In 2012, Louisiana dramatically overhauled its systems for funding and overseeing early childhood services when it established the Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Network (LECCEN).
That larger, statewide network is actually built from 65 local networks that together comprise every publicly funded Pre-K, childcare, and Head Start program in the state. In addition to the federal funds provided for Head Start programs, the state itself offers a variety of mechanisms for funding pre-K programs, some of the most active including:
- Cecil J. Picard LA 4 Early Childhood Program – Serves more than 16,000 children from disadvantaged families in full-day pre-K programs
- Nonpublic Schools Early Childhood Development Program – Offers pre-K programming to more than 1,300 children from low-income families in private preschools and child care centers
- 8(g) Student Enhancement Block Grant Program – Supports more than 3,000 at-risk preschool students at local elementary schools
That array of funding ensures an equally diverse set of career opportunities for teachers, administrators, and special educators in Louisiana who work with preschoolers in both public schools and private learning centers, serving diverse communities around the state.
Preschool teachers who are certified in Early Childhood Education in Louisiana may teach children from prekindergarten through grade three.
If you would like to become a preschool teacher in Louisiana, follow the steps outlined here:
|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
According to the Louisiana Department of Labor, preschool-level administrators, teachers, and special educators are due to experience job growth of between 5.7 and 6.5 percent between 2016 and 2026. That will result in nearly 500 openings per year statewide as a result of both new job creation and turnover in existing positions as teachers retire.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, in Louisiana those professionals could expect respectable salary rates, shown here as a range from the median, to top 25%, to top 10% for the respective positions:
Preschool Administrators: $40,080 – $55,680 – $66,430
Preschool Teacher: $28,960 – $40,390 – $50,820
Preschool Special Educator: $48,970 – $54,970 – $61,720
There is also the potential for salary increases for Louisiana’s early childhood educators: in January 2019, the state announced that it would receive nearly $8 million from the federal government and private sources to improve the quality of ECE programs in the state.
In addition to fueling addition positions in the industry, the money is likely to drive up salaries for highly qualified individuals working in these positions.
Below are some of the major metropolitan areas in the state, listed together with some of the larger preschools in those areas and estimates of what those employers pay.
The New Orleans area isn’t just the largest when it comes to the number of preschools and jobs available in early childhood education, it’s also the area with some of the highest salaries in the state.
- Jefferson Parish Schools
- Audubon Charter School
- The Preschool Learning Center
- Orleans Parish School Board
- Diana Head Start Center
- Young and Beautifull Preschool Learning Center
- Kid’s World
- Green Trees
- The Love Center
- Rainbow Academy
- Aurora United Methodist Preschool
- Shiloh Gardens Preschool
- Gentilly East
- James M. Singleton Head Start
- Small World Academy
At preschools and Head Start programs in in the greater New Orleans area, teachers, early childhood special educators, and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median – $56,230
- 75th Percentile – $63,720
- 90th Percentile – $76,500
- Median – $27,670
- 75th Percentile – $37,990
- 90th Percentile – $49,390
Special Education Preschool Teachers
- Median – $51,800
- 75th Percentile – $58,650
- 90th Percentile – $62,910
Preschool teachers in Baton Rouge can expect to make nearly as much as their counterparts in the more populous New Orleans area.
- East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System
- Country Day School of Baton Rouge
- Family Christian Academy Preschool
- Runnels School Preschool
- First Step Day Care & Learning Center
- O’Neal KinderCare
- Patrick Catholic Preschool
Schools and learning centers in the Baton Rouge area offer preschool teachers and administrators salaries that fall within these ranges:
- Median – $34,150
- 75th Percentile – $38,660
- 90th Percentile – $42,080
- Median – $25,990
- 75th Percentile – $37,390
- 90th Percentile – $49,210
Lafayette teachers start off with salaries very close to some of the larger metros, but the area really takes off when you get to the top ten percent of the profession, where it delivers the highest salary level in the state.
- Little Blessings Childcare and Preschool
- Truman Early Childhood Education Center
- Asbury Preschool
- Butterflies Preschool
- Kid City
- Holy Rosary Head Start
- Mary Early Learning Center
These public schools and private learning centers in the greater Lafayette area offer salaries to preschool teachers and early childhood special educators that fall within these ranges:
- Preschool Teachers
- Median – $28,790
- 75th Percentile – $41,610
- 90th Percentile – $50,360
- Special Education Preschool Teachers
- Median – $49,770
- 75th Percentile – $56,180
- 90th Percentile – $62,020
Shreveport preschool teachers are unusual in that they can command higher rates of pay than administrators in the region when they get to the top level of the profession.
- Caddy Parish Public Schools
- Brown E. Moore Head Start
- Colquitt Christian Academy
- Paul’s Episcopal Day School
- Genesis Academy
- Plume Academy
- Asbury Ark Academy
- Hooter Park Head Start Center
- Bossier Parish Schools
At preschools in the Shreveport-Bossier City region, teachers and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median – $34,450
- 75th Percentile – $38,060
- 90th Percentile – $41,440
- Median – $32,510
- 75th Percentile – $38,660
- 90th Percentile – $48,620
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_la.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 Louisiana 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.