Most people assume there is a high demand for teachers in all areas, but the overall trend is slowing. Many professionals are securing teaching credentials as a hedge against unemployment in their chosen careers, according to Teaching There are still some areas of teaching, however, that show a promise for future job growth, and one of these is the position of preschool teacher.

What Makes this Teaching Career More In-Demand?

In 2006, there were 437,000 preschool teachers in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 23 percent growth in the profession adding 115,000 jobs before 2016. One reason for the growing need for preschool teachers is the current emphasis on increasing learning outcomes for underprivileged and underserved populations. In many states, that translates into newly-created programs, following the tradition of “Head Start”, which can improve access to early education for all groups. Another reason for the growth is the burgeoning population of children in this age group and the increased expectations that parents have for their children’s’ success. Whatever the reason, the government foresees a growth in this career.

What Do Preschool Teachers Do?

An article in US News and World Report says that preschool teachers use simple curriculum to “assess the social and mental development “of the students in their charge and prepare them for entering kindergarten. While the teaching tools are crayons, markers, story books and blocks, preschool children learn concepts of math and increase their vocabularies through playing and interaction with their teachers. Most of the children in preschool are three to five years old, but preschool teachers are typically trained to work with children from birth to eight years of age.

As preschool teachers prepare children, and their parents, for the long educational path ahead, they must be able to communicate effectively and caringly. A preschool teacher’s communication skills need to span a range of ages; from the ability to explain basic concepts to children to having to discuss potential learning challenges with parents. Preschool teachers must also be able to work with peers, as they often have classroom assistants who require direction on a daily basis.

What qualifications do preschool teachers have?

Another reason demand is projected for this position may be the education requirements to become to preschool teacher. While some teaching positions require no more than basic education training and certification, preschool teachers are typically required to have an associate’s degree or higher in Early Childhood Education plus work experience in a child care setting. Most teachers must be licensed, and the requirements for licensing vary state-by-state. In a time of increasing post-secondary education costs, this may account for the projected demand in this career.

The median salary for preschool teachers is $27,130 per year, or $13.04 an hour. That is below many other teacher salaries. Still, people who love working with children will find a lot of job satisfaction in a career as a preschool teacher.