Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Labor reports that approximately 6,940 preschool teachers are currently employed in the state, along with around 100 administrators and early childhood special educators. It is the responsibility of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to ensure that all preschool-age children in Connecticut are afforded the opportunity to participate in a high-quality-preschool educational program.

This is accomplished through the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework, a rigorous set of standards published by the state Department of Education that emphasizes teaching and reinforcement by qualified educators.

Preschool teachers, depending on the setting in which they work, are required to possess different qualifications. To teach preschool in a public school setting, preschool teachers in Connecticut are required to earn a teaching certification.

But beyond that, you need heart; to work with preschool age children is to be surrounded by emotion and possibility, the raw potential that every kid has to be great.

To become a preschool teacher in Connecticut and work in the public school system, you’ll need to take the following steps.

Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program
Take and Pass the Required PRAXIS Examination (If Applicable)
Apply for an Initial Educator Certificate
Apply for a Provisional and Professional Educator Certificate
Considering Alternative Programs for Teaching Preschool in Connecticut

 


 

Step 1. Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program

The Connecticut State Board of Education has two approved pathways to certification:

Traditional Educator Preparation Program: You may choose to complete a State-approved educator preparation program at either the undergraduate or graduate level to achieve state certification as a preschool teacher. You have two options when completing a State-approved educator preparation program, as Connecticut offers two early childhood endorsements:

  • Early Childhood Birth to Kindergarten (Endorsement 112): This endorsement allows you to teach both regular and special education children from birth through kindergarten.
  • Early Childhood Nursery-to-Grade 3 (Endorsement 113): This endorsement allows you to teach regular and special education children ages 3 through kindergarten, as well as regular education students in grades 1 to 3.

As such, the educator preparation program you choose should be aligned with your endorsement goals. There are currently 4 programs in Early Childhood, Birth to Kindergarten in Connecticut: 1 at the undergraduate level, 2 at the graduate level, and 1 at the post-baccalaureate level.

There are currently 9 programs in Early Childhood, Nursery to Grade 3 in Connecticut: 4 at the undergraduate level, 4 at the graduate level, and 1 at the post-baccalaureate level.

To be accepted into a traditional teacher preparation program in Connecticut, you must either provide the Department with proof that you took the SAT, ACT, GRE, or PPA examination, or you must take and pass thePRAXIS I, Pre-Professionals Skill Test and achieve the following, minimum scores:

  • Reading: 172
  • Writing: 171
  • Mathematics: 171

Alternative Route to Certification Program: If you already possess a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and you meet specific course requirements, you may qualify for certification through Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Certification Program, which consists of 4 components:

  • Pre-program activities
  • Program activities
  • Student teaching
  • Program completion and certification

Note: If you cannot meet the 3.0 GPA requirement, you may still qualify for the ARC program if you have completed at least 24 semester hours of graduate-level coursework.

If you are accepted into the ARC program, you may receive a temporary permit to teach preschool in Connecticut while you complete your course of supervised experience.

There are currently two ARC programs in Connecticut: 1 program in Early Childhood ARC for Birth to Kindergarten, and 1 program in Early Childhood ARC Nursery to Grade 3.

 


 

Step 2. Take and Pass the Required PRAXIS Examination (If Applicable)

If you are seeking an endorsement in Early Childhood Birth to Kindergarten, you are NOT required to take and pass the PRAXIS II Content examinations; however, if you are seeking an endorsement in Early Childhood Nursery to Grade 3, you must take and pass:

  • Early Childhood: Content Knowledge (5022)
  • Education of Young Children (5021)

You must achieve a minimum score of 156 on the Early Childhood: Content Knowledge examination and a minimum score of 158 on the Education of Young Children examination.

Both of these examinations are administered through ETS-approved testing centers throughout the U.S., and both are delivered via a computer-based examination.

You can learn more about the testing requirements for Connecticut certification and the registration and scheduling process through the ETS website.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for an Initial Educator Certificate

Upon successfully completing all requirements for certification, you must apply for an Initial Educator Certificate to teach preschool in Connecticut.

To begin the process, you must first register with the Connecticut Educator Certification System (CECS). Once registered with the CECS, you may apply for your Initial Educator Certificate. You may also pay for the $50 application fee online. You will be required, however, to ensure your official transcripts are sent from your educator preparation program directly to the Department.

Any questions regarding the registration and application process can be sent to the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification at 1-860-713-6969 or at teacher.cert@ct.gov.

 


 

Step 4. Apply for a Provisional and Professional Educator Certificate

After the expiration of your initial certification, the next step in the certification process in Connecticut is obtaining a Provisional Educator Certificate, which is valid for a period of 8 years. While under a Provisional Educator Certificate, you are required to successfully complete the following as to achieve the Professional Educator Certificate:

  • At least 30 school months of experience in early childhood education
  • At least 30 semester hours of coursework beyond a bachelor’s degree

Due to the strict educational requirements in Connecticut to maintain a teaching certificate, most educators begin working toward their master’s degree. Further, as of July 2016, the Department of Education will require all educators in Connecticut to complete a master’s degree before they can achieve a Professional Educator Certificate.

 


 

Step 5. Considering Alternative Programs for Teaching Preschool in Connecticut

Although teaching preschool in Connecticut in a public school system requires a state teaching certification, preschool teachers in the State may teach preschool outside of a public school setting. Each of these settings requires a different set of requirements for preschool teachers:

 

    • School Readiness Programs (Licensed through the Connecticut Department of Education; may be located in public schools or in community child care centers): Preschool teachers must possess:
      • CDA credential and at least 12 credits in early childhood education; OR
      • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree and at least 12 credits in early childhood education or child development (Note: By 2015, all preschool teachers in this program will be required to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree)

 

 

  • Federal Head Start programs: Preschool teachers must possess, at a minimum, an associate’s degree, although 50 percent of the teachers must possess a bachelor’s degree
  • Private schools: Preschool teacher requirements are set by the school
  • Licensed family childcare homes (Licensed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Office of Early Childhood): No requirements for preschool teachers, with the exception of a minimum age of 20 and the completion of a 6-hour first aid course

The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is achieved through the Council for Professional Recognition. You must successfully complete at least 120 hours of professional education, at least 480 hours of professional experience, and a professional portfolio to achieve this nationally recognized credential.


Connecticut Preschool Teacher Salaries

Connecticut early childhood educators and administrators are looking at about a 4 percent growth rate between 2016 and 2026, resulting in about 790 openings annually between attrition and new job creation. Special educators working in early childhood education have even better prospects, looking at a job growth rate of over 9 percent during the same period.

Special educators also command some of the highest salaries in the state, with rates that beat their peers in most other states. Administrators tend to start at a lower salary but come in above the national rate when they reach the top ten percent in the later stage of their careers:

Preschool Administrators: $54,380 – $69,010 – $97,720

Preschool Teacher: $37,030 – $51,510 – $74,440

Preschool Special Educator: $62,140 – $79,530 – $99,020

With the state Office of Early Childhood and federal Department of Health and Human Services offering funding in the form of the Preschool Development Grant to eligible Connecticut preschools, they can afford to pay educators what they deserve. Below are listed some of the specific salaries and larger employers in Connecticut’s major metropolitan areas.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford

Hartford Public Schools not only offers a PreK-4 program, but also a dedicated PreK Magnet School.

  • Hartford Public Schools
  • West Hartford Public Schools
  • School for Young Children
  • The Right Place
  • Cyril and Methodius Preschool
  • Metzner Early Learning Center
  • Quaker Lane Cooperative Nursery School
  • The Children’s Museum Preschool
  • South Bay Community Services

At schools and community programs in the greater Hartford area, preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $57,610
  • 75th Percentile – $71,620
  • 90th Percentile – $141,090

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $36,980
  • 75th Percentile – $58,030
  • 90th Percentile – $81,610

Special Education Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $58,260
  • 75th Percentile – $68,590
  • 90th Percentile – $88,810

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk

The Greater Bridgeport area encompasses many of the commuter suburbs close to New York, and, consequently, has a great variety of preschool teaching opportunities and relatively high salaries to go along with them.

  • Bridgeport Public Schools
  • Norwalk Public Schools
  • Stamford Public Schools
  • Union Memorial Preschool
  • Shiny Little stars
  • Brookdale Nursery School
  • Bright Beginnings
  • Creative Childcare Center
  • Stamford Head Start
  • Sound Beach Day School
  • Building Blocks Early Learning Center

At schools and community programs in Bridgeport, preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $54,220
  • 75th Percentile – $76,190
  • 90th Percentile – $97,360

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $38,150
  • 75th Percentile – $55,380
  • 90th Percentile – $74,940

Special Education Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $59,810
  • 75th Percentile – $80,180
  • 90th Percentile – $95,320

Norwich-New London-Westerly

Below are some of the top employers for preschool teachers and administrators in the Norwich/New London area along the Rhode Island border.

  • Norwich Public Schools
  • New London Public Schools
  • Bishop Early Learning Center
  • Park Nursery Schools
  • Stoneview Children’s University
  • Norwich Family Resource Center

At schools and other learning centers in the greater Norwich area, preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $41,120
  • 75th Percentile – $49,180
  • 90th Percentile – $62,910

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $35,680
  • 75th Percentile – $47,060
  • 90th Percentile – $67,330

 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 for preschool teachers, preschool special education teachers and preschool administrators – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm#11-9111. The BLS salary data shown here represents median – 90th percentile salary ranges for the state and its MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.

 Job growth projections sourced from the Connecticut Department of Labor and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and job growth data accessed in September 2019.

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