How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Georgia

Kindergarten teachers lay the foundations for language, writing, and math that students build upon as they progress through elementary school. Read on for information on the Georgia teacher certification system and how to become a certified Kindergarten teacher in Georgia. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Teaching Kindergarten in Georgia: Job Description, Education, and Certification Assessments

Kindergarten teachers educate students in early reading, writing, language, and math skills. This article summarizes the educational requirements and the certification assessments required for becoming certified to teach Kindergarten in Georgia.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
Completion of educator preparation program
Completion of course on identifying and educating exceptional children
Exams Required GACE Program Admission Assessment
Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Entry
GACE Content Assessment: Birth Through Kindergarten or Early Childhood Education (P-5)
Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit
Content Pedagogy Assessment: edTPA
License Validity Period Induction Certificate, 3 years
Mean Salary for Kindergarten Teachers in Georgia (2018) $54,080*
Estimated Job Growth for Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers (2016-2026, nationwide) 7%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Kindergarten teachers teach students to read and write. They teach their students to understand stories, explain sequences of events, make inferences, and to ask and answer basic questions. Kindergarten teachers also instruct their students in early math skills, such as counting, addition, subtraction, identifying shapes, and working through math problems. They provide instruction, provide material for students to work on new skills in class, assess progress, work with students who need extra help, and meet with parents to report on student progress.

Pathways to Certification

The state of Georgia has a tiered certification system:

  • Tier 1: Pre-Service (Certification required for field work and clinical practice during educator preparation program)
  • Tier 2: Induction
  • Tier 3: Professional
  • Tier 4: Advanced & Lead Professional

The Induction Tier is for educators with less than three years of teaching experience. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) has laid out four pathways to certification at the Induction tier. The pathway a candidate should follow will depend upon where the candidate completed the educator preparation program and whether the candidate completed the educator preparation program in conjunction with a bachelor's degree. This article will focus upon the first pathway, which is intended for candidates who completed their educator preparation program in conjunction with their bachelor's degree in Georgia.

Education

Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in early childhood education or related field
  • GaPSC-approved Educator Certification Program
  • Course on identifying and educating exceptional children

Educator Certification Program Entrance Requirements

  • 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Passing score on GACE Program Admission Assessment
  • Passing score on GACE Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Entry.

Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

  • Requires Pre-Service Certificate: Will be requested by institution where candidate is completing educator preparation program
  • Candidates for Birth through Kindergarten Certification: Field experience with children 0 to 2, 3 to 4, and in Kindergarten
  • Candidates for Early Childhood Certification: Field experiences with grades PK-K, 1-3, and 4-5
  • At least a semester-long internship

Certification

After completing their educator preparation program, candidates must then pass these assessments:

1) GACE Content Assessment

  • Candidates for Birth through Kindergarten Certification: Birth Through Kindergarten
  • Candidates for Early Childhood Education Certification: Early Childhood Education (P-5)

2) Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit Assessment

3)Content Pedagogy Assessment: Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

Advancement to the Professional Tier

Candidates can advance to this tier after they have taught for three years in a Georgia institution. Educators can work towards one of four certificates at this level.

1) Standard Professional Certificate: No additional requirements beyond teaching experience, unless seeking a service certificate. Additional requirements will depend upon service field.

2) Standard Professional Educational Leadership Certificate: Complete GaPSC-approved Tier I Educational Leadership program

3) Performance-Based Professional Certificate: Earn 'Proficient' or 'Exemplary' rating all three years on TAPS component of evaluation

4) Performance-Based Professional Educational Leadership Certificate: Complete GaPSC-approved Performance-Based Educational Leadership program, pass GACE Educational Leadership content assessment and Performance Assessment for School Leaders

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