What are the Education Requirements for Preschool Teachers?

Posted On November 28,2022

Today’s modern preschool teachers are leaders and role models in our communities. They influence our nation’s youngest learners, instilling a lifelong love for learning. Despite the giggles, finger painting, and story times, preschool education is serious business. If you are interested in becoming a preschool teacher, but aren’t sure how to get started, here are five simple steps to help get you moving in the right direction.

female preschool teacher with three of her students playing with wooden blocks

Pursue an Early Childhood Education Degree 

While it may be possible to find a job teaching preschool without a degree, to be taken seriously as a professional ECE educator, you must earn an early childhood education degree. The good news is many ECE programs are designed to be completed in two years, which isn’t long compared to degrees earned from a traditional four-year college. Attending a two-year program allows you to get started in your new career quicker than you anticipated when you first dreamed of becoming a teacher.  

Enroll in an Accredited Program 

One essential step in your pathway to becoming a teacher is ensuring the ECE program you attend is accredited. Attending an accredited program means the school you attend adheres to certain quality standards to maintain its accreditation. Accreditation is also a reassurance to a potential employer and the community that the ECE program you attend is of the highest quality, and it demonstrates your commitment to the profession of early childhood education. 

Look for an early childhood education degree program accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and Approved by the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools.

Learn More about Our Early Childhood Education Program

A Program That Fits Your Needs 

In addition to finding an accredited ECE program, to achieve a successful outcome in any program, you need to find one that fits your needs. Here are some questions to ask before enrolling. 

  • Do You Offer Flexible Class Options? 

Look for schools offering day and evening class options to help ensure your success should your schedule change and you need to adjust your school schedule. You also want to find a school that offers multiple start dates throughout the year. 

  • What Degree Will I Have After Completing the Program? 

Find a school that offers an Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS), Majoring in Early Childhood Education. 

  • What Student Services Do You Offer? 

Whether it’s financial aid, tuition assistance, or career placement support services you’re seeking, ensure the school you select has the proper resources you need. 

Get Certified and Maintain Certification 

Each state has its own requirements regarding teacher licensure, but a nationally recognized certification is typically required for preschool teachers who work in childcare centers or government programs like Head Start. Certification guidelines vary per state, but the requirements for certification include having a high school diploma or equivalency, completing a certain number of hours working with children and completing additional hours of formal childcare education. 

Earning your certification is a major accomplishment you should be proud of, but it doesn’t mean your work is complete. Certification is an ongoing process requiring continuing education to renew. Preschool teachers must also be first aid certified, be able to show active teaching practice, and obtain membership in an approved organization for early childhood education professionals. 

Get on the Fast track to a rewarding teaching career in early Childhood Education

Contact Athena Career Academy 

An early childhood education degree from Athena Career Academy provides students with the fundamentals and foundational concepts commonly utilized in the ECE field. Athena gives you the base knowledge you need to launch a fulfilling career in early childhood education. Contact us today to learn more about this exciting opportunity.