How to Advance (Advancement)
Preschool teachers usually work their way up from assistant teacher, to teacher, to lead teacher—who may be responsible for the instruction of several classes—and, finally, to director of the center. Those with a bachelor's degree frequently are qualified to teach kindergarten through grade 3 as well. Teaching at these higher grades often results in higher pay.
Preschool teachers, except special education, held 457,200 jobs in 2008. They are most often employed in child day care services (65 percent), and public and private educational services (15 percent). Employment of teachers is geographically distributed much the same as the population.
Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow faster than the average through 2018. Job prospects are expected to be excellent due to high turnover.
Employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Continued emphasis on early childhood education is increasing the demand for preschool teachers. Some States are instituting programs to improve early childhood education, such as offering full day and universal preschool. These programs, along with projected higher enrollment growth for preschool age children, will create new jobs for preschool teachers.
However, this growth will be moderated by slower growth in the number of children aged 3 to 5, the age group most often enrolled in preschool programs. In addition, these workers are often assisted by child care workers and teachers assistants and higher demand for these workers may temper growth for preschool teachers.
High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for preschool teachers. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Many preschool teachers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation to fulfill family responsibilities, to study, or for other reasons. Others leave because they are interested in pursuing other occupations or because of low wages.
Median annual wages of preschool teachers were $23,870 in May 2008; the middle 50 percent earned $18,840 to $31,430; the bottom 10 percent earned less than $16,030 and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,660.
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