How to Become an Early Childhood Teacher in New York

An ECE New York Degree & Career Guide

Requirements for ECE Teacher Certification in New York

The education system in New York is consistently considered to be near the top in the country on all state rating listings. With one of the largest populations in the country, early childhood education (ECE) is not utilized by all young children. Many people still utilize family members and friends to care for their children until they are required to send them to kindergarten. This is beginning to change in New York, with more and more parents choosing formal early childhood education programs provided by the state. It is important to note that all teachers in New York must complete the same education, certifications, exams and training to be a preschool teacher.

New York Steps to Follow for Teachers

New York has a number of early childhood education preschool teaching paths from which to choose. Four primary types of certifications exist; however, all begin with a bachelor’s degree program from an approved and accredited college or university. You will also have to complete a teacher preparation program and a certain number of hours working with children during your degree. You will also be required to pass exams and renew and update your certificates throughout your career and you will have to continue your education in most positions.

Step 1. Earn Your Degree Receive a Recommendation

A teacher preparation program is absolutely necessary to be able to teach anywhere in New York. This provides prospective teachers will real experience in a classroom setting with a first-hand look at what life will be like as a professional preschool teacher. You will first observe teachers and learn from them pertaining to classroom management and behavior discipline.

Once the initial classroom observation is complete, you will begin student teaching, also referred to as an internship or field experience. It is during this portion of the teacher preparation program that you will begin to lead the class as the teacher in a number of ways. You might prepare lesson plans, teach lessons, and/or assess students with the supervision of a licensed educator. All student teachers will be graded on their performance by both the mentor teacher and the degree program. The duration requirement for a student teacher is 40 days to be eligible for teacher certification in early childhood education in the state of New York. All approved education programs include the teacher preparation program, culminating in a bachelor’s degree.

Employers of preschool teachers in New York will require that you complete a bachelor’s degree. You might choose a degree program in early childhood education, child development, elementary education for those hoping to teach kindergarten, or other related degrees. The degree program must be approved by the state to be eligible for teacher certification. You might also consider completing a parent and infant development or early intervention certification.

Your courses will focus on early childhood education and development. They will teach you the best ways to effectively structure your classroom and educational platforms. It will also be essential that you learn the most effective ways to teach young children various subject matter, such as mathematics and literacy. Depending upon your program, you may have to complete an internship or fulfill student teacher requirements and you will be required to receive a recommendation from your college or university stating that you are prepared and ready to be eligible to apply for certification. All teachers must also complete a workshop on the ‘Dignity For All Students Act’ in order to teach in New York. Most programs for teachers will offer you the opportunity to take this workshop at some point in your educational career.

Step 2. Pass Your Exams

New York, as with a few other states, has created their own teacher certification exams. These are called the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations. Depending on how you complete your teacher preparation program, you may have to take a different test. These tests include: the Academic Literacy Skills Test (Reading/Writing); the Educating All Students Test (teaching responsibilities, diverse populations, ESL Learners, and Special Needs Students); the Content Speciality Test – Multi-Subject: Teachers of Early Childhood or Birth-Grade 2 (Literacy and English Language, Math, Arts, and Sciences); and the edTPA-Early Childhood (Readiness to Lead a Classroom). Testing stations are available all over New York.

You will have to meet the optimal score range to pass each test. Each exam tests you on various aspects of education and teaching. You will be tested on the subject matter you are required to teach and other general subjects, such as math, science, arts, and literacy. And all teachers will be required to complete the New York State Teacher Certification Examination, including preschool teachers.

Step 3. Initial and Professional Certification

All teachers require an initial certificate to begin teaching. You can choose between several different types of certificates and pathways to certification based on your existing situation. The Initial Certificate is valid for five years and is considered the entry-level teaching certification. You can also apply for a Professional Certificate once you complete the mandated professional development hours for teaching. If you are a pupil personnel professional, you must complete the Provisional Certificate. This certificate is also valid for five years. And the Permanent Certificate is the advanced certificate for individuals in the pupil personnel career path. It is valid for life or until revoked.

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Certificate

You must maintain and upgrade your teaching certificates to advance your career. During your first year of teaching, you will be observed and mentored. After you complete three years of full-time teaching, you can apply for the Professional Certificate. Once you have your Professional Certificate, you still have to complete at least 175 professional development hours every five years. These hours must be reported to the New York State Education Department to qualify. For those who wish to be a preschool teacher or a childcare provider at a school that is not public, you will be required to complete additional child care provider training requirements. These will vary based on the employer.

Popular Career Choices

  • Preschool Teacher
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher

Accredited New York Programs

All potential teachers must complete and pass an extensive background check, provide transcripts, and verify their identity. You will be required to complete numerous teacher workshops and work with a mentor until deemed ready. Continuing education and professional development are also critical components of the teaching profession in the state of New York.

It is important that you take courses from colleges and universities that are approved by the New York State Education Department. Seek out accredited higher learning institutions and degree programs that will be easily transferable from one employer to the next and even out-of-state if you were to move. Also, keep in mind that online courses, certificates, and degrees permit you to continue to teach and gain invaluable work experience while you study.

Accredited Early Childhood Educator Teacher Preparation Programs

New York is filled with accredited colleges and universities that offer early childhood education programs. You will find roughly 50 accredited higher learning institutions that offer ECE in New York and over 100 colleges and universities offer various education and teaching programs. You can also choose between online courses or physical classrooms to complete your degree programs. Be sure to also carefully consider a minor or emphasis so that you can broaden your skill set and improve your pay range.

  • Harding University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bilingual and Multilingual Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities; Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Disabilities; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments; Bachelor’s
    • Educational Leadership and Administration; Post-grad Certificate
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s, Master’s, & Undergraduate Certificate
    • Elementary and Middle School Administration/Principalship; Post-grad Certificate
    • Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • Reading Teacher Education; Master’s
    • Special Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • ESL Teaching; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • Buffalo State - Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • Teachers of Childhood Special Education and Childhood Education - Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Teachers College - Columbia University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bilingual and Multilingual Education; Master’s
    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s
    • Curriculum and Instruction; Master’s & Dr.
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Master’s & Dr.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; Master’s & Dr.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments; Master’s & Dr.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation; Master’s & Dr.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic and Other Physical Health Impairments; Master’s & Dr.
    • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; Master’s & Dr.
    • Educational Leadership and Administration; Master’s & Dr.
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Master’s
    • Reading Teacher Education; Master’s
    • Special Education and Teaching; Master’s & Dr.
    • ESL Teaching; Master’s & Dr.

    Accreditation By:

    • Columbia University - Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,
    • Columbia Teachers College - Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
    • Teachers College programs - Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Hofstra University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Administration of Special Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • Bilingual and Multilingual Education; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities; Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; Post-grad Certificate
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • Reading Teacher Education; Master’s
    • Special Education and Teaching; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Speech Teacher Education; Bachelor’s
    • ESL Teaching; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • Hofstra University - Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • Teacher education and educational leadership programs - Accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • New York University

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s & Dr.
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Master’s
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s, Master’s, & Dr.
    • Reading Teacher Education; Master’s
    • Special Education and Teaching; Master’s
    • ESL Teaching; Master’s, Dr., & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • New York University - Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • School of Professional Studies - registered with the New York State Education Department
    • Teacher Education Programs - Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
    • Counseling Psychology - American Psychological Association
    • School Building Leadership - Teacher Education Accreditation Council
    • School Counseling - Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council
    • Speech-Language Pathology - American Speech-Language and Hearing Association-Council on Academic Accreditation
    • Teacher Education Programs - Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Specialization Additional Certifications

Specializations and advanced certificates have the ability to increase your annual salary and provide you with better job opportunities. While professional development is required, advanced certification from colleges and universities is not required by the state. However, the more professional certifications and degrees you complete the better your pay opportunities will be in the end. You might consider specializing in any number of areas, such as special education, STEM or a foreign language. It is also a good idea to remain active in state and national professional organizations as a way to network, learn the latest teaching techniques, and to improve your skill set.

Career Options and Salary Info for Teachers

The New York State Education Department and the University of the State of New York provide a number of ECE programs. Some of such programs include child care, Early Head Start, Head Start, and Universal Pre-Kindergarten. While the programs exist for all students throughout the state it is important to note that the funding and amenities vary greatly from one region to another. One of the most progressive and advanced goals of the state’s early childhood programs is to provide preschool for all children aged three. And because the state is so heavily populated you will have a wide array of job opportunities in any number of ECE positions.

OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Preschool Teacher$38,500$36,900$50,000
Elementary School Teacher$48,600$60,000$70,900
Professor of Education$60,200$97,000$105,000
Preschool Director$37,400$39,600$44,700
Special Education Teacher$55,500$60,900$80,500
ESL Teacher$37,800$41,400$56,800
School Psychologist$60,100$66,300$88,000

Videos To Help You Find The Right Career Choices

  • Early Childhood Educator is a Rewarding Career

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-WquPXglak

  • EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS: BUILDING BRAINS TOGETHER

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0pXe5pF5OA

  • Early Childhood Education

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx_5fcYzdoA

  • Why Become a Teacher?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqe8C7dwViE

  • Why Special Education?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3YwKIqlCsw

  • What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrU6YJle6Q4

Obtaining Financial Aid for The Pursuit of Your Degree

The job of a preschool teacher is one of the most important jobs in the country. In just a few years, you can become a critical influencer in the growing field of early childhood education and preschool teaching in the state of New York. Be sure to select an accredited college or university for the best chance at the best job opportunities. You should also select a program that will lead you to a teaching certificate. It is important to note that not all teaching programs offer pathways to become a certified teacher in New York. Choose wisely and start your search today.

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