Idaho does not currently offer a state-funded pre-kindergarten program (one of just 10 states in the nation), 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. Therefore, just one-third of all 3- and 4-year-olds in Idaho attend a public or private preschool.
The Idaho Department of Labor, Communications, and Research reported a total of 940 preschool teachers in Idaho as of 2014. By 2022, this number is expected to increase to 1,150.
If you want to become a preschool teacher in Idaho, you must achieve 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 achieve an Idaho Department of Education teaching certificate, you must be able to complete the following:
|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 5022): 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 Idaho Department of Labor expects the number of preschool teacher jobs to increase 16.05% throughout the state in the 10-year period leading up to 2020. They project the increase to be twice as high in the northern region of Idaho.
The rate of increase is also expected to be higher in other regions of Idaho:
Eastern – 30.61%
Southeastern – 22.22%
Southwestern – 30.63%
South central – 23.47%
59.5% of the 42 jobs that will be created each year will be due to the need to replace teachers who will leave the workforce. The remaining jobs will come from growth in the field of preschool teaching.
The 2014 average preschool teacher salary in Idaho was $26,600, with entry-level teachers earning an average of $16,837 a year. Salaries are available for the following two metropolitan areas of Idaho:
Idaho preschool teacher salaries were higher in the nonmetropolitan areas of the state:
Although a degree is not required to teach preschool in Idaho, many applicants choose to get degrees in either Early childhood education and teaching or Child care and Support service management. Five schools in Idaho offer these types of programs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 Pre-K teacher salaries throughout Idaho: