How to Become a Preschool Teacher in New York

November 1, 2022

Teaching preschool is an incredibly rewarding career. Watching little minds learn and grow before your eyes, you’ll receive daily reminders that all of your hard work is worth it. And if you’re ready to become a preschool teacher in New York, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll dive into the types of preschool teachers, necessary qualifications, average salaries, and ways to increase your growth and income opportunities.

Step One: Choose Which Type of Preschool Teacher You’d Like to Become

Did you know there are several types of preschool teachers?  Not only are there lead teachers who have their own classrooms and assistants who support them, but there are also various settings to teach preschool in. The most common places of employment include schools, child care centers, and in-home preschools. Here are some of the ways that the locations differ from one another:

School-Based Preschool Teachers

When most people want to become a preschool teacher in New York, they picture themselves inside a school building, next to classrooms filled with older grades. These positions typically run by the school calendar, which often includes shorter days and summers off. They may need to follow state guidelines regarding what and how they teach in their lessons. Their students may come part-time, full-time, or a mix of both. Preschool teacher careers exist in public, private, and charter schools. Private and charter schools will have a bit more leniency toward curriculum than public schools. These careers will include roles with 3 and 4-year-olds in 3K and 4K.

Child Care Center Preschool Teachers

Childcare centers aren’t just for daycare — these establishments usually have highly-regarded preschool classrooms for the older students in their care. Your work may differ from public schools. For example, you could have a company-wide curriculum or lesson plan to follow. You also might work different hours, since centers are open for up to 12 hours per day. Children may come part-time, but most of your kids would be with you all day, every day. You would likely work year-round, with more of a focus on play-based learning and exploration during the summer months.

In-Home Preschool Teachers

In-home preschool teachers have the most flexibility. In this role, you are your own boss, so you can teach children in the best way you believe works. You set your own hours and yearly schedules, deciding whether you want to offer class year-round or only during the school year. You can include a wide variety of topics and field trips of your choosing, and you’ll also have more flexibility around outside time (which is essential for little children!). You can welcome part-time or full-time students, as well as in your preferred age range. You have the option to hire assistants or work on your own.

Step Two: Gain Education and Experience

Once you decide which type of preschool teacher you’d like to become, it’s time to make it happen. Below, we’ll look into the average qualifications needed to become each of the three types of preschool teachers.

School-based Preschool Teachers

If you want to work as a preschool teacher in New York public schools, you will need a four-year degree in Early Childhood Education from an accredited secondary institution. Your degree will include student teaching, but it’s a good idea to gain experience working with children outside of college as well. Consider working as a nanny, camp counselor, or assistant teacher.

If you have a four-year degree without a teaching license, along with plenty of teaching experience, you may be able to get a job as a preschool teacher in a private or charter school.

Child Care Center Preschool Teachers

In childcare centers, qualifications are often more lenient. It depends on the center, but the requirements may include a certain number of college credits in education or early childhood and a completed degree in any field. You will also need to have experience with children in some shape or form.

In-Home Preschool Teachers

In-home preschool teachers in New York need to be licensed. This includes an online orientation, application, home inspection, and registration. No education or specific experience is required, but anything child or education-based will increase the qualifications and desirability in the eyes of parents to choose your child care business.

As you work to become an in-home preschool teacher in New York, there are services available to you that can make the process painless and exciting. For more information, check out

You may also be interested in hearing how others accomplished this goal firsthand. Theresa Marino’s story, for example, is filled with both inspiration and concrete advice.

Step 3: Explore Opportunities for Growth and Increased Earnings

Thankfully, when you become a preschool teacher in New York, you will make more than the national average. The state average is $42,802 annually. But there are still a number of ways to increase your earnings. If you decide to work in a childcare center, you could eventually move to a director position.

One of the best ways to increase your responsibility and income as a preschool teacher in New York is to open your own in-home preschool. With Wonderschool, for example, the average annual salary is $67,307. That’s 63% more than the national average for preschool teachers, and it comes with the benefits of setting your own schedule and running your program the way you see fit. 

Since these are just averages, it may help to calculate your own earnings as a future in-home preschool teacher in New York.

If you’re ready to learn more about becoming an in-home preschool teacher while earning more money, visit Wonderschool Academy at


Featured image: In-home preschool teacher and director Evelina Vargas from Little Motivators Wonderschool in New York.

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