The Kansas Preschool Program (KPP) is the primary state-support for early childhood education in Kansas. Under the jurisdiction of the Kansas State Department of Education, this program offers evidence-based, community and school-driven early learning programs that aim to include every child in the state.
The school readiness framework brings together the community, the family, the child and the educational environment, all working in concert to ensure that children who graduate from the KPP are ready to enter kindergarten. With the support of the Early Childhood Team at KSDE, local agencies provide early learning opportunities with input from communities and teachers through a variety of programs, some of the largest of which include:
- Kansas Parents as Teachers
- Preschool-Aged At-Risk Program
- Kansas Kindergarten Readiness Snapshot Tool
Preschool teachers in Kansas are the major drivers behind the success of these programs. With education, engagement, and dedication, teachers across the state embrace the latest techniques and best practices to set entire classrooms of four-year-olds on a path to lifelong learning and character building. And the state always needs more!
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
New funding obtained in 2019 through the federally-sponsored Every Student Succeeds Act should give a shot in the arm to Kansas preschool teacher and administrator salaries.
That’s welcome news to preschool teachers, special education preschool teachers and preschool administrators. Current salaries in Louisiana as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 are shown here (median – top 25 percent – top 10 percent):
Preschool Administrators: $41,680 – $51,300 – $70,090
Preschool Teacher: $28,430 – $38,040 – $49,600
Preschool Special Educator: $53,730 – $63,420 – $77,050
The job growth rate for teachers and administrators in Kansas is close to what’s being seen in the rest of the country, which means good opportunities for anybody new to the field. The number of jobs for preschool teachers in the state is expected to increase by 9.4 percent, while administrators are expected to see a 10.5 percent increase by 2026. Special education teachers will see a steady but more moderate level of job growth, with an increase of 5.6 percent during that period.
About 270 openings are expected for early childhood educators every year during this period, as a result of both new job creation and normal turnover as teachers retire. Those jobs will be added in schools and learning centers like the ones listed below, shown here with the salary rates for a number of the larger cities in Kansas:
Wichita leads the pack in median preschool teacher salaries for the state, beating both the state and national numbers.
- Wichita Public Schools
- La Petite Academy
- Discovery Place Preschool
- Primrose School
- Kidslink Christian Preschool
- Plymouth Preschool
- Basic Beginnings Preschool
- Wichita Montessori School
- Learning Together Academy
- Small Wonder Preschool
Public schools and private learning centers in the greater Wichita area offer salaries to preschool teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators that fall within these ranges:
- Median – $39,180
- 75th Percentile – $46,370
- 90th Percentile – $50,790
- Median – $30,390
- 75th Percentile – $38,680
- 90th Percentile – $50,900
Special Education Preschool Teachers
- Median – $53,750
- 75th Percentile – $64,100
- 90th Percentile – $79,740
The huge metro area around Kansas City gives local teachers and administrators plenty of job opportunities at large preschool centers, including:
- Kansas City Public Schools
- La Petite Academy
- Little Sprouts Montessori
- Piper Unified Public Schools
- Earl Watson Preschool
- Morse Early Childhood Center
- Turner Unified School District
- Hillview Christian Children’s Center
- Kiddie Kollege
- Primrose School
- Purple Dragon Preschool
At preschools and other ECE settings in Kansas City, teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median – $47,520
- 75th Percentile – $61,300
- 90th Percentile – $77,270
- Median – $25,640
- 75th Percentile – $31,000
- 90th Percentile – $39,480
Special Education Preschool Teachers
- Median – $53,120
- 75th Percentile – $63,890
- 90th Percentile – $78,000
Preschool teachers and administrators can be found hard at work at any of the major schools in the Topeka area below:
- Topeka Public Schools
- Prince of Peace Preschool
- La Petite Academy
- Topeka Community Preschool
- Bright Circle Preschools
- Discovery Montessori School
- Matthew Early Learning Center
At preschools in Topeka, teachers and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median – $32,690
- 75th Percentile – $42,460
- 90th Percentile – $57,970
- Median – $25,490
- 75th Percentile – $31,040
- 90th Percentile – $42,080
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_ks.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 Kansas 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.