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Early years teacher

Alternative titles for this job include Nursery teacher

Early years teachers are specialists in early childhood development and work with children up to the age of 5.

Average salary (a year)

£30,000 Starter


£47,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

32 to 40 variable

You could work

between 8am and 6pm on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Early years teacher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role


You'll need to get early years teacher status (EYTS) and meet the teachers' standards by completing a course in early years initial teacher training (EYITT).

There are several ways to do this:

  • study an undergraduate degree in a subject related to early childhood studies or child development, along with course placements
  • take an EYITT course after you finish your first degree
  • complete part-time teacher training, if you already have a degree and are working in an early years setting

You can also have your teaching skills assessed over 3 months to make sure you meet the teachers' standards. For this route, you must be a graduate with a lot of work experience across the 0 to 5 age range, and have knowledge of key stages 1 and 2 in schools.

Early years teacher status qualifies you to teach children up to age 5. If you want to teach older children, or teach in a primary school, you'll usually need to get qualified teacher status (QTS).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could work your way into this role by starting as nursery worker or teaching assistant and doing a part-time degree in childhood studies or child development.


You'll usually need experience of working with children and young people.

You can get this through:

More Information

Career tips

You can search for jobs in schools through the Teaching Vacancies service.

Further information

You can find out more about teaching in early years from Get Into Teaching and Early Years Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an early years teacher, you'll:

  • plan and prepare activities, materials and lessons
  • teach children in a safe and positive environment
  • speak to parents and carers about their children’s development
  • monitor children’s progress and report any issues
  • work with colleagues on curriculum planning
  • supervise nursery workers, teaching assistants and volunteer helpers

Working environment

You could work in a nursery or at a school.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

Once qualified, you could:

  • move into management of a nursery or group of nurseries
  • work as a supply teacher
  • do further training to become a primary school teacher or play therapist
  • move into teaching early years courses at university

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Early years teacher right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to HE Diploma (Teaching)

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: WIDNES

Access to HE Diploma in Primary Teaching

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: BROCKENHURST

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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