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Career profile Preschool Teacher

Also known as Child Development Teacher, Early Childhood Teacher, Group Teacher, Infant Teacher, Montessori Preschool Teacher, Nursery Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher (Pre-K Teacher), Preschool Teacher, Teacher, Toddler Teacher

Preschool Teacher

Also known as Child Development Teacher, Early Childhood Teacher, Group Teacher

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$21,900 - $58,230 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Instructing
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Education and Training
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Teach basic skills, such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, or social skills, to preschool students with special needs.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students' varying needs, abilities, and interests.
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What does a Preschool Teacher do?

Preschool Teachers instruct preschool-aged students, following curricula or lesson plans, in activities designed to promote social, physical, and intellectual growth.

What kind of tasks does a Preschool Teacher perform regularly?

Preschool Teachers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Teach basic skills, such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, or social skills, to preschool students with special needs.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students' varying needs, abilities, and interests.
  • Provide a variety of materials and resources for children to explore, manipulate, and use, both in learning activities and in imaginative play.
  • Serve meals and snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
  • Attend to children's basic needs by feeding them, dressing them, or changing their diapers.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress and to determine their priorities for their children.
  • Assimilate arriving children to the school environment by greeting them, helping them remove outerwear, and selecting activities of interest to them.
  • Organize and lead activities designed to promote physical, mental, and social development, such as games, arts and crafts, music, and storytelling.
  • Identify children showing signs of emotional, developmental, or health-related problems and discuss them with supervisors, parents or guardians, and child development specialists.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by administrative policy.
  • Observe and evaluate children's performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Read books to entire classes or to small groups.
  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects, and communicate these objectives to students.
  • Teach proper eating habits and personal hygiene.
  • Demonstrate activities to children.
  • Arrange indoor and outdoor space to facilitate creative play, motor-skill activities, and safety.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Enforce all administration policies and rules governing students.
  • Prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help.
  • Confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons that promote learning, following approved curricula.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.
  • Organize and label materials and display students' work.
  • Prepare reports on students and activities as required by administration.
  • Collaborate with other teachers and administrators in the development, evaluation, and revision of secondary school programs.
  • Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, contests, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.
  • Meet with other professionals to discuss individual students' needs and progress.
  • Supervise, evaluate, and plan assignments for teacher assistants and volunteers.
  • Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.
  • Administer tests to help determine children's developmental levels, needs, or potential.
  • Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.

The above responsibilities are specific to Preschool Teachers. More generally, Preschool Teachers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Training and Teaching Others
Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

What is a Preschool Teacher salary?

The median salary for a Preschool Teacher is $31,930, and the average salary is $36,550. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Preschool Teacher salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Preschool Teachers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Preschool Teachers earn less than $21,900 per year, 25% earn less than $26,220, 75% earn less than $42,350, and 90% earn less than $58,230.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Preschool Teachers is expected to change by 18.4%, and there should be roughly 59,600 open positions for Preschool Teachers every year.

Median annual salary
$31,930
Typical salary range
$21,900 - $58,230
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
18.4%

What personality traits are common among Preschool Teachers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Preschool Teacher are usually higher in their Social and Artistic interests.

Preschool Teachers typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Preschool Teachers typically have strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Preschool Teacher tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Preschool Teachers very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Preschool Teachers moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Preschool Teachers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Preschool Teachers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, self-control, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Preschool Teachers, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Preschool Teachers need?

Preschool Teachers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Preschool Teachers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Preschool Teachers

  • 1.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 12.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.5% completed some college coursework
  • 13.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 35.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 15.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Preschool Teachers

Preschool Teachers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as education and training, public safety and security, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Preschool Teachers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Preschool Teachers

Preschool Teachers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Preschool Teachers need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech clarity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Preschool Teachers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Originality
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Preschool Teachers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Preschool Teachers frequently use skills like speaking, instructing, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Preschool Teachers, ranked by their relative importance.

Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Instructing
Teaching others how to do something.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Learning Strategies
Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.