Georgia's public pre-K program is funded by the state's lottery income. This voluntary program for four-year-olds is free for all families, although some programs require students to pay for lunch. Georgia's legislators cut funding for the pre-K, to take effect for the 2011-2012 school year. One way they are cutting costs is by shortening the pre-K year from 180 days to 160, and increasing the number of students per classroom. Although this could reduce some teachers' salaries by up to 44 percent, some school districts are reallocating funds within their budgets to keep pre-K teacher salaries steady.
Georgia requires lead pre-K teachers to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a similar field. Also, lead pre-K teachers must be certified by the state's Professional Standards Commission (PSC).To become certified, print an application from the PSC's website and mail it to the PSC, along with a $20 money order. The PSC will mail you information on the next available certification exams. Once you take and pass the exam, the PSC will mail you your proof of certification. Most certifications must be renewed every five years.
Georgia's Bright From the Start program requires lead pre-K teachers to be paid a certain amount based on their qualifications. Teachers who meet the minimum requirements will start with a salary of at least $21,827 as of the date of publication. Those who are National Board Certified will receive at least $30,081 per year.
According to the Simply Hired website, the average salary for a Georgia pre-K teacher is $39,000 a year as of 2011. In comparison, other preschool teachers earn an average of $29,000 per year in Georgia.
In addition to their salaries, Georgia pre-K teachers receive full benefits, including subsidized health, dental, life and vision insurance; sick and vacation leave; paid holidays; and the ability to participate in the Teacher's Retirement System of Georgia. Some school systems also provide paid continuing education.