As an aspiring early education teacher, you need to have the right temperament. Patience, creativity, sensitivity, communication skills, and the ability to connect with children are arguably some of the most important qualifications. However, you’re also expected to have the proper schooling and credentials, and each state sets its own standards for what they expect from certified teachers. Before beginning your path to becoming an early childhood educator, you should find out what the requirements are for your state or school where you want to teach.
Because teaching young children is such a highly specialized field, some schools require a degree in early childhood education or child development. Many preschools set their minimum requirement at an associate’s degree, and most Montessori schools require a Bachelor’s degree. Having a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will generally qualify you to teach through the third grade.
Once you have attained your education, you need to look into your state’s requirements to earn your official teaching credential. The Council for Professional Recognition External link offers the Childhood Development Associate (CDA) External link credential in different areas of early childhood education. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education External link offers national certification as well. Also, it is important to note that to teach at a Montessori school you must complete a special Montessori teacher education program External link. Once you are certified, the most important way to build your career is through experience. Many preschool and Montessori teachers begin as teaching aids to gain practical classroom experience before becoming teachers.