Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Nebraska

Review the steps in this guide to learn how to become a preschool teacher in Nebraska:

Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program in Early Childhood Education
Submit Fingerprints and Apply for an Initial Nebraska Teaching Certificate
Consider Applying for a Provisional Commitment Certificate
Advance to a Standard Teaching License, then to a Professional Teaching Certificate
Renew your Teaching Certificate in Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood reported that in the 2012-13 school year, 168 school districts in the State had an early childhood center-based program. Another five educational service units (ESUs) had a center-based program catering to an additional 24 school districts. The Nebraska Office of Early Childhood reported that 12,970 children in Nebraska were enrolled in these early childhood programs during this time.

The Nebraska Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program serves children from birth to kindergarten (B-K). Operated by Nebraska public school districts and ESUs, the ECE Program supports the learning and development of B-K children through home- and center-based settings. Many of the full and part-day center-based programs are provided in partnership with community agencies.

Preschool programs must meet Nebraska’s Core Competencies, which include the following nine areas of knowledge and skill:

  • Child growth and development
  • Health, safety, and nutrition
  • Learning environments
  • Planning, learning experiences, and curriculum
  • Interacting with children and providing guidance to children
  • Observation, assessment, and documentation
  • Partnerships with families and communities
  • Professionalism and leadership
  • Administration, program planning, and development

Teachers in center-based and home-based programs must hold a Nebraska teaching certificate in early childhood education, early childhood special education, early childhood unified, or early childhood and a special education endorsement.



Step 1. Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program in Early Childhood Education

To become a preschool teacher in Nebraska, you must first successfully complete a State-approved educator preparation program in Early Childhood Education (PK-3), Early Childhood Inclusive (B-3), or Early Childhood Special Education (B-K).

Currently, there are 11 programs in Early Childhood Education, 7 programs in Early Childhood Inclusive, and 1 program in Early Childhood Special Education.

Nebraska also maintains a list of approved online educator preparation programs.

Depending on your highest degree earned, you may complete an educator preparation program at the bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree level. Regardless of the degree earned, all educator preparation programs in Nebraska include the pedagogy coursework and student teaching experience/internship requirements for initial licensure in Nebraska.

The Department of Education also requires the completion of a special education course and a human relations training course, both of which are typically completed as part of a Nebraska approved educator preparation program.



Step 2. Submit Fingerprints and Apply for an Initial Nebraska Teaching Certificate

If you are applying for an initial Nebraska certificate and you have not been a resident of Nebraska in the immediate past 5 years, you must submit two complete sets of fingerprints with your application for Nebraska certification.

Fingerprints for a Nebraska Teacher Certification must be completed on two fingerprint cards provided by the Nebraska Department of Education. For fingerprint cards, contact the Department at or at 402-471-0739. You can complete the fingerprinting process at any law enforcement office or state patrol office.

After you have begun the fingerprinting process, you must apply for an initial Nebraska teaching certificate, which includes the completion of the following:



Step 3. Consider Applying for a Provisional Commitment Certificate

A Provisional Commitment Certificate for Nebraska Certification, which is valid for one year, is designed for candidates who have made arrangements for employment in a Nebraska public school before having finished an approved educator preparation program at the graduate or post-baccalaureate level. To qualify for a Provisional Commitment Certificate, you must have completed:

  • A baccalaureate degree; AND
  • At least 50 percent of your pre-student teaching requirements, including a course in teaching methods; AND
  • At least 75 percent of the requirements for your early childhood education endorsement

Program requirements must be determined by the college certificate officer at the teacher education institution where you are completing an approved educator preparation program.

To apply for a Provisional Commitment Certificate, you must submit the following:



Step 4. Advance to a Standard Teaching License, then to a Professional Teaching Certificate

Standard Teaching License

To qualify for a standard teaching license in Nebraska, you must have at least two years or more of part-time experience while holding an initial teaching certificate. To apply for a standard teaching license, you must submit the following:

Professional Teaching Certificate

To qualify for a professional teaching certificate in Nebraska, you must achieve one of the following:

  • A master’s degree in early childhood education or a related area (must include education-related coursework in early childhood education)


  • National Board Certification from a credentialing organization approved by the Department


  • A six-year specialist’s certificate or doctorate degree in the same area of endorsement that was completed at the master’s degree level; AND

You must also hold a valid Nebraska standard teaching certificate OR be able to verify at least 2 years of experience in a school system in the past 5 years.



Step 5. Renew your Teaching Certificate in Nebraska

To renew an initial, standard, or professional certificate in Nebraska, you must submit the following:

  • Online application form
  • Verification of Experience showing at least one year of teaching experience within the past 5 years
  • Proof of the completion of at least 6 semester hours of professional development in the past 5 years; must include at least the following:
      • A course in instructional techniques
      • A practicum of at least 100 or more clock hours of contact with students in the classroom setting; at least 50 percent of the time must be under the supervision of a cooperating teacher
      • Courses that address current issues in education, such as:
        • Gifted education
        • Early childhood education reading and writing
        • School law


    • Remaining coursework must be directly related to your area of endorsement

Nebraska Preschool Teacher Salaries

The role of preschool teachers is to help parents introduce the fundamentals of learning and development during the period of crucial development before a child enrolls in elementary school. The need for early childhood educators has been consistently high in Nebraska since 2006.

The Nebraska Department of Labor has indicated in the most recent Nebraska Occupational and Industry Projections study that the demand for early childhood educators in the state will grow by 24% between 2006 and 2016. In fact, the number of preschool students has increased from 16,008 in the 2010-11 school year to 17,835 in the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 10.2%.

Overall, the average entry-level salary for early childhood educators in Nebraska is $17,380, which grows to $22,725 after spending some time in the field. These rates are slightly diminished in the Omaha Metro Area, with the average entry-level and overall average salaries coming in at $17,280 and $22,345.

The average salary for teachers who have completed enough education to work in Nebraska’s Head Start Program increases based on level of education:

Child Development Associate – $20,901
Associates Degree – $23,954
Baccalaureate Degree – $27,612
Graduate Degree – $34,742
More comprehensive salary information for preschool teachers in Nebraska can be found on this Bureau of Labor Statistics report filed in 2013:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Lincoln NE
Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
Sioux City IA-NE-SD
Western Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
Northeastern Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
Southeastern Nebraska nonmetropolitan area

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