By industry, the lowest average salary for preschool teachers is $29,320 for those who work in child day care services, while the highest average salary hovers around $48,190 for those employed in schools as of May 2021. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on location, relevant work experience, licenses and certifications, and educational credentials.

Teachers of Tomorrow is committed to helping you become an educator. Part of this commitment is providing you with accurate and up-to-date salary information on teaching positions and roles. 

There’s no argument among child development experts and psychologists that the formative years are one of the most important phases of everyone’s life. Everything that a child experiences between birth to about 5 to 8 years old will more or less dictate what that child will become as an adult. It is a critical and fundamental development stage that requires the guidance of a strong and motivated preschool teacher. If you’re interested in becoming that person, you can learn more about the steps you need to take to become a preschool teacher.

What Is a Preschool Teacher? 

A preschool teacher is a trained professional who provides young children during their early years of development with the foundational skills necessary for their emotional, cognitive, and physical development. This includes teaching children basic social, motor, and language skills, as well as math, science, and other academic subjects or concepts, usually through games, songs, or other fun activities.

To do this, preschool teachers create nurturing and stimulating environments in a variety of settings where children can grow and foster a love of learning. Preschool teachers can be full-time or part-time, and, besides their core responsibilities, they also develop and implement lesson plans, monitor and evaluate the progress of the children, communicate with the children’s parents, and maintain the health and safety of the early childhood environment. 

Becoming preschool teachers requires patience, creativity, and a passion for helping young children grow. A degree in early childhood or its equivalent, along with obtaining the necessary state licensing and certifications requirements, is also typically required from anyone desiring to become a preschool teacher. 

A preschool teacher plays a critical role in a child’s early years of development. They create a nurturing and stimulating environment where children can learn and grow while also fostering a love for learning. In addition to teaching basic social, motor, and language skills, preschool teachers may also introduce children to math, science, and other academic concepts through games, songs, and hands-on activities.

Preschool teachers may work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, childcare centers, and community organizations. They may work full-time or part-time, and their responsibilities may include planning and implementing lessons, observing and evaluating children’s progress, communicating with parents or guardians, and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment.

To become a preschool teacher, one typically needs to obtain a degree in early childhood education or a related field, and fulfill any necessary state licensing or certification requirements. They should also possess strong communication skills, patience, creativity, and a passion for working with young children.

How Much Do Preschool Teachers Make?

How much a preschool teacher makes varies by state and the industry they’re in, but on average, preschool teachers make about $30,210 or around $14.52 per hour.

Other factors that can affect this include your years of work experience, any special qualifications or credentials you may have, such as having a Child Development Associate Credential, and your educational background. 

Here’s a simple graph to show the lowest and highest ranges for preschool teacher salaries:

preschool teacher salary national average.


What is the Highest and Lowest Paying Preschool Job?

By industry, the lowest average salary for preschool teachers is $29,320 for those who work in child daycare services, while the highest average salary hovers around $48,190 for those employed in schools. 

Here’s a simple chart showing industries offer the highest possible average salary for preschool teachers:

how much does a preschool teacher make by industry.


Preschool Teacher Salaries By State

The salaries we’ve provided so far refer to the average for the entire country. To give you a better perspective, here’s a table showing the average hourly salary by state, arranged from the highest to the lowest:

Rank State Average Hourly Salary
1 New Jersey $21.54
2 New York $21.10
3 Massachusetts $21.01
4 California $20.29
5 Nebraska $20.28
6 Maryland $19.75
7 Kansas $19.52
8 Hawaii $19.46
9 Kentucky $19.29
10 Vermont $18.84
11 Alaska $18.40
12 Georgia $18.34
13 Minnesota $18.21
14 Colorado $18.15
15 Maine $18.07
16 Washington $17.81
17 Connecticut $17.78
18 Texas $17.68
19 Missouri $17.54
20 Oregon $17.33
21 Michigan $17.28
22 Illinois $17.23
23 Rhode Island $16.90
24 Oklahoma $16.70
25 North Dakota $16.65
26 Nevada $16.12
27 New Hampshire $15.97
28 Arizona $15.83
29 Tennessee $15.71
30 Iowa $15.60
31 Pennsylvania $15.59
32 Arkansas $15.45
33 Utah $15.42
34 West Virginia $15.41
35 South Dakota $15.40
36 Ohio $15.40
37 New Mexico $15.35
38 Montana $15.21
39 Wisconsin $15.13
40 Louisiana $15.04
41 Indiana $14.84
42 Virginia $14.84
43 Wyoming $14.55
44 South Carolina $14.38
45 Florida $14.37
46 North Carolina $14.20
47 Delaware $14.02
48 Idaho $13.20
49 Mississippi $12.91
50 Alabama $12.11


How To Become a Preschool Teacher

Owing to its importance, the path to becoming a preschool teacher can be both a challenging and fulfilling undertaking.  This road can appear confusing at first because the steps and requirements needed vary by state and by setting or level, but it’s simpler than it sounds. 

Generally, most states require at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Where the variations and state differences lie are with the required courses you need to take, the number of units or semester hours you accomplished on certain subjects, and some specific certifications or licenses that you must have. 

A good starting point is to look at the state where you plan to become a preschool teacher. From there, you can simply check the state requirements for aspiring preschool teachers. Alternatively, you can always reach out to an experienced and accredited organization that provides educator preparation programs.