How Many Hours Does a Preschool Teacher Work

Preschool Teacher: Job, Education, and Salary Information

Pre-K and preschool teachers are both valuable and meaningful. Preschool and PreK teachers play an important role in the lives and development of children aged three to five years old by helping them develop their interests in age-appropriate topics. They foster social interaction and foster creativity while also providing the foundational education necessary to help students start school successfully.


Preschool and prekindergarten teachers love working with young children. They have patience and empathy when working with students, and they love the unpredictable nature of young kids.

Job description for pre-K and pre-school teachers


Preschool teachers are trained to help children aged 2-5 years old in daycares, churches, Head Start centers, private schools, and other settings that focus on school readiness. They assist children in developing social skills and personal hygiene. Day tasks include dressing and changing diapers, coordinating play-learning, nap time, and dressing students. Preschool teachers can be flexible and creative, but they must also adhere to a schedule.


Pre-K teachers teach children aged three to five years old. Preparing students for kindergarten is the main goal of this level. Every day, students are taught basic skills such as pre-reading readiness and early mathematics.

Your typical pre-K activities could include:

  • Create daily lessons and activities; follow age-appropriate curriculum guidelines.
  • Provide meals: Students can have lunches or snacks according to school and district nutrition policies. Students are also able to help with cleanup after the meal.
  • Personal hygiene: Help students understand the importance of good personal hygiene habits such as eating healthy foods, washing their hands, dressing appropriately, and grooming.
  • Take roll, arrange seating plans and keep attendance records.
  • Enjoy activities: Lead and organize games, arts, crafts, and other activities that help students learn, work together, and expend energy.
  • Store supplies Select supplies such as arts and crafts, storybooks, and other learning tools. Keep supplies organized and assist students with returning and gathering supplies after each activity.
  • Storytelling Encourage students to share their stories with others in groups and give feedback.
  • Social Development: Help students to integrate and interact in groups, regardless of whether they are completing the curriculum, completing tasks, or participating in play activities.
  • Behavior problems: Discuss emotional issues with parents and guardians at parent-teacher conferences.
  • Staff meetings Attend staff meetings and collaborate with colleagues to plan curriculum development and track student progress.
  • Professional support Work with school staff such as psychologists, counselors, nurses, and even nurses who are experts in behavior management and early childhood development.
  • Teaching assistants Supervise teaching assistants and volunteers following school policies and procedures as well as federal and state equal employment guidelines.
  • Education Plans: Identify children who may have special needs and create Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs), for treatment if needed.
  • Progress reports – Evaluate work, keep student records, and give parents or guardians timely progress reports.
  • Evaluate students: Administer tests, formal assessments; assess students’ grade-level performance according to school and district policies; meet parents for a performance discussion.

Public pre-K teachers can work many hours depending on whether they are employed full or part-time. Pre-K teachers may work full-time and have separate classes for morning and afternoon. Preschool teachers who work full-time at daycare centers usually work eight-hour shifts, ranging from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Who are the best preschool and pre-K teachers?

Someone who is:

  • A clear communicator
  • Flexible
  • Understanding the importance of reinforcement practices
  • Be patient and understand
  • Ability to work with different learning abilities
  • Able to collaborate effectively
  • Working with children can help you feel more energetic
  • The complexity of childhood is celebrated
  • Stable and capable of handling stress

In-depth pre-K and pre-school teachers

Qualifications for education and certification

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Certification: Credential for Child Development Associate, state certification, or a teaching license.
  • The average study time is 2-4 years

Specific requirements must be met by pre-K and pre-K teachers

  • Completion of an approved education program
  • Pass the state/national competency exam(s).
  • Earn a state teaching license/certification

Preschool and pre-K teacher degrees often include special education, early childhood education, or child development. Other courses that may be completed include principles of child development, early childhood learning technology, educational and childhood psychology.

Pre-K and pre-K teachers are required to have a bachelor’s and certificate in a child development program.

Preschool teachers must have an education degree and initial certification to keep their license or credential.

After you have met the state’s requirements you can choose to work in either public or private schools. Private settings can include daycare centers or parochial schools. You may also have the opportunity to work with children at U.S. military bases, government agencies, and large private companies that offer daycare or preschool services.

To view the regulations in your state, visit our state by state teacher licensing and reciprocity page.

Pre-K and pre-K teachers: Salary range

Pre-K and preschool teachers’ salaries can vary depending upon the state, education, experience, and employment institution. The median annual salary of preschool and pre-K teachers in the United States is $29 780, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earn less than $20,610 while the highest 10% earn over $55,350. shows that the average salary for pre-K and preschool teachers varies by state, ranging from $21,287 up to $29,921.

Here’s a snapshot of the average salary for preschool teachers:

  • $27,435
  • $29,761
  • $28,973
  • U.S. News: $28,990

Employment projections

For a child’s intellectual and social development, early childhood education is crucial. Many states will need more pre-K and preschool teachers due to an increase in pre-K-aged children and the national movement towards universal pre-K programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pre-K and pre-K teacher employment is expected to increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028.

There are advantages and disadvantages


  • Young children’s lives transformed
  • Working with young students
  • Understanding for the first time
  • Playing to stay young
  • Learning from young minds is a great way to keep learning
  • Every day is different
  • Basic skills such as colors, shapes, letters, and numbers are taught


  • An unpredictable environment
  • Pay is low to moderate compared to other grades
  • Physically demanding: such as standing all day on your feet, bending down, lifting students.
  • Adults have limited contact
  • To keep your emotions under control and to maintain appropriate boundaries
  • Instructions require a lot of preparation time
  • Long, often unscheduled days that go well beyond school hours

Professional Development

Continuing education

It is vital to keep up-to-date at all levels. To maintain their pre-kindergarten and pre-K teacher licenses, they must take continuing education credits. Preschool and PreK teachers who are interested in graduate studies should search for programs that enhance their early childhood development expertise.

Additional professional development can also be provided through formal arrangements such as workshops, seminars, or conferences. You have many options for professional development, both in-person and online. For more information, visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Associations for professionals

These associations offer resources for teachers in pre-K and preschool classrooms.

  • Council for Professional Recognition Credential (CDA)
  • National Early Childhood Program Accreditation Credential (CCP)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Education Association
  • National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators
  • Association for Early Learning Leaders
  • Association for Childhood Education International
  • National Black Child Development Institute

Best of the Web

Pre-K and preschool teachers will find the internet a great tool to research, plan lessons, present, laugh, and share their knowledge.