Preschool teachers who are certified in Early Childhood Education in Louisiana may teach children from prekindergarten through grade three. Louisiana is developing a unified Early Childhood System of Local Networks, which is expected to be operational by 2015-16. When finished, this network will provide more Louisiana children with access to publicly funded early childhood programs. The Louisiana Department of Education is hopeful that this network will enable more Louisiana children to be ready for success in kindergarten, primary school and throughout their entire academic careers.
If you would like to become a preschool teacher in Louisiana:
|Complete a Degree and Teacher Preparation Program|
|Pass the Tests Required for Early Childhood Educator Certification|
|Apply for Your Louisiana Teaching Certificate|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your Louisiana Teaching Certificate|
Step 1. Complete a Degree and Teacher Preparation Program in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Education requires all preschool teachers to complete a bachelor’s degree (at minimum) at a regionally accredited college or university.
Additionally, you must complete one of the following in order to become certified as a preschool teacher in Louisiana:
Traditional – Complete an approved teacher preparation program for Early Childhood Education. Your teacher preparation program may be in a state other than Louisiana as long as it takes place at a regionally accredited institution.
If you pursue certification through the traditional approved teacher preparation program, you will need to complete field experiences and student teaching. Under state law, you must complete a minimum of 180 hours of field experience and at least one semester of student teaching prior to certification as a early childhood educator.
Plan on taking courses such as or similar to the following when pursuing Early Childhood Education certification in Louisiana:
- Family Systems and Services
- Development of Young Children in Context
- The Learner with Special Needs
- Integrating Technology
- Children’s Literature
- Young Children’s Cognitive and Linguistic Development
- Critical Issues in Early Childhood Education
Alternative – Complete one of the following alternative certification routes:
- Practitioner Teacher Program – Allows you to teach full-time while completing approved coursework in Early Childhood Education
- Master’s Degree Program – Allows you to pursue a master’s degree through approved coursework while seeking teacher certification in Early Childhood Education. You may also opt to teach under a Practitioner Certificate 3 while completing this program.
- Certification Only Program– Allows you to complete approved certification courses in Early Childhood Education face-to-face or online. You must teach under a Practitioner Certificate 2 after completing classroom readiness training and while completing the remainder of your certification course requirements.
Step 2. Pass the Tests Required for Early Childhood Educator Certification
During your teacher preparation program in Louisiana, you will be required to pass Praxis I (basic skills) and II (content area) examinations.
Basic Skills Exams
The Praxis I exams test your basic skills and consist of:
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading with a passing score of 156
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing with a passing score of 162
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics with a pasing score of 150
If you received any of the following scores on previous assessments, you are exempt from taking the Core exams:
- ACT: composite score of 22
- SAT: combined verbal and math score of 1030
Additionally, if you pursue the alternate route master’s degree program, you may be exempt from taking the Core exams.
Content Area Exams
In order to become certified to teach Early Childhood Education in Louisiana, you must pass the following Praxis II exams:
- Elementary Education: Content Knowledge with a passing sore of 150
- Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood pedagogy examination with a passing score of 157
You will likely take the Praxis examinations at your college or university. Testing centers in Louisiana are found in the following cities:
- New Orleans
- Lake Charles
- Bossier City
- Baton Rouge
Step 3. Apply for Your Louisiana Teaching Certificate
Once you have completed the educational, experiential and examination requirements in Louisiana, you are ready to apply for your Level 1 Professional Teaching Certificate. The certification official at your Louisiana teacher preparation program will give you the application packet. Along with the completed application, you will need to submit:
- Official sealed college transcripts
- Praxis score reports (originals, not copies)
- Application fee ($50) made payable to Louisiana Department of Education
- Completed Professional Conduct Form (in application packet)
Mail everything to Louisiana Department of Education, Certification Department, P.O. Box 94064, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064. The Department will notify you within 15 days that they have received your application and documentation. Check the status of your certification application at any time here.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Louisiana Teaching Certificate
Congratulations! You are now a certified preschool teacher in Louisiana!
During the first three years you teach under your Level 1 Professional Certificate, you are expected to pass the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program, an induction and mentoring program for all new teachers in the state. You must also teach for three years in Early Childhood Education and receive three years of positive evaluations of your work by your employer before you may upgrade to a Level 2 Professional Certificate. The request to upgrade your certificate must be submitted directly from your school district to the Louisiana Department of Education.
In order to upgrade to a Level 3 Certificate, you must hold a master’s degree, teach for five years in Early Childhood Education, and have at least three years of positive evaluations by your district on file. Your employing district must submit this request to the DOE.
Renewal and Standards of Effectiveness for Louisiana Teaching Certificates
Renewing your teaching certificate varies depending upon its level:
- Level 1 Certificates may be renewed once for an additional three years, but only at the request of your school district
- Level 2 and Level 3 Certificates may be renewed by meeting standards of effectiveness (As of August 2012, continuing education is no longer mandated by the DOE but may be required by each district – check with your district to find out its rules)
Requirements for Child Care Facilities in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services licenses childcare facilities across the state and maintains minimum standards for staff. All childcare centers licensed in the state are also rated by the Department of Education through the Louisiana Quality Start Child Care Rating System.
Child care centers in Louisiana are licensed as Class A or Class B. Regulations for each class vary by staff size, training requirements, payments and forms of discipline. All Louisiana licensed child care centers are licensed to provide care for a minimum of seven children for 12 ½ hours each day, seven days a week. Some of the differences found between Class A and Class B centers include:
- Class A centers prohibit physical/corporal punishment, but Class B do not
- Class A centers require all staff to have 12 hours of continuing education each year; Class B staff must have three hours of continuing education each year
- 50 percent of Class A staff must have Pediatric First Aid training; there is no such training requirement for Class B staff
Louisiana Preschool Teacher Salaries
The field of early childhood education is growing nationally and in Louisiana as the population of young children grows and educators place an increasing emphasis on formal education for Pre-K students.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission found preschool teachers to be one of the fastest growing occupations in several regions in their projections for the ten-year period ending in 2016.
Growth is projected to be particularly high in these regions:
The 2013 median preschool teacher salary in Louisiana was $28,746. Experienced professionals in the 75th percentile earned $42,619 on average while entry-level preschool teachers in the 25th percentile averaged $20,280 a year. Salaries were particularly high in the Houma region:
Areas outside of urban regions can also provide high preschool teacher salaries. The New Iberia nonmetropolitan area was the fifth highest paying such area in the country for preschool teachers in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Nearly half of the 3,140 preschool teachers employed in Louisiana in 2013 were located in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. 24.8% were located in the New Orleans area, while 22% were in the Baton Rouge area.
The BLS provides a detailed analysis of 2013 Pre-K teacher salaries throughout Louisiana: