachers

Educational Studies – B.A.

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare...

These online, non-licensure educational studies...

These online, non-licensure educational studies degrees prepare you to make a difference in a field that interests you.

(Video) HOW TO BECOME A PRESCHOOL TEACHER | Teach without a degree!!

Based on your career goals and interests, you can choose an educational studies program in one of 10 content areas that meets your needs while working toward employment in school settings, corporate training, or instructional design. These programs do not lead to a teaching license.

  • Time:Completion time varies depending on the specialty track you choose.
  • Tuition and fees:$3,575 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this special education degree program often include:

  • Elementary Education
  • Elementary and Special Education
  • Mild to Moderate Special Education
  • Secondary Biology Science Education
  • Secondary Chemistry Science Education
  • Secondary Earth Science Education
  • Secondary Physics Education
  • Middle Grades Science Education
  • Secondary Mathematics Education
  • Middle Grade Mathematics Education

Students in this program will be prepared for careers including:

  • Instructional support
  • Community outreach
  • Training
  • Education staff (museums, learning centers, etc.)
  • K-12 opportunities that do not require a teaching license

How to Become a Preschool Teacher (3)

Teachers College

More Details Apply Now

Elementary Education – B.A.

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary...

An online teacher certification program for...

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary teachers.

Leads to teacher licensure. Specific grade levels will vary depending on teaching certification in your state.

  • Time: 60% of grads earned this degree within 36 months.
  • Tuition:$3,575 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this program often include:

  • Aspiring elementary school teachers who currently lack a teaching license
  • Substitute teachers
  • Career-changers
  • School paraprofessionals
  • Others who feel the call to teach

This elementary education degree program includes courses in the foundations of teacher education, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core teacher education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and pedagogy.It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching. This online teaching degree program helps you to be eligible for teaching certification in any of the 50 states.

How to Become a Preschool Teacher (4)

Teachers College

(Video) BEFORE YOU BECOME A PRESCHOOL TEACHER.... (what you need to know) |Gracekelley

More Details Apply Now

Next Start Date

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

Apply Today

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Learn about online college admissions at WGU.

(Video) Tips Every New Teacher Needs to Know When Teaching Young Children

How to Become a Preschool Teacher (5)

What Skills Does a Preschool Teacher Need?

In addition to your degree and on-the-job experience, you should have the following soft and hard skills to be an effective pre-K or preschool educator:

  • Calm, friendly, and relaxed temperament. School can be a new nerve-racking experience for young preschoolers. They need a safe, calming environment to feel comfortable learning. Creating a stress-free learning zone can help students rise above anxiety and focus on learning and social skills.
  • A balance between being a creative and critical thinker. It can be difficult to keep preschoolers engaged. Creativity combined with critical thinking is key.
  • Excellent communication, instructional, and mediation skills. A lot of your job as a preschool teacher will be maintaining order in the classroom and helping children when they get frustrated with each other. Be patient and help them communicate.
  • Solid knowledge of child development principles and preschool education methods. Knowing the right teaching methods for a younger age group can help you reach each student where they are in terms of their development and attention spans. You should be familiar with best teaching practices for the ages of the children in your class.
  • Familiarity with classroom safety and sanitation guidelines. Kids spread germs. And unlike adults, their immune systems aren’t always as developed or strong. Keep your classroom clean and sanitized.
  • CPR/AED certification. It’s not uncommon for younger children to have medical issues or allergic reactions. They may be too young or frightened to ask what’s in certain foods. Be certified to help if a student has a medical emergency.
  • Exceptional patience and stamina. Though it’s incredibly rewarding, being a preschool teacher can also stretch you mentally and emotionally. Be patient and take some time for yourself so you can stay fresh and present for your students.

The ability to be both organized and flexible. Things won’t always go as planned, so you should be able to think on your feet and make adjustments on the fly. Stay calm, stay organized, and roll with the punches.

How Much Does a Preschool Teacher Make?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a preschool teacher is $31,930 in May 2020. Your education and where you work greatly influence your pay. For example, working as a pre-K teacher in a private elementary or public school pays, on average, over $18,000 more per year than working at a daycare center.

What is the Projected Job Growth?


The demand for preschool teachers is set to grow at an astounding rate of 18% from 2020 to 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the rate of growth for most other occupations. Interest in early childhood education is on the rise and parents are looking for good preschool options for their children.

Do I Need a Degree to Be a Preschool Teacher?


You will most often need at least an associate degree and the proper licenses and certifications to be a preschool teacher. Check with your local state for the most accurate information on requirements. Many teachers today hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, particularly if they work at a private school or elementary school.

Interested in Becoming a Preschool Teacher?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

(Video) How to Become a PreSchool Teacher at a Private School

View degree programs


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.

How do I become a successful preschool teacher? ›

Advice for a New Preschool Teacher
  1. Be prepared and organized. ...
  2. Establish a regular routine and schedule. ...
  3. Be an explorer. ...
  4. Get to know every child as a unique individual. ...
  5. Become a keen and regular observer. ...
  6. Keep your sense of humor close by. ...
  7. Be yourself. ...
  8. Experiment.

How do I prepare for a preschool teacher interview? ›

Five Questions Asked at Every Teaching Interview
  1. “Tell me about yourself.” ...
  2. “If I were to walk into your classroom during an early literacy or math activity, what would I see?” ...
  3. “How do you plan to communicate with families?” ...
  4. “What makes you the best candidate for this position?” (“Sell yourself!”)

What are 5 skills you need as an early childhood educator? ›

5 Essential Skills for an Early Childhood Educator
  • Patience. Children go through different stages of learning. ...
  • Communication. Young children aren't always good at expressing themselves or effectively communicating—that's why ECE teachers need to be excellent communicators. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Enthusiasm.

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 pre school teacher? ›

I have a strong understanding of the subject matter and I am able to communicate that knowledge to students in an engaging way. I can also provide real-world examples to help students understand how what they're learning can be applied in real life.

What skills do preschool teachers need? ›

Important Qualities
  • Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good communication skills to tell parents and colleagues about students' progress. ...
  • Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young students. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Organizational skills. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Physical stamina.

Is it hard to be a preschool teacher? ›

The hardest part of being a preschool teacher is often working with the children, even though being able to help kids learn is why you're interested in starting this career. While it is absolutely rewarding, and kids can be funny, smart, and sweet, they have their bad days just like anyone else.

How do you handle misbehavior in the classroom? ›

How to Reduce Misbehavior in the Classroom
  1. Plan blocks of time.
  2. Plan for disruptions.
  3. Engage with your students.
  4. Have a good environment conducive to learning.
  5. Respect your students.
  6. Avoid zero-tolerance discipline.
Oct 3, 2022

What are the 10 most common teaching interview questions and answers? ›

More prep = less chance of a flub.
  • What are your strengths as a teacher?
  • What's your biggest weakness as a teacher?
  • How do you interact with parents?
  • Why did you leave your last teaching (or other) job?
  • What's your educational background?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • How do you handle classroom management?

How do you win a teaching interview? ›

Bring a Teaching Portfolio

Don't forget to act like yourself, remain calm, and maintain good eye contact with every person in the interview room. Be accurate and truthful in the responses you give to each interview question.

What is your greatest strength in childcare? ›

Strengths As a Child-Care Worker
  • Nurturing Abilities. Teaching kids how to interact with others is an integral part of a child-care worker's responsibility and is best achieved by serving as a positive role model. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Vigilance. ...
  • Physical Stamina.

What skills can I bring to childcare? ›

Top 5 Resume Skills For Childcare Workers
  • Excellent Communication And Listening. It is important for you to maintain age-appropriate communication skills for children of a variety of ages and learning abilities. ...
  • Self-Control And Patience. ...
  • Compassion. ...
  • Energy And Perseverance. ...
  • Nutritional Knowledge And Hygiene.

What knowledge do you need to work in childcare? ›

They should have effective skills in consultation and negotiation, and be able to summarise and explain information or choices to children, young people and their carers. They need to understand how effective communication works and be aware of confidentiality, ethics and respect.

What are the key responsibilities 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 are three things preschool teachers should do? ›

Support interactive play with peers.

Praise children's responses so that you motivate children to continue learning their new language. Encourage adults who speak children's native language, including families, to volunteer in the classroom and interact with children in their home language throughout the day.

What should I say in a preschool interview? ›

Don't just talk about yourself! List your strengths by talking about how they relate specifically to the position or organization you're interviewing with (for example: "I'm great at working with children who are struggling," or "I'm good at coming up with creative ways to engage young children").

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.

How do you introduce yourself in a teaching 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.

What's the best part of being a preschool teacher? ›

Here are five reasons to pursue this rewarding career path.
  1. Early Childhood Education is a Growing Field. ...
  2. You Will Support the Personal, Academic and Social Development of Children. ...
  3. You Will Be a Role Model to Young Children. ...
  4. Every Day is Unique. ...
  5. You Have a Passion for Early Education.
Feb 13, 2019

What is the biggest challenge of being a preschool teacher? ›

1. Children (so many children!) Managing a room full of young children can be delightful, but it can also be hard and can drain a lot of your energy. The day-to-day challenges you will face can range from dealing with difficult behaviors to crying and cranky children.

What is challenging about being a preschool teacher? ›

The daily challenges of teaching preschoolers include dealing with difficult behaviors like tired, cranky children. Not all children learn at the same pace. Some children may have learning challenges that require special attention. Sometimes children struggle with being away from their parents.

How old are most preschool teachers? ›

39 years old

How do you deal with students who don't listen? ›

How to Get Your Students to Listen Without Yelling
  1. Train Students to Listen for a Certain Sound Other Than Your Voice. ...
  2. “Harry Wong-It” All Year Long. ...
  3. Allow Chances to Earn Whole-Class Rewards. ...
  4. Give Students More Voice. ...
  5. Turn Up the Engagement and Fun Factor.

How do you control a class without yelling? ›

10 Ways to Get Your Students' Attention Without Yelling
  1. Set and Maintain High Expectations. ...
  2. Establish Regular Routines. ...
  3. Get Quieter, Not Louder. ...
  4. Reset Technique. ...
  5. Install a Wireless Doorbell. ...
  6. Use Call and Response or Clap Back Technique. ...
  7. Use Classroom Lights. ...
  8. Stand in the Middle of the Room.

How do you deal with a disrespectful child in the classroom? ›

Here are a few behavior management strategies those working with oppositional students can implement to avoid power struggles.
  1. Intervene at the first sign of trouble. ...
  2. Address student in private. ...
  3. Plan ahead. ...
  4. Be clear about rules, expectations, and consequences. ...
  5. Remain calm. ...
  6. Praise positive behavior.

What are the 4 teaching styles? ›

4 Elementary Teaching Styles
  • Instructor-Focused Teaching. Instructor-focused teaching—the approach to education that involves a central figure guiding the learning experience—is probably the most well-known teaching style. ...
  • Student-Focused Teaching. ...
  • Student-Led Teaching. ...
  • Collaboration-Driven Teaching.
Nov 18, 2022

Why do you want to work in childcare interview answers? ›

Example: “Ever since I volunteered to participate in educational activities for children at my local library, I have wanted to help take care of children. I see the potential of being a positive influence in their lives and helping them learn in an age-appropriate manner.”

What not to say in a teacher interview? ›

Lack of Response:
  • Don't just answer interview questions with a short, no value response. Interviewers want you to tell them what a great candidate you are and what an excellent teacher you would be for them. ...
  • It is important that you sell yourself to the interviewer.

What is a weakness for a teacher interview? ›

So as a recap, the four answers that you can give when being asked, what are your greatest weaknesses, are, I focus too much on the details, I've got a hard time saying no sometimes, I've had trouble asking for help in the past, and I have a hard time letting go of a project.

What do teachers look for in interviews? ›

Some of the qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate are competence, confidence, enthusiasm, coherence, thoughtfulness, and perhaps a sense of humor. Once you get the call, it's prep time.

What motivates you in childcare? ›

Witness children growth and development

It's an opportunity to watch children grow and develop into confident, self-sufficient learners. For many childcare teachers in the field, it's the realization of a long-held ambition.

Why do you love working with children? ›

As people who work regularly with children, we are constantly reminded of many life lessons, such as enjoying life's simple pleasures, that it's good to be curious and take risks, to have fun and be different, and to not worry about what others think, among many many others.

What motivates you to become an early childhood educator? ›

Working in an ECEC service provides an opportunity to make a real difference in the way a child approaches learning for life. You also get to encourage, nurture and support positive outcomes in children's health, wellbeing and learning.

What are some weaknesses in childcare? ›

The challenges that people face when working in childcare
  • Not enough time in the day to do everything.
  • Too much paperwork.
  • Not enough time spent with the children.
  • Difficulty recruiting staff who are qualified.
  • Not getting enough support.
  • Difficulties in communicating with parents.
Mar 11, 2016

What do childcare employers look for? ›

Childcare settings will want you to demonstrate that you are keen to be involved in the development and learning of a child's life and that you have a professional and caring attitude towards this. They are looking for staff who are committed, energetic and understand the needs of both children and their families.

What are three important skills that childcare workers should have? ›

Important Qualities
  • Communication skills. Childcare workers need good speaking skills to provide direction or information effectively and good listening skills to understand parents' instructions.
  • Decision-making skills. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Physical stamina.
Oct 4, 2022

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

How do you answer why did you want to become a teacher? ›

A few common reasons people want to teach are:
  1. they love learning and being in a learning environment.
  2. teaching is a job with a lot of variety.
  3. teaching is a way of serving their communities.
  4. they like the creativity and independence teaching offers.
  5. they want summers off.
  6. they want to make a difference in people's lives.
Mar 27, 2017

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 do I want this teaching job? ›

By becoming a teacher you'll get job satisfaction that few will experience. Other than parents, teachers have arguably the biggest influence on a child's life. The visible results you'll see from pupils are guaranteed to send you home with a sense of pride!

What makes you a good fit for teaching job? ›

Sample Answer: I decided to become a teacher due to several reasons. One, I have a knack for learning new things and when you teach, you often get more lessons than you give. Two, I like being around young minds since their creativity and imaginative power is incomparable which also explains the former.

Why are you interested in this position? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

What are your three most important reasons for wanting to be a teacher? ›

Reasons to Become a Teacher
  • To Improve the Quality of Education. One reason to become a teacher is to impact the education system. ...
  • To Give Back to Your Community. One of the reasons for becoming a teacher is to contribute to your community in a meaningful way. ...
  • To Change the Lives of Students.
May 6, 2021

What inspired me to teach? ›

The best reason to be a teacher was that I wanted to have a positive, inspiring impact on children's lives. I achieved this by being kind, caring, empathic, passionate, and funny. These are great qualities that I learned in relation to my inspiration.

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.

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.


1. PRESCHOOL TEACHER VLOG: How I Became a Teacher
(Grace Kelley)
2. How to become an Early Years teacher
(Plymouth Marjon University)
3. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A TEACHER? (preschool, elementary, middle school, high school)
(J E A N N E L L E )
6. PRESCHOOL TEACHER Interview Questions and ANSWERS! (Preschool Assistant + Daycare Teachers)


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