Early Childhood Education
Preparation & Advancement

Preparation

Education and licensing requirements for preschool teachers and childcare workers vary by state. In Washington, to work in either capacity you must have a high school diploma or GED. You must also have excellent interpersonal skills.

To be a preschool teacher, you must also pass a state licensing exam.

With an AAS degree, you are qualified to become a lead teacher for preschools and the Head Start Program.

Certification

In Washington, both public and private school teachers must be certified by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Applicants go through two levels of certification: residency and professional. Both are performance-based.

Teachers must continue to take courses periodically throughout their careers to maintain their certification.

Owners of childcare and home daycare centers must have a childcare facility license.

Childcare workers also are required to have first aid, CPR and HIV/AIDS training; to take a TB skin test; and to pass a criminal history and background check.

Advancement

To become a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, you're required to have a BA degree as well as certification in most states. Some states also require teachers to be enrolled in a graduate program.