Education and Training Requirements to Become a Preschool Teacher
Posted On Sep 27, 2023
Becoming a preschool teacher is a rewarding career choice. As a dedicated educator, you’ll play a critical role in early childhood education, laying the foundation for young children's future learning and development. To excel in this profession, you’ll need to meet specific education and training requirements. Let’s explore the essential aspects of becoming a preschool teacher including the benefits of earning an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education, state licensure and certification, the importance of practical training and experience, and the career outlook and potential for advancement within the field.
Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education
The starting point for students interested in becoming preschool teachers is to pursue an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education. This educational program provides a comprehensive understanding of child development through effective teaching strategies.
Key Benefits of Earning an Associate's Degree in ECE
Early Childhood Education programs offer a well-rounded curriculum that covers various aspects of teaching young children. You’ll delve into child psychology, curriculum planning, child behavior management, and how to create lesson plans based on age-appropriate teaching methods.
Throughout the program, you will acquire a wide range of skills that are beneficial when teaching preschoolers. These skills include effective communication, classroom management, and the ability to create a nurturing and inclusive learning environment.
Alignment with National Standards
Comprehensive programs, like the one offered by Athena Career Academy, integrate NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) standards and Ohio's Early Learning and Development Standards into the curriculum. This alignment ensures that you will be well-prepared to meet national and state education standards.
State Licensure and Certification
In addition to earning an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education, preschool teachers have to obtain state licensure and certification. These credentials are essential to demonstrate that an educator meets the standards and requirements set by the state for teaching young children.
State licensure and certification serve several purposes:
- Legal Requirements: Preschool teachers are legally required to obtain state licensure and certification to work in the field. This demonstrates their commitment to adhering to established regulations and standards.
- Quality Assurance: Licensure and certification ensure that preschool teachers have the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications to provide high-quality early childhood education.
- Specific Requirements: Each state may have slightly different requirements for licensure and certification. These typically include completing specific coursework, passing examinations, and providing evidence of practical experience.
Practical Training and Experience
Practical training and experience are integral components of preparing for a career as a preschool teacher. While classroom learning is valuable, nothing can replace hands-on experience when teaching young students. Practical training and experience serves as a bridge between theory and application, helping new teachers develop the skills and confidence they need to lead a classroom.
Career Outlook and Advancement
Upon completing an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and obtaining state licensure and certification, preschool teachers have a wide range of career opportunities available to them. The demand for qualified early childhood educators remains strong, making it a promising career choice.
Roles and Responsibilities
Preschool teachers typically start as assistant teachers and progress to lead teacher positions. As they gain experience, they may also take on roles such as administrators, head teachers, or even owners and directors of childcare centers.
Graduates of Early Childhood Education programs are well-prepared to work in various early childhood settings, including Type A Centers, Head Start programs, National Accredited Centers, Step Up To Quality centers, and many more. The versatility of the degree opens doors to numerous career paths.
High Demand for Early Childhood Educators
The field of early childhood education is experiencing high demand for qualified educators. Graduates from Early Childhood Education programs like Athena are well-positioned to secure employment in a rewarding and stable profession.
Why Choose Athena Career Academy?
Athena Career Academy offers a comprehensive Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program, focusing on early childhood education from birth through age 5 and school-age programming. The program is designed to equip future preschool teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to educate, encourage, use positive guidance, inspire, and apply Developmentally Appropriate Practice methods. Athena integrates NAEYC standards and Ohio's Early Learning and Development Standards in all essential domains from birth through age 5.
Apart from the robust educational curriculum, Athena provides an exceptional social environment for its students. Our school fosters a welcoming and positive atmosphere, where students forge lifelong friendships. The emphasis is not only on academic excellence but also on instilling positive behavior, manners, and self-esteem, ensuring that students become successful professionals and outstanding role models.
For those interested in attending the Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program at Athena, specific admission criteria must be met. These requirements include:
- Attending an informational meeting with an admissions representative.
- Completing an online application for admission.
- Meeting with a financial aid administrator to arrange funding.
- Signing an enrollment agreement.
- Completing an online State of Ohio Disclosure Course.
- Submitting a copy of a high school transcript or GED transcript.
- Providing a copy of valid government identification and social security card.
- Completing an emergency medical form.
- Attending an orientation session.
The Early Childhood Associate degree program is typically a two-year program, divided into quarters. Athena's program offers flexibility, with day and evening classes available to accommodate students' busy schedules. The program spans a total of 92 quarter credit hours, providing a well-rounded education.
Upon completion of the program, students will earn an Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS) with a major in Early Childhood Education. Athena is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and approved by the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, ensuring that graduates receive a reputable and recognized degree.
Courses Taught in the Program
Athena's Early Childhood Education program covers a diverse range of subjects to ensure that students are well-prepared for their future careers. Some of the courses included in the program are:
- Foundations of Education
- Child Development
- Early Childhood Professional/Community
- Creative Art, Music, and Play for Early Childhood
- Early Childhood Literacy
- Infant Toddler Care and Development
- Safety, Health, Nutrition for Early Childhood
- Preschool/School-age Programming
- Observation Positive Behavioral Management
- Special Needs and Education
- Diversity and Multicultural Understanding
- Organization and Administration of Early Childhood
- Oral Communication
- Introduction to the Arts
- Personal and Social Behavior
- Introduction to Sociology
- Basic Mathematics
- Introduction to Accounting
- Fundamentals of Biology
- Introduction to Technology
- Understanding Parenthood
Where Can You Take Classes?
Athena Career Academy is the ideal place to pursue your Early Childhood Education degree. Located at 5203 Airport Highway in Toledo, Ohio, Athena offers designated labs specifically designed for the Early Childhood Degree Program. These labs are equipped to help students gain hands-on experience in activities like art, music, and lesson planning. Athena also provides computer labs to support students in their academic work.
Program Start Dates and Schedules
New classes for the Early Childhood Education program start approximately every three months, offering flexibility for potential students. It's important to note that all required documents and out-of-pocket expenses must be submitted by the registration deadline. For more specific information on start dates and schedules, you can consult Athena's academic calendar on our website.
Becoming a preschool teacher is a fulfilling and impactful career path. To excel in this role, prioritize your education and training. Earn an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education, obtain state licensure and certification, gain practical training and experience, and consider the numerous career opportunities and advancement prospects available to you upon graduation.
Through our comprehensive Early Childhood Education program, we offer a strong foundation and valuable hands-on experience to prepare future educators for the exciting journey of teaching and shaping young minds. If you're passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of young children, pursuing a career as a preschool teacher could be the perfect choice for you. Contact our admissions team to learn more.
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Athena Career Academy is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. The school is registered with the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools; State of Ohio – School Registration Number – 10-09-1943T and operates under the authority of the Ohio Board of Nursing. Please contact the Student Operations Manager for more information.