Qualifications needed to be a nursery teacher

Nursery school teachers, also known as preschool teachers, are generally responsible for managing classrooms of infants, toddlers and preschool-age kids. They care for the children as well as establish age-appropriate curriculum. Many preschool teachers possess associate or bachelor's degrees in early childhood development, while others have only high school diplomas. Nursery teachers work in a variety of environments, including childcare centres and childcare programs within public and private schools.

Educational Training

The specific educational requirements to become a nursery teacher are set by each state's Department of Education. However, some private schools may set their own standards for the qualifications of nursery teachers. Also, some states may require certain programs, such as Head Start, to adhere to certain Federal requirements for the staffing of preschool teachers. On the whole, most states require preschool teachers to possess early childhood certification. The standards to obtain an early childhood certification vary from state to state. Some states require only a high school diploma coupled with work experience or the completion of certain programs. Alternately, nursery teachers must obtain an associate or bachelor's degree plus experience in other states.


For the most part, nursery teachers need to be patient individuals. Because they work with children under the age of 5 years, they must generally possess nurturing dispositions. Nursery teachers spend the majority of their work days monitoring children and proactively assisting them with their activities. Nursery teachers must be able to oversee a wide range of activities that foster emotional and intellectual growth in the children they care for. They must also inspire and motivate children to learn and work cooperatively with their peers.


Early childhood professionals work directly with small groups of children, ranging in age from infants to age 4. They may also provide individualised educational instruction to children. Nursery teachers introduce preschool children to educational subjects such as reading, writing, vocabulary, art, science and social studies. Their curriculum focuses on certain developmental childhood phases that include motor skills, language and social growth.

Salary Range

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool teachers earn a yearly salary that ranges from £10,673 to £28,320. As of 2009, the median salary was £15,951. Additionally, the actual salary of preschool teachers depends on a variety of factors, such as work experience, the employer and the job location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reveals that job opportunities for preschool teachers were expected to grow by 2018.

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About the Author

Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.

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