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Preschool Teacher Salary & Career Outlook

Early childhood is widely accepted as being an extremely important period of development, and the care and educational experiences to which children are exposed during this time can have a big impact on their success later in life. As a preschool teacher, you work with young children, usually between the ages of three and five, by providing care and introducing basic concepts and skills through a variety of educational activities.

Employment Outlook and Job Prospects for Preschool Teachers

Between 2008 and 2018, the BLS projects employment of preschool teachers to grow by 19 percent, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. High turnover, new programs to improve early childhood education, and projected enrollment growth for children of preschool age are all factors that are expected to contribute to excellent job opportunities for preschool teachers in the coming years.

Preschool teachers can often work part-time schedules, and many preschools are only in session during the traditional school year with the summer months off. When school is in session, your workday duties may include:

  • Running small and large group activities that encourage learning through art, dance, music, and other creative outlets
  • Introducing foundational skills in phonics, numbers, and letter recognition
  • Fostering an awareness of nature and science
  • Encouraging healthy social habits through mediation of student interactions

Preschool Teacher Salary: 2009 Ranges and Other Information

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median annual preschool teacher salary in 2009 was $24,540, while those preschool teachers receiving the highest 10 percent of salaries in 2009 earned over $43,000 annually. Nationally, elementary and secondary schools with preschool programs pay their preschool teachers the most as an industry ($38,640 annually in 2009).

Several states in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the U.S. tend to offer the highest salaries to preschool teachers, ranging from $31,630 to $33,770 annually, according to the BLS. The highest-paying states for preschool teachers include:

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island

Two metropolitan areas in New Jersey--Ocean City and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton--boast some of the highest annual mean wages for preschool teachers, which came to $46,220 and $42,670, respectively in 2009, the BLS reports.

According to data from the BLS and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the following metropolitan areas have the highest salary to cost of living ratio:

  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas: ($45,950)
  • Owensboro, KY: ($44,850)
  • Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas: ($41,470)

Preschool Teacher Training: Online and Beyond

Due to widely varying state requirements regarding caregiver training, you may or may not be required to hold a college degree to land a job as a preschool teacher. However, a high school diploma is nearly always a prerequisite for these positions.

As an increasing number of employers are requiring some post-secondary coursework for preschool teachers, you may want to consider obtaining some preschool teacher training online from one of any number of online associate's degree programs in early childhood education or child development. This is a great way to gain a competitive edge in the job market and improve your earning potential by qualifying for advancement within your hiring institution.

Employment Outlook and Job Prospects for Preschool Teachers

Between 2008 and 2018, the BLS projects employment of preschool teachers to grow by 19 percent, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. High turnover, new programs to improve early childhood education, and projected enrollment growth for children of preschool age are all factors that are expected to contribute to excellent job opportunities for preschool teachers in the coming years.