How to become a preschool teacher: The degree and skills you’ll need

August 01, 2023 · 4 min read · By ASU Online
If you’re beginning your career or are an experienced professional, there’s an online degree to support your path of becoming a preschool teacher. Discover the skills you’ll need, employment outlook and specific online bachelor’s or master’s degrees that’ll prepare you to succeed.

Teaching offers a number of rewarding daily responsibilities, such as interacting with children and helping them develop a love of learning that can last throughout their lives. Being there at the start of a child’s education is especially important and, as a preschool teacher, you get to be a student’s first teacher in a fun new environment.

Many individuals become preschool teachers because of their passion for teaching young children and the daily variety within a classroom setting. Since these students are at such a developmental stage, you are given the opportunity to overcome any challenges with your own unique styles of teaching through games and other activities.


The skills preschool teachers need

Preparing students for kindergarten and elementary school is a preschool teacher’s ultimate goal, but it’s equally as important to present information to the children in a way that can ignite a passion for learning. Playing, problem solving, questioning and experimenting are key in how children at that age learn. This means the biggest task for a preschool teacher is to plan and lead classroom activities that teach basic skills to prepare for elementary school in a way students will enjoy.

Across the country, conventional teaching methods have given way to more engaged, interactive forms of learning. One example that the Arizona State University community has become involved with is Early Years Educators at Play, or EYEPlay. EYEPlay is a professional development program teaching educators to promote physical movement and non-verbal responses, such as facial animations or drama, to further stimulate learning among young children. This type of lesson plan may be increasingly popular in a preschool setting, as EYEPlay has had successful results so far.

In addition to interactive learning, it’s also important for a preschool teacher to maintain an orderly learning environment and closely observe students during the day. As the first professional educator in a student’s life, a preschool teacher needs to monitor signs of emotional and cognitive development and keep parents aware of any changes.

Another primary component of the job is communicating with parents. As a preschool teacher, you’re responsible for student assessment and providing feedback to parents on each student’s performance and overall behavior. Having parent-teacher conferences allows you to fully inform parents about their child’s development and progress throughout the year.


Preschool teachers are in demand

Becoming a preschool teacher gives you the option to stay in the classroom with students throughout your career, or consider using your experience and educational background to pursue administrative roles in early childhood education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow much faster than average at 15% from 2021 to 2031. This is largely due to the increasing demand for early childhood education resulting from earlier enrollments in preschool.

Preschool teachers can work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, child care centers, charitable organizations and other licensed educational facilities. The pay offered by these institutions varies, as do the requirements for employment. This is especially true for different states, so contact your state department of education to understand your individual early childhood education requirements.


Prepare for a career as a preschool teacher with these degrees from ASU Online

Pursuing a career in early childhood education opens the door to a number of possibilities working with and supporting young children. Becoming an early development educator gets you involved on the ground level with children, introducing them to the fundamentals of learning.

ASU Online’s Bachelor of Arts in Education in educational studies with a concentration in early childhood teaches you the foundational ways young children learn and develop. This program is excellent for those interested in beginning your career in early childhood education and gaining professional experience. This program alone does not include teacher certification but it does provide you with a foundation to further your education for a master’s degree or an online teacher certification graduate certificate.

If you have childhood education experience and want to become a K-12 teacher, the Master of Education in early childhood education with teacher certification is a great opportunity to become a certified educator. In this program you’ll complete coursework in advanced areas of study such as policy advocacy, literacy and early childhood development research alongside your teaching certification. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in two hands-on internships and a student teaching placement in both pre-K and grade K-3 settings.

Everything you need to know about ASU Online classes and degree programs

We’ve compiled what you need to know about online classes and degree programs at Arizona State University. Read on to learn all about what to expect from the ASU Online learning experience.


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