There is a great deal involved in preparing to become a preschool teacher. Training and education for these professionals must include instruction in childhood behavior as well as teaching methods in order to ensure one’s success in working with toddler-aged students.
Early Preparation in High School
While in high school, those who wish to become preschool teachers can benefit from taking child development courses. It can also be a good idea to take four years of common core classes such as history, English, science and math. First aid and childcare classes are sometimes offered outside of school by agencies such as the American Red Cross, and these can be beneficial as well. Practical experience can be gained by working as a teacher’s aide prior to graduation. Summer internships at a day care center or preschool can also be helpful.
Early Childhood Education Degree: Associate of Arts
Many times, preschool teacher education involves completing an Associate’s degree in early childhood education. While studying for this degree, students will take courses such as child development, instructional design and classroom management and behavior. This degree can take up to two years to complete, and some classes can also be taken online. It can cost between $2,865 and $8,595 for tuition each year, with books running an additional $400 to $700 annually.
Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
A Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will allow teachers to concentrate in areas such as special needs or infant and toddler education. One of these degrees can take four years to complete unless an Associate’s degree is earned first. In that case, it will normally take two years to finish. A few of the classes that are usually mandatory include effective teaching practices, foundations of education, general education and demonstration teaching methods. Some time may also be spent in an actual classroom setting working as a teacher’s aide.The cost of tuition and fees can be between $29,130 and $42,000, with books costing an additional $800 to $1,400 per year.
Child Development Associate Credential
Forty-six states require preschool teachers to earn a child development associate credential (CDA). The right combination of preschool teacher training and education is required in order to qualify. It requires 480 hours of experience providing child care, and 120 instructional hours in early childhood education. This does not necessarily require an individual to obtain employment first, as many colleges require students to work as teaching assistants before they graduate. A student’s time spent in a classroom while doing so can be credited toward the minimum required hours. The fee for obtaining this credential is a one-time charge of $325.
A path to becoming a preschool teacher involves multi-faceted training and education, which becomes especially beneficial when working in this capacity. While earning the CDA credential, preschool teachers develop confidence and patience while also honing their communications skills. The development of these attributes helps to ensure one’s success in this very important career field.