The Kansas Preschool Program (KPP) is in its ninth year under the jurisdiction of the Kansas State Department of Education. This program is constantly using research and data collected from the program – as well as other preschool programs – to improve early childhood education for children in Kansas. The school readiness framework combines the community, the family, the child and the educational environment to ensure that children who graduate from the KPP are ready to enter kindergarten. Preschool teachers in Kansas are a large part of the success of this program.
If you would like to become a preschool teacher in Kansas, follow the steps shown here:
|Complete a Degree and Educator Preparation Program|
|Pass the Tests Required of Preschool Teachers in Kansas|
|Apply for Your Kansas Teaching License|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your Kansas Teaching License|
Step 1. Complete a Degree and Educator Preparation Program in Kansas
The Kansas State Department of Education mandates that all preschool teachers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved in-state educator preparation program. If you graduated from an educator preparation program in another state, the Kansas State Board of Education will accept your credits if the educator licensing agency in that state accepts them. If you graduated from an educator preparation program in another country, a course-by-course evaluation of your credits must be completed by a credential evaluation agency on this page.
Additionally, you must meet Kansas’ recency requirement – that is, you must have completed either 8 credit hours of coursework or one year of teaching experience in the past six years prior to applying for licensure.
Preschool teachers in Kansas may be licensed in Birth through Kindergarten or Birth through Third Grade. Regardless of the endorsement area you choose, you will major in Early Childhood Education. Your coursework will consist of general requirements and professional studies. Courses that you are likely to encounter include:
- Human development
- Exceptional development in early childhood
- Language development
- Home, school and community partnerships
- Assessment of young children
- Behavior management
Experience for Preschool Teachers in Kansas
In addition to your coursework, you will complete a student teaching practicum in the pursuit of your degree. Generally, you must have completed all other requirements for a degree prior to beginning your student teaching.
You must pass a blood-borne pathogen training and receive a certificate, and also receive a TB skin test prior to student teaching.
You will undergo a criminal background check, and must receive approval from both your educator preparation program and the school into which you are placed for student teaching. Your student teaching practicum may last up to two semesters, and you will be placed directly into an age-appropriate classroom. (Depending upon the scope of the endorsement you seek, you will likely work with three different age groups). You may prepare lesson plans, assist the teacher, or take over the classroom teaching, depending upon your situation. Your performance in the classroom will be observed and graded by a licensed teacher/mentor.
Step 2. Pass the Tests Required of Preschool Teachers in Kansas
The Kansas State Department of Education requires all who wish to become preschool teachers to pass pedagogy and content assessments. These assessments are delivered by the Educational Testing Service and are better known as the Praxis exams. (Basic skills are not assessed as part of the teacher licensure requirements of the Department of Education – you may be asked to take the Praxis I basic skills tests as part of your educator preparation program).
You must pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood examination with a score of at least 160.
You must pass the Education of Young Children examination with a score of at least 160.
Both tests are offered at the following sites in Kansas:
- Overland Park
Step 3. Apply for Your Kansas Teaching License
If you have completed Steps 1 and 2 above, you are now ready to apply for your Kansas teaching license. If you are a graduate from a Kansas approved educator preparation program, you must consult the licensure officer at your school to obtain an application. A list of licensure officers at all approved programs in Kansas is here. He or she will help you to begin and coordinate the application process, which is usually done online. Application fees are also paid online.
Are you a graduate from an out-of-state educator preparation program? If so, you must use the Initial Out-of-State Application, as well as the Fingerprint Card. Out-of-country graduates will use the Initial Out-of-Country Application, the Fingerprint Card, and should have completed the credential evaluation process.
Although most of your application information and supporting documents will be submitted online, if you need to send anything by mail send it to Kansas State Department of Education, Teacher Licensure and Accreditation, Landon State Office Building, 900 SW Jackson St., Suite 106, Topeka, KS 66612-1212.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Kansas Teaching License
Congratulations! You now hold an initial Kansas teaching license! Your initial license is valid for two years, during which time you must complete the state’s Induction and Mentoring Program at the Kansas public school where you are teaching. Your school administrator will verify that you have completed this program when you apply to upgrade to a professional license.
Continuing Education for Kansas Preschool Teachers
Your Kansas Professional Teaching License is valid for five years. You must complete continuing education requirements during this five-year period based upon your degree status:
- Do you have just an undergraduate degree? If so, you must complete160 professional development points (PDP) offered by an approved local development council under your individual professional development plan. At least 80 PDPs must come from college courses. Your school district will work with you in developing your professional development plan.
- Do you have a graduate degree? If so, you must complete 120 PDPs offered by an approved local development council under your individual professional development plan
Note: If you wish to add another endorsement to your Professional Teaching License, you may apply eight semester hours of credit from that program towards your PDP total.
Requirements for Child Care Facilities in Kansas
The Kansas State Department of Education regulates preschool teachers in the public school system. Those who work with children in other settings are licensed and regulated by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. They fall under the following categories:
- Licensed Day Care Homes: In order to be licensed, the provider must be at least 18 years old, have first aid and CPR training as well as some child care training. He or she must also pass a KBI criminal history and child abuse and neglect check. A maximum of 10 children ages 16 and under may be enrolled.
- Group Day Care Homes: The provider must be at least 18 years old, have first aid and CPR training as well as some child care training. He or she must also pass a KBI criminal history and child abuse and neglect check. A maximum of 12 children ages 16 and under may be in the center.
- Child Care Centers: A program director that is qualified (requirements vary based upon the number of children in the facility) must be on staff full-time. All of the above training and background checks are required of all staff. To be called a child care center, the facility must offer educational activities and care for at least 13 children ages two weeks to 16 years for between 3 and 24 hours per day.
- Preschools: A program director that is qualified must be on staff full-time. All of the above training and background checks are required of all staff. In order to be called a preschool, the facility must provide educational services to children ages 30 months to kindergarten for no more than three hours per session. It must have at least 13 children enrolled.
Kansas Preschool Teacher Salaries
The number of preschool teacher jobs is expected to increase 1.5% a year in the ten-year period leading up to 2020, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. 358 jobs will become available during this period. This increase is 25% greater than the projected growth for all occupational classifications in Kansas.
The 2013 average preschool teacher salary in Kansas was $29,120 a year with experienced preschool teachers averaging $34,520. Those entering the workforce earned an average of $18,340 a year in 2013.
Kansas preschool teacher salaries varied widely in different areas of the state. Experienced preschool teachers made the most in the Topeka area, while the average entry-level salary was highest in the Manhattan area:
38% of the 2,160 preschool teachers employed in Kansas in 2013 were located in the Kansas City area. The second and third greatest concentrations were in the Wichita (13.4%) and Topeka (10.2%) areas.
More than half of the preschool teacher jobs that were advertised online on September 12, 2014, were in Johnson County. The rest were dispersed throughout Kansas. The second greatest concentration of jobs was in Douglas County. 14.6% were advertised there.
Most of the students who completed their formal preschool teacher education in Kansas in 2010 obtained associate’s degrees in Child Care and Support Services Management. 64.9% of these students got this degree. An additional 14% got bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education and Teaching, while 7.9% obtained associate’s degrees in this area.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 Pre-K teacher salaries in Kansas: