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How do you become a certified preschool teacher?

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To become a certified preschool teacher, a high school diploma is necessary, as is a degree in Early Childhood Education. While pursuing the degree, it is helpful to find a job working with children, such as a teacher's assistant, or volunteer in a childcare setting in order to gain experience working in a classroom. Some states require additional certification that must be maintained throughout the teacher's career.

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A bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education is required to teach preschools based in public schools and Head Start centers. This degree gives the teacher an overview of child development and psychology, as well as health, nutrition and safety. To earn certification, those with bachelor's degrees must take and pass state certification exams.

For individuals without a degree in Early Childhood Education, Child Development Associate certification is required. Candidates for a CDA must have a high school diploma and at least 480 hours working with children in some capacity. A total of 120 additional hours must be spent in a childcare education setting. Those with CDA certification must take continuing education classes to maintain it.

Certified preschool teachers in public schools and Head Start centers must keep their teaching licenses current by participating in professional development classes. All teachers, regardless of their degrees, must be first-aid certified and gain a membership into an organization for childcare professionals.

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