The Connecticut Department of Labor reports that approximately 6,230 preschool teachers are currently employed in the State. It is the responsibility of the Connecticut State Board of Education to ensure that all preschool-age children in Connecticut are afforded the opportunity to participate in a high-quality-preschool educational program.
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 attain teaching certification.
To become a preschool teacher in Connecticut and work in the public school system, complete the steps shown in this guide:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
- Licensed Childcare Centers (Licensed through the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Office of Early Childhood): Head teachers must possess:
- CDA credential; OR
- At least 12 credits in early childhood education or child development; AND
- At least 1,080 hours of documented experience
- 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)
- Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Care 4 Kids Child Care Centers (infant to school age): Preschool teachers must possess:
- CDA credential and 12 credits in early childhood Education; OR
- An associate’s or bachelor’s degree and 12 credits in child development
- 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
The number of preschool teacher jobs is increasing throughout the country and in Connecticut. The number of preschool teachers in the state is expected to increase by 14.3% in the ten-year period leading up to 2022, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.
The average preschool teacher salary in Connecticut was $34,923 for the first quarter of 2014. Teachers in the 10th percentile earned $20,509 on average while those in the 90th percentile averaged $57,387.
Preschool teacher salaries varied widely throughout the state. Those in the Norwich area had particularly high salaries as shown below:
Connecticut had the fifth highest concentration of preschool teacher jobs in the country in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Waterbury area had the seventh highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area in the country. Employment levels were also high in the Northwestern nonmetropolitan area of Connecticut. It had the third highest concentration of such jobs of any such area in the country.
More than 6,200 preschool teachers were employed in Connecticut in the first quarter of 2014, according to the state’s Department of Labor. 33.5% were in the Bridgeport area, and 24.6% were in the Hartford area.
93% of Connecticut’s preschool teachers were employed in education and health services and earned a median salary of $35,110. The best paying industry for preschool teachers was public administration. The fifty preschool teachers employed in this industry made a median salary of $40,498.
The BLS provides a detailed analysis of 2013 Connecticut preschool teacher salaries for various areas in the state: