Preschool Teacher Certification and Certificate Program Info

Learn about a certificate program designed for those seeking to become a preschool teacher. Find details about admission requirements, courses taken in the program and continuing education options for graduates. Read about professional certification, as well as salary and career outlook information for preschool teachers.

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Essential Information

Most certificate programs available for aspiring preschool teachers are in the area of child development. They teach prospective preschool teachers to communicate basic educational principles to children under five years of age. These programs also teach them about basic fundamentals of music, reading, physical activities and social skills that can be passed on to preschool-aged children.

Certification requirements for preschool teachers vary from state to state. Many require that preschool teachers complete a degree program in order to gain the certification to teach, while others require only a high school degree and completion of a preschool teacher certificate program. An internship may also need to be completed to satisfy certification requirements.

Education Prerequisites

Most certificate programs in preschool teaching and child development only require applicants to have a high school diploma to enroll. High school grades and transcripts are often taken into consideration.

Program Coursework

The courses in a preschool teacher certificate program focus on both child development and general education. Some typical examples include:

  • Child growth and development
  • Principles of teaching
  • Health and nutrition
  • Working with toddlers
  • Children with special needs
  • Diversity in the classroom
  • Art and early education
  • Creative activities for children
  • Stress and education

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

There were approximately 456,800 jobs held by preschool teachers in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Of these, about 58% worked in child day care services that might require the completion of a certificate program and 15% worked in schools, per the BLS. The expected growth rate for preschool teacher jobs is 25% from 2010-2020, which is faster than the average expected growth rate (BLS). In 2012, the BLS reported the median wage for a preschool teacher at $27,130 per year.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

All preschool teachers must gain certification before being allowed to teach and look after children aged five and under. Each state has different requirements and standards for certification, ranging from completion of a certificate program to completion of a 4-year undergraduate degree.

Some states only require preschool teachers to have a high school diploma and a national Child Development Associate credential in order to gain certification. For example, in California students must complete at least 24 hours of child development courses, as well as a few general education courses in a certificate program in order to gain a California Child Development Permit. Most states also require that individuals complete some type of supervised internship or practical experience component before gaining certification.

Individuals who wish to continue their education above a preschool teacher certificate program may consider an associate's degree in early childhood education or bachelor's degree programs in child development or early childhood education.

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