What Does A Preschool Teacher Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Preschool Teachers

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

Salary
$36550
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

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

  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students’ varying needs 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, and changing their diapers.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children’s progress and needs, determine their priorities for their children, and suggest ways that they can promote learning and development.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Preschool Teachers plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate. They enforce all administration policies and rules governing students.

A typical day for a Preschool Teacher will also include:

  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Serve meals and snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
  • Assimilate arriving children to the school environment by greeting them, helping them remove outerwear, and selecting activities of interest to them.
  • Read books to entire classes or to small groups.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Preschool Teachers also attend staff meetings and serve on committees as required. They may also select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Preschool Teachers collaborate with other teachers and administrators in the development, evaluation, and revision of preschool programs. They might also attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.

In addition, they prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them meet with other professionals to discuss individual students’ needs and progress.

To some Preschool Teachers, it is also their responsibility to confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Very High

61% said they were satisfied with their job and 73% said they found their job meaningful.


Kayleigh MacLean
Tiny Hoppers

In any childcare program, an educator has a schedule and a program that they need to adhere to. However, anyone who has worked in childcare knows that really, it’s more of a child-led environment. One has to be able to go with the flow, as much as they’re able to keep order.

We start the mornings with a healthy snack, followed by a teacher-directed art or sensory activity. Then we try to play outside as much as we can!

Back inside for lunch and nap, then wake-up time and another snack.

We end the day outside as parents come to pick their children up.

And in between all of that, there’s crying and tantrums and laughing and tickles and bo-bo’s and “No Thank You”’s and “Yes Please”es. There are diaper changes and teething rings, there’s programming and sanitizing and cleaning and caring… There are a million and one things to do in a day, but with the right team and a positive attitude, as well as a fierce desire to love and care for these babies, the days go by in a flash 😉

Cons

As with any job, there are pros and cons to working in childcare. Often the cons are having to overextend oneself in order to provide a full and enriching program for the children. Any teacher can admit that they take their work home with them sometimes. Having to program after work hours because there is just never enough time in a day. But that comes with the territory. That comes with being a caring and dedicated educator. Someone who loves their job despite the difficulties.

Pros

And the pros are so rewarding. Having a child connect with you. Trust you. Look to you for solace when they are feeling lost and overwhelmed in a strange new environment. It warms your heart. Helping to teach these little beings how to function in the world, and watching them grow and flourish, it’s a feeling that can barely be described. I’ve heard countless times that it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher. And it’s true, it does.

Kayleigh MacLean
Tiny Hoppers


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to follow routines.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$36550 per year

Average hourly wage

$18 per hour

Entry-level Preschool Teachers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $21,900 to $26,220 per year or $11 to $13 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $58,230 $28
Senior (Top 25%) $42,350 $20
Median $31,930 $15
Junior (Bottom 25%) $26,220 $13
No experience (Bottom 10%) $21,900 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Preschool Teachers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Elementary and Secondary Schools $50520 $24.29
Business Schools and Computer and Management Training $47080 $22.64
Junior Colleges $45910 $22.07
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $41420 $19.91
Religious Organizations $39770 $19.12
Educational Support Services $39300 $18.90
Other Schools and Instruction $38680 $18.60
Local Government $38450 $18.48
Management of Companies and Enterprises $37320 $17.94
Social Advocacy Organizations $37160 $17.86

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Preschool Teachers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Preschool Teachers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Child Day Care Services 248180 $32190 $15.48
Elementary and Secondary Schools 72630 $50520 $24.29
Individual and Family Services 11980 $36860 $17.72
Local Government 8490 $38450 $18.48
Religious Organizations 8000 $39770 $19.12
Civic and Social Organizations 4940 $35450 $17.04
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 2830 $41420 $19.91
Other Schools and Instruction 2370 $38680 $18.60
Social Advocacy Organizations 1930 $37160 $17.86
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 1300 $35210 $16.93

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
52%

40 hours
33%

More than 40 hours
15%

Working schedule

100%

0%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
16%

Every day
12%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
21%

Every day
7%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
1%

Every day
72%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
41%

Once a year
24%

Once a month
1%

Once a week
9%

Every day
25%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
34%

Slightly competitive
18%

Moderately competitive
19%

Highly competitive
21%

Extremely competitive
7%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
15%

Once a year or more
2%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
83%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
78%

Once a year or more
9%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
5%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
36%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
32%

Every day
28%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
77%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
9%

Every day
14%

How to become one

Preschool Teachers typically need at least a Bachelor’s Degree but some Head Start programs may only require an Associate’s Degree. Almost all preschools require Preschool Teachers to have a degree or certification in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Some states require Preschool Teachers to obtain certificates in teaching, CPR, and first aid.

Learn more about how to become a Preschool Teacher.

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
29%

Post-Secondary Certificate
10%

Some College Courses
12%

Associate’s Degree or similar
12%

Bachelor’s Degree
17%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
8%

Master’s Degree
12%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Child Care and Support Services Management

A program that focuses on the provision and management of child care services and that prepares individuals to plan, design, and manage child care facilities and programs that meet children's developmental needs and interests and that provide safe and healthy environments. Includes instruction in child development and psychology; home- and institution-based child care; identification of diseases, injuries, and psychological trauma and applicable referrals; parent relations; personnel and business management principles; and related laws and policies.

Child Development

A program that focuses on the intellectual, social, emotional, and biological development of children and the planning and design of related human services. Includes instruction in parent-child relations, parenting practices, special needs of children, parental and environmental influences on child development, external support services, and related public policy issues.


Teaching French as a Second or Foreign Language

A program that focuses on the principles and practice of teaching French to students who are not proficient in French or who do not speak, read, or write French, and prepares individuals to serve as teachers and administrators.

Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language/ESL Language Instructor

A program that focuses on the principles and practice of teaching English to students who are not proficient in English or who do not speak, read or write English, and that may prepare individuals to function as teachers and administrators in such programs.

International Teaching and Learning

A program that prepares individuals to teach in schools that are implementing or proposing to implement the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Includes instruction in culturally-responsive classrooms, cross-cultural awareness, foundations of international education, human learning, human development, international teaching and learning, and pedagogy.


Early Childhood Education and Teaching

A program that prepares individuals to teach students ranging in age from infancy through eight years (grade three), depending on the school system or state regulations. Includes preparation to teach all relevant subject matter.

Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching

A program that prepares individuals to teach students in formal settings prior to beginning regular elementary school, usually ranging in age from three to six years (or grade one), depending on the school system or state regulations. Includes preparation to teach all relevant subject matter.

Waldorf/Steiner Teacher Education

A program that prepares individuals to teach students at various grade levels according to the pedagogical principles and methods developed by Rudolf Steiner and his followers.


Montessori Teacher Education

A program that prepares individuals to teach students at various grade levels according to the pedagogical principles and methods developed by Maria Montessori and her followers.

Teacher Education, Multiple Levels

A program that prepares individuals to teach students at more than one educational level, such as a combined program in elementary/secondary, early childhood/elementary, elementary/middle school, or junior high/high school teacher education.

Bilingual and Multilingual Education

A program that focuses on the design and provision of teaching and other educational services to bilingual/bicultural children or adults, and/or the design and implementation of educational programs having the goal of producing bilingual/bicultural individuals. Includes preparation to serve as teachers and administrators in bilingual/bicultural education programs.


Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
16%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
18%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
33%

2 to 4 years
14%

4 to 6 years
3%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
30%

1 month
35%

1 to 3 months
8%

3 to 6 months
15%

6 months to 1 year
4%

1 to 2 years
8%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
29%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
38%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
81%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
100%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
48%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
29%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
67%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
52%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
43%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
90%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
52%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
62%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz