You must be licensed in order to work as an early childhood teacher in a public school setting in Delaware. An early childhood teaching certificate in Delaware allows you to teach preschool students from birth to grade 2.
Preschool programs in Delaware are coordinated through the state Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning, which works to create a comprehensive and cohesive network of early learning partners across the state, both public and private. The office is informed and advised by the Delaware Early Childhood Council, a group established in 2007 to promote quality services for Delaware children.
Through OEL, Delaware manages federal Preschool Development Grant money. The $4.2 million in federal grants given in early 2018 were designated to better prepare Delaware children to enter kindergarten ready to learn. Quality educators and administrators are a big part of that plan.
If you want to learn how to become a preschool teacher in Delaware and work in the public school system, you must complete the following steps:
Step 1. Successfully Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program
The first step to becoming a preschool teacher in Delaware is completing an approved educator preparation program. Approved programs must meet the following requirements:
- Must be offered through a regionally accredited four-year college or university
- Must be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
- Must result in an initial educator (certificate) program
Following the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree program in early childhood education, you must then complete a student teaching program that is at least 91 days long.
You may also seek licensure to teach preschool in Delaware through one of the State’s Alternative Routes to Teacher Licensure and Certification programs. To qualify for these programs, you must possess:
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in a major related to early childhood education, which must include at least 30 credit hours in early childhood education
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in any content area and are enrolled in an approved teacher residency program
- A passing score on the PRAXIS I Core Academic Skills for Educators exam (or acceptable scores on an equivalent examination, such as the SAT or ACT)
An Alternative Routes for Teacher Licensure and Certification Program includes the following components:
- A summer institute of at least 120 instructional/pre-service hours of training, which must be completed at the beginning of your teaching assignment
- At least 200 hours of pre-service training (if enrolled in Teach for America)
- At least one year of full-time practicum experience, which includes a 30-week period of on-the-job mentoring and supervision
- At least 200 instructional clock hours during the first year of the teaching assignment (includes curriculum, student development, and learning)
Step 2. Pass the Required Content Examination
Upon the successfully completion of a teacher preparation program in Delaware, you must take and pass the following PRAXIS II content examination:
You will be assessed in the following areas:
- Childhood development and learning
- Observation, documentation, and assessment
- Developmentally appropriate practices
- Professionalism, family, and community
- Content pedagogy and knowledge
- Knowledge of teaching
You must achieve a minimum score of 160 to pass this PRAXIS II examination. You must register for and schedule your examination through ETS, the administrator of the PRAXIS examination. Additional information on Delaware’s testing requirements can be found here. In Delaware, you may take this examination at any of the ETS-approved testing centers in the State, which are located in Dover, New Castle, and Newark.
Step 3. Register with the Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS) and Apply for an Initial License and Standard Certificate
Upon completion of your approved teacher preparation program in early childhood education, you must register with the Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS). Upon registering with DEEDS, you may apply for an Initial License and a Standard Certificate. You must apply for both simultaneously, as an Initial License will not be issued if you do not meet the requirements for certification. An initial license is valid for a period of 3 years.
You must apply for a Standard Certificate to teach preschool in Delaware. A Standard Certificate recognizes that you possess the required education and training to teach preschool in Delaware.
You must possess the following before you can apply for a Standard Certificate to teach preschool in Delaware:
- Official transcripts from a regionally accredited college or university (submitted directly from the institution to the Department of Education)
- Official PRAXIS II score
Step 4. Complete the Requirements for Initial Licensure
Upon being hired as a preschool teacher on your initial license, you will begin a comprehensive induction program. During this one-year program, you will be assigned a mentor who will assist you in becoming acclimated to the school, to Delaware content and teaching standards, and to your role as a Delaware preschool teacher.
You will be required to meet with your mentor for at least 30 documented hours during your induction period.
During the second and third years of your initial license, you must attend all activities planned by the Department or employer.
Step 5. Apply for an Original Continuing License
Upon expiration of your initial license, you must apply for a Continuing License, which includes verification by your school district or charter school employer that you have achieved satisfactory, annual evaluations during your period of initial licensure.
More than one unsatisfactory annual summation evaluation during your period of initial licensure will make you ineligible for a Continuing License.
The continuing license is valid for a period of 5 years and is renewable upon the completion of at least 90 clock hours during the renewal period. The required clock hours may be completed through any number of professional development activities, provided they “enhance” your work with your students, school, district, or profession. You can learn more about meeting Delaware’s professional development requirements here.
Step 6. Achieve an Advanced Teaching License
The Department may issue you an Advanced License, which is valid for a period of 10 years, if you receive the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. Your advanced teaching license is renewed upon verification that you have maintained proficiency for National Board certification by showing a valid renewal of your certificate.
Step 7. Explore Other Opportunities for Preschool Teachers in Delaware
In addition to teaching preschool through Delaware’s public school system, you may also find employment opportunities outside of the public school system.
Early Care and Education and School Age Centers (ECESAC) in Delaware, which are licensed through the Delaware Office of Child Care Licensing, under the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families, provide early childhood education in the following settings:
- Early childhood programs: Most early childhood programs in Delaware serve children ages 3 and 4, but some programs also serve infants and toddlers. Many early childhood centers also offer before and after the school day or during the summer recess and may be located in private community-based businesses, churches or community services organizations, or through publicly funded programs such as Head Start.
- Home-based programs: Offer the same type of learning opportunities for children as early childhood centers and school-age centers, but they use the home environment as the setting for learning through play.
- School-age programs: School-age programs make ideas and materials available to children and provide them with support when developing activities and projects to explore areas of interest.
The Office of Childcare Licensing requires all early childhood teachers to possess at least 12 months of experience working with children of preschool age and younger in a group setting AND at least one of the following:
- An associate’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least 6 credits in child development or early childhood education, along with at least 3 months of supervised student teaching
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least 6 credits of child development or early childhood education, along with at least 3 months of supervised student teaching
- A high school degree, the successful completion of Training for Early Care and Education 1 and 2
- A high school degree and a CDA credential
- A high school degree and graduation from the Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program through the Department of Labor
- A high school degree and the completion of at least 9 college/university credits
- A high school diploma and the completion of a vocational/technical high school three-year program in early childhood education approved by the Department of Education
- A high school diploma and a Montessori Infant and Toddler Full/Associate credential
- A high school diploma and the successful completion of a one-year early childhood diploma program from a two-year college
Delaware Preschool Teacher Salaries
Delaware takes early childhood education seriously. The Office of Early Learning’s Delaware Stars for Early Success rating program evaluates participating preschool and childcare centers throughout the state and publishes non-compliance data and complaints for parents to consider in selecting a school. That makes the role of teachers and administrators both important and transparent, and drives wages higher in the search for quality professionals.
Delaware preschool administrators are fortunate to trend above the national averages at every level of the salary scale, from the median, into the top 25 percent, and even in the top 10 percent. The state is currently fifth in the nation for preschool administrator pay.
Preschool teachers in the state, on the other hand, tend to have a higher of level of growth to look forward to, estimated by the state Department of Labor to hit 5.9 percent between 2016 and 2026. The combination of new positions and jobs opening up as existing teachers retire is expected to result in an average of about 230 job openings each year. That kind of growth is part of what has fueled Delaware’s number one spot on the BLS ranking of states with the highest concentration of preschool teaching jobs in the nation.
Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 showed the following salaries for each role at the median, top 25, and top 10 percent in the state. Data for preschool special educators was not published.
Preschool Administrators: $54,220 – $70,670 – $98,520
Preschool Teacher: $26,070 – $31,400 – $39,260
While small towns near major metropolitan areas are often relegated to second-class status for employment opportunities, that’s not true for education professionals. The fact is, people in the suburbs send their kids to preschool where they live, even if they work in Philadelphia. This results in high wages and high employment for Wilmington teachers.
- Christina School District
- Red Clay Consolidated School District
- YMCA of Delaware
- Z&Z Early Learning Center
- Early Childhood Educational Arts Academy
- Manna Academy
- Education Enrichment Center
Schools and learning centers in the greater Camden and Wilmington areas offer preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators salaries that fall within these ranges:
- Median – $49,610
- 75th Percentile – $68,000
- 90th Percentile – $88,720
- Median – $28,100
- 75th Percentile – $34,090
- 90th Percentile – $48,730
Special Education Preschool Teachers
- Median – $48,840
- 75th Percentile – $63,380
- 90th Percentile – $80,550
Dover’s Capital School District is one of four in the state that benefits from the Delaware Early Childhood Center’s Early Childhood Assistance Program, providing comprehensive preschool services to three and four year-olds.
- The Little School at Kids Cottage
- Dover Montessori Country Day Academy
- Capital District Early Childhood Assistant Program
- Precious Moments Education and Community Center
- Delaware State University Early Childhood Laboratory School
Schools and learning centers in the Dover area offer salaries that fall within this range:
- Median – $24,180
- 75th Percentile – $33,140
- 90th Percentile – $52,140
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_de.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 Delaware 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.