Idaho does not currently offer a state-funded pre-kindergarten program, although many school districts choose to offer their own pre-k programs. Further, children in Idaho are not required to attend either preschool or kindergarten. Only about one-third of all 3- and 4-year-olds in Idaho attend a public or private preschool according to 2018 data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
That puts the state last in the nation in early childhood education… a state of affairs that only committed and highly educated preschool teachers and administrators can turn around.
That’s going to take commitment, heart, and understanding. To develop effective, transformative early childhood learning experiences in a state where few exist will be a challenge… but also a tremendous opportunity to put your unique stamp on programs that will shape generations of Idahoans.
If you want to become a preschool teacher in Idaho, you must earn an early childhood/early childhood special education blended certificate from the Idaho State Department of Education. This will allow you to teach children from birth to grade 3 (including those at-risk or those who have developmental delays) in any educational setting.
To earn an Idaho Department of Education teaching certificate, you must be able to complete the following steps:
|Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program|
|Take the Appropriate PRAXIS Requirements for Initial Certification|
|Apply for Initial Certification as a Preschool Teacher in Idaho|
|Renew and Maintain your Teaching Certificate|
Step 1. Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program
To earn an initial certificate to teach preschool in Idaho, you must successfully complete an Idaho State Board of Education-approved teacher preparation program. An approved program is defined by the Board as one that is accredited by a regional accrediting association and approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Idaho standards for teacher preparation programs are based on NCATE standards for educator preparation, including state-specific, core teaching requirements.
You can view a current list of higher-learning institutions that meet the NCATE standards for teacher preparation programs in Idaho here.
An approved teacher preparation program in early childhood/early childhood special education (birth to grade 3) must include the following:
- At least 30 semester credits hours (45 quarter credit hours) in psychological, methodological, and philosophical foundations; in the professional subject matter of early childhood and early childhood special education; and in instructional technology
- The professional subject matter of early childhood and early childhood special education must include work specific to young children from birth through grade 3 in the areas of:
- Application of technologies
- Assessment and evaluation
- Child development and learning
- Curriculum development and implementation
- Family and community relationships
- The required 30 semester credit hours must include at least 6 semester credit hours (9 quarter credit hours) of early childhood student teaching and at least 3 semester credit hours (4 quarter credit hours) of development reading
Upon completion of an approved teacher preparation program in Idaho, you must receive an institutional recommendation before you can apply for an initial certificate to teach preschool in Idaho.
Step 2. Take the Appropriate PRAXIS Requirements for Initial Certification
Before applying for an initial teaching credential in Idaho, you must take and pass the following PRAXIS II content examinations to achieve an early childhood/blended birth to grade 3 certificate:
- Early Childhood: Content Knowledge (test code 5025): Minimum acceptable score of 158
- Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood (test code 5691): Minimum acceptable score of 159
All PRAXIS examinations for teacher certification are administered through ETS. You can view exam outlines and requirements and register and schedule to take the above examinations on the ETS website.
You can take the required PRAXIS examinations for initial certification at the following locations in Idaho:
- Idaho State University, Meridian
- University of Idaho, Moscow
- Idaho State University, Pocatello
- Brigham Young University – Idaho, Rexburg
Step 3. Apply for Initial Certification as a Preschool Teacher in Idaho
To apply for an early childhood/blended birth to grade 3 teaching certificate in Idaho, you must complete and submit an application packet, which includes the following:
- Completed and signed application (Form B1, Application for an Idaho Certificate/Credential)
- Completed fingerprint card and the fingerprint fee of $40 (request a fingerprint card at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- An application fee of $75 (made payable to the State Department of Education)
- Official transcripts (sent directly from the degree-granting institution)
- Completed Institutional Recommendation form (Form B2, Institutional Recommendation)
- Official PRAXIS II exam scores
All appropriate forms can be downloaded here.
Step 4. Renew and Maintain your Teaching Certificate
Your initial certificate is issued for a period of 5 years. If you have met all requirements for an initial certificate, you will qualify for a standard Idaho certificate when your initial certificate expires. To qualify for a standard teaching certificate, you must complete at least 6 semester credit hours (9 quarter credit hours) in the last 5 years. At least 3 of the 6 semester credit hours must be from a course taken at an accredited college or university.
Due to the Board’s renewal requirements regarding college/university credit, many teachers in Idaho choose to pursue a master’s degree as to advance in the profession.
Specific requirements for renewal can be found here.
A completed packet for a certificate renewal includes the following:
- Completed and signed renewal application (Form B1-R, Application for Renewal of an Idaho Certificate/Credential)
- An application fee of $75
Idaho Preschool Teacher Salaries
The biggest bright spot in Idaho early education employment is with special education preschool teachers. The demand for their unique skillset is growing at such a rate that their numbers are expected to skyrocket by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Preschool teacher jobs will grow at 9 percent for the same period, generating around 100 openings annually, from both new positions and existing jobs opening up as teachers retire. Education administrator jobs in early childhood centers will grow in number by a still-healthy 6.7 percent.
Salaries, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, show what preschool teachers and administrators in Idaho can expect to earn at different stages of their careers (median, top 25%, top 10%).
Preschool Administrators: $39,030 – $48,200 – $57,980
Preschool Teacher: $23,490 – $29,010 – $36,630
Since salaries can vary considerably across the state, we also list the salary data for some of the larger metropolitan areas in the state, together with some of the major employers in the region.
Boise is the largest urban area in Idaho, and it reflects the demands of a large and thriving labor market for preschool administrators, who top out at nearly $60,000 per year.
- Boise Cooperative Preschool
- Hillview Preschool
- Ready Set Go Preschool
- Montessori Academy Preschool
- New Horizon Academy
Schools and learning centers in the greater Boise area offer preschool teachers and administrators salaries that fall within these ranges:
- Median – $36,720
- 75th Percentile – $47,530
- 90th Percentile – $57,370
- Median – $23,090
- 75th Percentile – $27,040
- 90th Percentile – $31,540
Idaho Falls has fewer openings for preschool educators, but it delivers the best paychecks in the state for preschool teachers, starting at over $30,000 for the median salary.
- Koala Kids Academy
- The Cat and the Fiddle Preschool
- Snake River Montessori School
- East Head Start
- Sprouts Preschool
At preschools and Head Start programs in Idaho Falls, teachers can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median – $30,830
- 75th Percentile – $35,060
- 90th Percentile – $37,660
A one-time sleepy suburb of neighboring Spokane, CDA has grown recently into a major tourist center for Northern Idaho, with an expanding population and services to match. That drives more preschool investment, with a surprising array of choices for employment:
- Coeur d’Alene Montessori Preschool
- Smart Start Learning Academy
- Little Folks
- Harding Head Start Center
- North Idaho College Head Start
- Fernan Development Preschool
At preschools and Head Start programs in Coeur d’Alene, teachers can expect to earn salaries within this range:
- Median – $21,320
- 75th Percentile – $24,780
- 90th Percentile – $31,840
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_id.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 Idaho 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.