Pre-K Teacher Training and Certification Requirements

Learn about training options for pre-kindergarten teachers. See what degrees are offered, and find out what courses you'd take. Review state licensing and certification requirements for this career. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Pre-K or preschool teachers must have knowledge of a variety of subjects so they can plan creative lessons to teach preschool children the basics of education. These prospective pre-K teachers may take courses in developmental psychology, art, history, math and the language arts. Preschool teachers evaluate their students' work, monitor their progress and build healthy interpersonal relationships with both the children and their parents.

Degree Options AA in Early Childhood Multicultural Education, AS in Early Childhood Education, BA in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in behavior management, BA in Psychology with a concentration in early childhood education
Training Pre-K teacher training programs may help train you for working with the government programs for early childhood education; Child Development Associate credentials may prepare you for teaching in a public preschool or a bilingual classroom
Certification All preschool teachers who work in public schools must earn certification to work with children 5 years of age and under

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, UMass-Amherst, Raritan Valley Community College, Luna Community College, Central New Mexico Community College, Colorado Christian University

What Courses Will I Take?

In most pre-K teacher training programs, you'll take core courses, such as professionalism, literacy development, young child guidance, child assessment, program evaluation and child health, safety and nutrition. In a certificate or associate's degree program, your courses also might include first aid, communicable disease prevention, group infant and toddler care, children's literature, family dynamics and introduction to psychology. As a student in a bachelor's degree program, you might take courses in classroom behavior management, educational psychology, methods for teaching children with special needs and cultural diversity.

Do I Need To Be Licensed and Certified?

The kind of licensing and certification you need depends on the state and setting in which you plan to work. If you want to become a teacher in a public school, you're typically required to have a bachelor's degree as well as a teacher's license. Certificate and associate's degree programs can prepare you to apply for a state license to work in private child care institutions or as a teacher's aide in a public school program.

Pre-K teacher training programs prepare you to meet the licensing requirements of the state in which the school is located. After graduating from the program, you'll apply to the state Department of Education, or a similar body, for licensing.

Can I Study Online?

Many pre-K teacher training programs require you to complete an on-site practicum or supervised student teaching component. You may be able to complete your coursework online if you're currently employed in the field and can fulfill the teaching experience portion at your institution. Some schools offer credit for previous experience through portfolio evaluation.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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