Preschool is where learning and imagination begin and develop. Teaching children ages 3-5 means preparing them for a lifetime of learning. Being a preschool teacher means you need to have patience, passion, and the will to help children be the smartest, best individuals that they can possibly be. Teaching young children basic skills and concepts takes a nurturing and caring soul. The job can be exhausting both physically and mentally, but the reward of seeing growth in the children you teach is worth it for so many in the end. So, how do you become a preschool teacher?
Becoming a preschool teacher varies depending on which state you reside in. There are basics though that are necessary across the country. First, you need at least a high school diploma. After that, a degree or certification in early childhood education may be necessary. This is great because it certifies you to teach preschool through third grade. If you plan on teaching at a public preschool, you will likely be required to have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
So, here’s a list of steps on how to become a preschool teacher:
- Obtain a high school diploma or your GED
- Earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education
- Complete a student-teaching internship in an active preschool classroom
- Take your state’s required tests for a preschool teaching certification and apply for a teaching certificate
- Earn a license/accreditation in states where required
- Apply to open preschool teacher positions
It is not always necessary for a preschool teacher to have a four-year degree, but those who do will be more likely to obtain a job, will be more likely to get paid a higher salary, and will likely have more opportunity for advancement. Plus, having a degree in early childhood education allows you to teach a broader range of children, allowing you to explore other teaching options if you simply cannot find a preschool job opening.
The great thing about college this day in age is that you can obtain a four-year degree both online and on-campus so you can fit it into your schedule more likely than not. So, don’t feel that a four-year degree means that you have to move to a big college campus, but you definitely can if you want. Going into education gives you a huge range of college options.
Keep in mind that preschool teachers who are required to obtain a state license in order to work may have to complete continuing education classes to keep their credentials current. State requirements differ though, so make sure to keep up to date on what your state requires.
In order to teach children basic skills and concepts, it is important that you are educated yourself. Being a preschool teacher can be hard work, but so rewarding. If you love working with kids and seeing their education grow, then preschool teacher would be a wonderful career path for you. Being college educated will put you in a better position as a preschool teacher, though it is not always necessarily required. Getting a college degree is very flexible nowadays; you can do it from your couch or in an actual classroom setting. Becoming a preschool teacher will take a lot of persistence, but helping children learn and grow will make everything worth it in the end.