Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Indiana

Indiana has undergone major changes in how early childhood education is funded and delivered to children throughout the state in recent years. The city of Indianapolis has ended its Indy Preschool Scholarship pilot program after convincing the state that similar services should be made available statewide.

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The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is the state agency responsible for overseeing Head Start and other pre-K funding at the state level, as well as evaluating state preschool programs. The Paths to QUALITY program is a rating and improvement system that gives Indiana families an easy way to evaluate and choose a preschool program that will work for them and their child by ranking preschool centers at one of four accreditation levels.

The Office also offers a voucher program to eligible low-income families called On My Way Pre-K that can pay for preschool services at highly-ranked preschool centers.

Those centers are always in need of motivated, highly qualified preschool teachers and administrators. Teaching preschool in Indiana goes beyond just getting the right credentials… to deliver a comprehensive, caring experience to pre-K students, you have to have the attitude and emotional IQ to both appreciate each individual child, and to mold them into socially adept and responsible students.

If you’ve got the heart and the personality for the job, then follow these steps to become licensed as a preschool teacher in Indiana:

Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program
Complete the Required Pedagogy and Content Examinations
Complete Additional Training Courses for Licensure
Apply for an Initial Teacher License
Apply for and Renew a Proficient (Standard) Teacher License



Step 1. Complete an Approved Teacher Preparation Program

To become a licensed preschool teacher in Indiana, you must complete an approved teacher preparation program, which may consist of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

The minimum degree requirement to achieve licensure as a preschool teacher in Indiana is a bachelor’s degree, although candidates who already possess a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program may complete a teacher preparation program that culminates in a master’s degree or post-baccalaureate (non-degree) certificate.

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In addition to coursework in early childhood education and child development, all teacher preparation programs consist of pedagogy coursework and a student teaching experience. There are currently 14 teacher preparation programs in Indiana in early childhood education.

Standards for early childhood education programs in Indiana include the following:

  • Foundations of scientifically based reading instruction
  • Components of scientifically based reading instruction
  • English language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Fine arts
  • Health, wellness, and physical education

Note: If you do not currently possess qualifying SAT, ACT, or GRE scores, you may need to take and pass the Indiana CORE Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) before you can be accepted into a teacher preparation program in Indiana. The CASA assesses candidates in three areas: reading, writing, and mathematics. Additional information on the CASA can be found here.



Step 2. Complete the Required Pedagogy and Content Examinations

Upon the successful completion of your teacher preparation program in early childhood education, you must take and pass two examinations:

Each examination requires a minimum score of 220 to pass, and both examinations can be taken by appointment, year-round at CBT sites across Indiana and nationwide. You can view registration and scheduling information through the examination administrator, Pearson Vue. There are testing centers located in Indianapolis, Carmel, and Kokomo.



Step 3. Complete Additional Training Courses for Licensure

All teachers in Indiana must complete training in the following to qualify for initial licensure:

  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Heimlich Maneuver

You can view a list of approved providers here. Note: If you already possess a valid certificate in any of the above life-saving techniques, you may be exempt from taking another training course.

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You must also complete a training program in child suicide prevention and intervention to qualify for initial licensure. A list of training programs for suicide prevention can be found here.



Step 4. Apply for an Initial Teacher License

Upon satisfying all requirements for initial licensure, you must complete the application process through the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS).

This site also provides users with manuals and training seminars that explain how to create and update a profile and apply for licensure in Indiana.



Step 5. Apply for and Renew a Proficient (Standard) Teacher License

To renew your initial license, which is valid for a period of two years, you must successfully complete an Indiana Mentor and Assessment Program (IMAP), a two-year program designed for new teachers in Indiana. After you have successfully completed the IMAP, you may apply for your 5-year proficient practitioner license.

In addition to completing the renewal application through LVIS, you must ensure that your employer has completed and sent an IDOE the School IMAP Approval Form to the Department.

Renewing a proficient practitioner license involves the completion of at least 6 semester hours of coursework at an accredited college or university. It is typical for preschool teachers in Indiana to apply their continuing education coursework hours toward the completion of a master’s degree (M.Ed. or M.A.T.) in early childhood education.

Indiana Preschool Teacher Salaries

Indiana preschool teachers and administrators can each expect a roughly 8.6 percent increase in the number of positions becoming available over the next decade according to the state Department of Workforce Development. That means about 80 openings per year for administrators and nearly 600 for teachers, a combination of both new positions and normal turnover in existing jobs as teachers enter retirement.

Special education teachers at the preschool level will see an even larger percentage increase, of 10.5 percent, for about 20 openings per year.

According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salaries in Indiana for each of those roles looked like this (median, top 25%, and top 10%):

Preschool Administrators: $40,690 – $51,490 – $64,140

Preschool Teacher: $25,220 – $30,910 – $37,960

Preschool Special Educator: $45,180 – $59,940 – $76,460

Below you’ll find salary information for specific Indiana metropolitan areas at the same levels, and with a selection of the largest local employers of preschool teachers and administrators.


Indianapolis teachers and administrators can expect salaries very similar to the state median numbers, but have a wealth of different preschools to choose from for jobs:

  • Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Primrose School
  • Carmel Cooperative Preschool
  • Carmel Clay Schools
  • Anderson Community Schools
  • Indiana Christian Academy
  • Discovery Junction Daycare and Preschool
  • La Petite Academy
  • Starting Line Preschool
  • Children’s Learning Adventure
  • Wayne Township Preschool
  • Children Of American

Schools and learning centers in the greater Indianapolis area offer preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and preschool administrators salaries that fall within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $40,500
  • 75th Percentile – $49,780
  • 90th Percentile – $64,000

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $27,250
  • 75th Percentile – $33,930
  • 90th Percentile – $39,420

Special Education Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $49,710
  • 75th Percentile – $62,070
  • 90th Percentile – $76,350

Fort Wayne

Early childhood education professionals can find positions at some of the following local preschools in the Fort Wayne area:

  • Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center
  • Kiddie Academy
  • Kiddie Prep School
  • Good Shepherd Preschool
  • Carepointe Academy
  • La Petite Academy
  • Taylor Chapel Preschool
  • Leap-N-Learn Preschool

Schools and learning centers in the Fort Wayne area offer preschool teachers and administrators salaries that fall within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $42,610
  • 75th Percentile – $55,650
  • 90th Percentile – $62,880

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $23,140
  • 75th Percentile – $26,670
  • 90th Percentile – $32,770

South Bend

If you are looking for work in South Bend as a preschool teacher, the following schools are some of the major employers in the field in that area:

  • La Petite Academy
  • First Connections Preschool
  • Good Shepherds Montessori
  • The Montessori Center
  • Sonshine Preschool
  • New Discoveries Preschool
  • Academy Arts Preschool
  • Growing Kids Learning Center

At preschools in South Bend, teachers can expect to earn salaries within this range:

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $25,410
  • 75th Percentile – $31,440
  • 90th Percentile – $38,190

Lafayette-West Lafayette

The Lafayette area doesn’t represent a huge market for preschool educators, but it does have a balanced selection of both religious and secular schools for teachers to choose from:

  • Shining Stars Preschool
  • STEAM Academy
  • Kiddie Kollege
  • Crestview Preschool
  • Montessori School of Greater Lafayette
  • Good Shepherd Learning Center
  • Kids Alive Preschool
  • Mary Cathedral Preschool

Public schools and private learning centers in the Lafayette area offer salaries that fall within this range:

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $25,930
  • 75th Percentile – $29,730
  • 90th Percentile – $35,700
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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 – 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 Indiana Department of Workforce Development and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and job growth data accessed in September 2019.

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