Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Nebraska

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, Nebraska preschools enrolled 13,938 children for the 2017-2018 school year, continuing an upward trend in the state supporting early childhood education.

That number represented an increase of more than 1,000 kids over the prior year, and more kids mean a need for more teachers. The state’s Office of Early Childhood recognizes that the formative years are among the most important, and their emphasis on improving services has not only driven programs to expand, but also pushed teachers to up their game.

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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.

You can review the steps in our 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 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program serves children from birth to kindergarten (B-K). Operated by Nebraska public school districts and teacher unions, 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



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.

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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 [email protected] 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.

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

Ready to start your preschool teaching career with a bachelor’s degree in ECE or advance your career with a Master’s degree in ECE? Check out our comprehensive list of ECE degrees by State at various levels to determine what program is right for you.


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 state Department of Labor expects preschool teaching positions to increase by 8.5 percent between 2016 and 2026. Between new positions being created and turnover in existing jobs as teachers enter retirement, there’s expected to be an average of 100 openings every year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2018, those teachers made better money than their counterparts in most of the rest of the country (median, top 25% and top 10%):

Preschool Administrators: $45,280 – $58,670 – $78,100

Preschool Teacher: $32,140 – $48,420 – $64,760

Preschool Special Educator: $52,450 – $65,060 – $76,550

Grand Island, in fact, is the second highest paying metropolitan area for preschool teachers in the entire country, handily beating out major cities like New York.

Administrators and special educators in the state can both command lucrative salaries as well, although neither their pay nor growth rates beat the national numbers in the same way that front-line preschool teachers do.

Omaha-Council Bluffs

Preschool teachers in the Omaha area easily beat the national wages at all levels, while special educators in early childhood education are paid better at the median level than their national counterparts.

  • Omaha Public Schools
  • Council Bluffs Community School District
  • Montessori Children’s Academy
  • Maplewood Preschool
  • Rainbow Factory Preschool
  • Primrose School of Legacy
  • Hamilton Heights Child Development Center
  • Rosewood Academy
  • Edward Zorinsky Child Development Center
  • La Petite Academy
  • Montessori Children’s House
  • Beginning Memories Preschool

Schools and learning centers in the greater Omaha-Council Bluffs area offer salaries that fall within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $43,820
  • 75th Percentile – $50,510
  • 90th Percentile – $71,640

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $35,380
  • 75th Percentile – $53,420
  • 90th Percentile – $70,400

Special Education Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $56,810
  • 75th Percentile – $68,750
  • 90th Percentile – $80,630


These are some of the larger employers of preschool teachers in the Lincoln Area, led by the Lincoln Public Schools comprehensive early childhood program.

  • Lincoln Public Schools
  • La Petite Academy
  • Montessori School for Young Children
  • Here We Grow Preschool
  • Sprouts
  • Wee Wisdom Christian Preschool
  • Educare
  • True Knowledge Preschool
  • Adventure Academy Child Development Center

At preschools in Lincoln, teachers and administrators can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:

Preschool Administrators

  • Median – $45,950
  • 75th Percentile – $56,390
  • 90th Percentile – $63,010

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $24,490
  • 75th Percentile – $30,070
  • 90th Percentile – $47,840

Grand Island

Although there are only around 30 preschool teachers in Grand Island, they are among the best paid in the country!

  • Grand Island Public Schools
  • Presbyterian Preschool
  • Peace Lutheran Preschool
  • Twisters Preschool Academy

Public schools and private learning centers in Grand Island offer salaries that fall within this range:

Preschool Teachers

  • Median – $64,030
  • 75th Percentile – $83,570
  • 90th Percentile – $100,360
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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 – 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 Nebraska Department of Labor and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – Employment conditions in your area may vary.

All salary and job growth data accessed in September 2019.

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