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

You may select from pre-kindergarten (preK) teaching certificate programs in early childhood development, early childhood studies or infant and toddler education. Alternatively, you could earn various degrees, such as:

  • Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Multicultural Education
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in behavior management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in early childhood education

Most of these programs prepare you for professional certification, which is typically required for all pre-school teachers.

Training Some college coursework often required; associate's degree required for Head Start teachers, bachelor's degree required for public school teachers
Certification Typically requires completion of specific coursework or a degree program, field experience and a certification exam
Online Hybrid programs may be available

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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