Washington D.C.’s Workforce Development Bureau identified preschool teachers in its most current list of metropolitan high-demand occupations, along with special education teachers, kindergarten teachers, and elementary school teachers.
If you want to become a preschool teacher in Washington D.C. and teach in the public or charter school system, you must hold a valid state teacher license. (Preschool teachers in other settings, however, may have different requirements – See Step 4.)
To become licensed as a preschool teacher in Washington D.C., you must complete the following steps:
|Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program|
|Pass the Required PRAXIS Examinations|
|Apply for and Maintain your Teaching License|
|Explore Other Teaching Requirements for Preschool Teachers in Washington D.C.|
Step 1. Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program
To become licensed as a preschool teacher in Washington D.C., you must complete a teacher preparation program in early childhood education (recognized as PreK-Grade 3) approved by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. A teacher preparation program includes all requirements for licensure, including pedagogy requirements and a student teaching experience.
Although the minimum degree for teacher certification in Washington D.C. is a four-year bachelor’s degree, teacher preparation programs may also culminate in a master’s degree (M.A.T.L., M.Ed., and M.A.T.) for candidates who already possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Traditional educator preparation programs may therefore be of the undergraduate or graduate variety. There are currently 7 traditional educator preparation programs in early childhood education in Washington D.C.
There are also a number of post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs which, although they do not culminate in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, are designed to prepare candidates who already demonstrate mastery in the field. Candidates who qualify for these alternative route educator preparation programs are typically granted permission to teach while completing the alternative educator preparation program. There are currently 5 alternative preparation programs in early childhood education in Washington D.C.
Step 2. Pass the Required PRAXIS Examinations
To become a preschool teacher in Washington D.C., you must take and pass the following examinations:
PRAXIS Core Academic Skills Exams:
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (5172): Must pass with minimum score of 156; AND
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (5722): Must pass with minimum score of 162; AND
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (5732): Must pass with minimum score of 150; AND
PRAXIS II Content Examinations for Early Childhood Education (PreK-Grade 3):
- Early Childhood: Content Knowledge (5022): Must pass with a minimum score of 165; AND
- Early Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (5621): Must pass with a minimum score of 159
All PRAXIS examinations are administered through ETS. You can learn more about the above examinations, as well as how to register and schedule for the examinations, through the ETS website.
Step 3. Apply for and Maintain your Teaching License
After you have successfully completed all requirements for licensure, you may apply for a license as a preschool teacher in Washington D.C. If you have completed a traditional approved teacher program, you must complete an (initial) Application for Regular II Licensure.
If you are enrolled in an alternative route teacher preparation program and have not yet completed the program, you must complete an Application for Regular I Licensure, which is valid for a period of 2 years. A Regular I license is not renewable.
You must renew your Regular II license every four years by completing an Application for Licensure Renewal and providing proof that you have completed at least 6 semester hours or 90 contact hours (or a combination of the two) of professional development activities.
Step 4. Explore Other Teaching Requirements for Preschool Teachers in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C.’s Head Start Collaboration Office (HSCCO) is responsible for facilitating collaboration with Head Start agencies and programs that carry out activities designed to benefit low-income children from birth to school entry.
Currently, Head Start lead teachers are required to possess, at a minimum, an associate’s degree, although by 2015, at least half of all teachers in a Head Start preschool program must possess a bachelor’s degree.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Division of Early Learning (DEL) is responsible for providing leadership and coordination to ensure that all children in Washington D.C., from birth to pre-kindergarten, have access to high quality early childhood development programs. The DEL licenses all child development centers in Washington D.C.
The District of Columbia provides free, high-quality Pre-K education services throughout its public schools, public charter schools, and a number of community-based organizations across the city. Pre-K Expansion Grants provide an entry point for community-based programs.
Preschool teachers working in a licensed child development center in Washington D.C. are required to possess at least ONE of the following:
- An associate’s degree or higher in early childhood education or early childhood development from an accredited college or university; OR
- An associate’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, with at least 15 credit hours in early childhood education or early childhood development; AND at least one year of supervised experience working with children in a licensed District of Columbia Child Development Center or its equivalent in another jurisdiction; OR
- At least 48 credit hours from an accredited college or university, with at least 15 credit hours in early childhood education or early childhood development; AND at least two years of supervised experience working with children in a licensed District of Columbia Child Development Center or its equivalent in another jurisdiction; OR
- A valid Child Development Associate (CDA) credential; OR
- Proof of the completion of a child care certification course of no less than 90 hours from an accredited college or university; AND at least three years of supervised experience working with children in a licensed District of Columbia Child Development Center or its equivalent in another jurisdiction
Washington, DC Preschool Teacher Salaries
The field of preschool teaching is growing throughout the country for several reasons. There is an increased emphasis on formally educating preschool children to promote their readiness for school. Also, the number of 3-5 year olds is increasing.
The number of preschool teachers is increasing at a greater rate in the District of Columbia than in the country as a whole. This increase during the ten-year period leading up to 2022 is almost one third higher than the national rate. The DC Department of Employment Services predicts it to be 22.6% over this period.
Pre-K teacher salaries are higher in DC than in much of the country, because the district requires its preschool teachers to have at least an associate’s degree. The average preschool teacher salary in the District of Columbia was $31,470 in 2012. A detailed breakdown of DC preschool teacher salaries by percentile is shown below:
The DC area had the fifth highest employment level of any metropolitan area in the country in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The District of Columbia is significantly increasing funding for its public schools to improve the education of its students. The District of Columbia Public Schools Agency (DCPSA) had an 8.8% increase in its budget for FY 2015. This $56.9 million increase is expected to significantly improve student outcomes.
The education of preschool children is a strong focus in DC, and the DCPSA obtained a $13.7 million Head Start grant to improve the education of Pre-K students in all Title I schools that offer this program.
The BLS provides an analysis of 2013 District of Columbia preschool teacher salaries: