Preschool teachers play a critical role in the education and development of young children.
They are responsible for creating a safe and nurturing environment where children can learn, grow, and develop social skills.
Preschool teachers must have a unique combination of skills and qualifications to be successful in their roles.
So What are the Requirements to be a Preschool Teacher exactly?
In this blog post, we will discuss the requirements to become a preschool teacher, including education, certification, and experience.
How Long does it take to become a Preschool Teacher
The amount of time it takes to become a preschool teacher varies depending on several factors, including the level of education pursued, certification or licensing requirements, and individual circumstances.
For those pursuing an associate’s degree in early childhood education, the program typically takes around two years to complete.
This includes coursework in child development, curriculum planning, and teaching strategies for young children.
Some entry-level preschool teaching positions may require only an associate’s degree.
Preschool Teacher requirements by State
|State||Education Requirements||Certification Requirements||Experience Requirements|
|California||Minimum of 12 ECE units or associate’s degree in ECE||Child Development Permit or Teacher Credential||At least 50 days of experience working in a licensed childcare center|
|Texas||High school diploma or GED||Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or associate’s degree in ECE||At least one year of experience working in a licensed childcare center|
|New York||Bachelor’s degree in ECE or related field||New York State Teacher Certification||At least 100 hours of experience working with young children|
|Florida||Associate’s degree in ECE or related field||Florida Child Care Professional Credential or National CDA Credential||At least one year of experience working in a licensed childcare center|
|Illinois||Associate’s degree in ECE or related field||Illinois Professional Educator License with ECE endorsement||At least 500 hours of experience working with young children|
|Pennsylvania||Associate’s degree in ECE or related field||Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or Pennsylvania Early Childhood Certification||At least two years of experience working in a licensed childcare center|
|Ohio||Associate’s degree in ECE or related field||Ohio Child Care Professional Credential or National CDA Credential||At least six months of experience working in a licensed childcare center|
Note: These requirements are subject to change and may not be exhaustive. Prospective preschool teachers should consult their state’s department of education for the most up-to-date information.
7 Basic Requirements to Become a Preschool Teacher
Preschool teachers typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although many employers prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
Some states and school districts require preschool teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, while others only require an associate’s degree. In general, the higher the level of education, the more opportunities and higher pay preschool teachers can expect.
Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
An associate’s degree in early childhood education is a two-year program that provides students with a strong foundation in child development, curriculum planning, and teaching strategies for young children.
The coursework includes topics such as child psychology, language development, and classroom management.
An associate’s degree is often the minimum requirement for many entry-level preschool teaching positions.
Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is a four-year program that prepares students for leadership positions in preschools and other early childhood education settings.
In addition to coursework in child development and teaching strategies, students learn about child advocacy, special education, and community outreach.
A bachelor’s degree is often required for preschool teaching positions in public schools and other government-funded programs.
Many states require preschool teachers to be certified or licensed to work in public schools or other government-funded programs.
Certification requirements vary by state, but typically include a combination of education, experience, and passing a state-administered exam.
Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is a nationally recognized certification for early childhood educators.
The CDA credential is awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition to individuals who demonstrate competence in working with young children.
To earn a CDA credential, candidates must have at least 120 hours of formal early childhood education training, 480 hours of professional work experience in a childcare setting, and a portfolio of their work with children.
Preschool teachers who work in public schools or other government-funded programs are typically required to have a teaching certification.
Certification requirements vary by state, but typically include a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, completion of a teacher preparation program, and passing a state-administered exam.
Experience requirements for preschool teachers vary depending on the employer and the specific job position.
Entry-level positions typically require little or no prior experience, while higher-level positions may require several years of experience working with young children.
Many preschool teachers gain experience by working in daycare centers, nursery schools, or other early childhood education programs.
Some also volunteer in schools or participate in internships to gain hands-on experience working with young children.
In addition to experience working with children, preschool teachers should have strong communication and interpersonal skills.
They should be patient, nurturing, and able to work collaboratively with parents, caregivers, and other teachers to create a positive learning environment for young children.
In summary, becoming a preschool teacher requires a combination of education, certification, and experience.
While the specific requirements vary depending on the employer and the state, most preschool teachers need at least a high school diploma or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
Many states also require preschool teachers to be certified or licensed, which may involve completing a teacher preparation program and passing a state-administered exam.
- Whitebook, M., Phillips, D., & Howes, C. (2014). Worthy work, unlivable wages: The national child care staffing study, 2014. Berkeley: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.
This study examines the educational qualifications and compensation of early childhood educators, including preschool teachers. The findings suggest that preschool teachers with higher levels of education and credentials tend to have higher salaries and benefits.
- La Paro, K. M., & Pianta, R. C. (2003). Quality of teacher–student interactions in kindergarten: Associations with ratings of classroom behavior. Journal of School Psychology, 41(5), 377-393.
This study explores the relationship between the quality of teacher-student interactions and classroom behavior in kindergarten. The findings suggest that preschool teachers with higher levels of education and training tend to have more positive and effective interactions with their students.
- Buell, M. J., & Cassidy, D. J. (2018). The impact of teacher certification on preschool classroom quality. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 43, 48-57.
This study investigates the impact of teacher certification on the quality of preschool classroom environments. The findings suggest that preschool teachers with higher levels of education and certification tend to have more developmentally appropriate and stimulating classroom environments.