According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, there were about 16,000 preschool teachers, special ed ECE teachers, and preschool administrators working in Ohio in 2016. By 2026, this total is projected to increase to about 19,000. This sort of impressive growth is undoubtedly fueled by Ohio’s commitment to early education and willingness to invest in it. In fact, as of 2019, this investment include an annual allocation of $73 million through the Early Education Childhood Grant.
The dedicated educators of the state’s youngest learners work in a variety of settings, including public schools, eligible community schools, educational service centers, chartered nonpublic schools, and boards of development disabilities, all of which are licensed through the Ohio Department of Education. With the right education and state credentials, you can turn your passion for teaching into an exciting and fulfilling career in Ohio’s early education system.
To qualify for an early childhood educator license in Ohio, you must complete the following steps:
|Complete an Educator Preparation Program in Early Childhood (P-3)|
|Complete the Appropriate Pedagogy/Content Examinations|
|Apply for a Resident Educator License|
|Apply for and Maintain a Professional Educator License|
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is responsible for licensing and monitoring all early childhood programs operated through the state’s public schools, chartered nonpublic schools, and county boards of developmental disabilities. The ODE also licenses and monitors all childcare programs that receive state or federal funding.
Early childhood education in Ohio caters to young children, from birth to age 8. The Ohio educator’s license is therefore designed for educators teaching children in this age range, which includes preschool through primary.
An early childhood license in Ohio allows you to teach pre-K through grade 3. You may also pursue an associate license in Ohio, which allows you to teach just preschool.
Step 1. Complete an Educator Preparation Program in Early Childhood (P-3)
The first step to becoming licensed as a preschool teacher in Ohio is to complete a teacher preparation program in Early Childhood Education (P-3). You can find a list of approved programs here.
Approved teacher preparation programs in Ohio result in a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. They also include all components necessary for licensure, including pedagogy coursework and field/student teaching experiences.
The ODE requires a minimum of 12 weeks of full-time student teaching and a minimum of 100 clock hours of field experience prior to student teaching.
Other programs at the graduate (master’s degree) or post-baccalaureate (non-degree certificate) level are also available for candidates who already possess an undergraduate degree.
Pre-K Associate Licensure
If you do not plan to teach outside of the preschool setting, you may decide to pursue Pre-Kindergarten Associate Licensure. This five-year license requires the completion of an associate’s degree, but it allows you to only teach pre-k (ages 3-5), instead of the standard early childhood teaching license in Ohio, which allows you to teach from preschool to grade 3.
To qualify for an associate pre-k license in Ohio, you must take and pass the following Ohio Assessments for Educators content examination (there is no pedagogy examination requirement) following the completion of an associate’s degree program in early childhood education/development:
The application and renewal process for prekindergarten associate licenses are the same (see Step 4).
Step 2. Complete the Appropriate Pedagogy and Content Examinations
Upon the successful completion of an approved educator preparation program, you must take and pass a pedagogy examination and content examination through the Ohio Assessments for Educators. This state specific assessment replaced the Praxis II series in September 2013.
To become licensed in early childhood education, you must take and pass the following examinations:
- Content Knowledge: Early Childhood Education
- Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Early Childhood (PK-3)
You may make an appointment to take these examinations year-round at Pearson Vue testing centers (and other CBT sites) throughout the U.S.
Step 3. Apply for a Resident Educator License
Upon meeting all requirements for initial licensure as a preschool teacher in Ohio, you must apply for a four-year Resident Educator License. (Note: two-year provisional licenses are no longer issued to new teachers in Ohio.)
While working under a Resident Educator License, you will complete the Ohio Resident Educator Program, Ohio’s beginning teacher induction program.
The Resident Educator Program is a highly structured program that is designed to provide new teachers with professional support and mentorship during their first years of teaching and ongoing support throughout their residency. You can learn more about the program and its components here.
As of January 2014, all first-time and renewal licensure applications must be completed online through SAFE, Ohio’s online portal. You can learn more about creating a SAFE account and applying online here.
Step 4. Apply for and Maintain a Professional Educator License
After you have successfully completed the Resident Educator Program, you may apply for a Professional Educator license, which is valid for a period of 5 years.
To renew your professional educator license, you must complete the following:
- At least 6 semester hours of coursework related to classroom teaching or early childhood education
- At least 18 continuing education units (180 contact hours) related to classroom teaching or early childhood education
You must create and maintain a professional development plan and receive approval from a local professional development committee (within your school district). Your professional development plan should be based on your needs, your students’ needs, and your school and school district needs.
Ohio Preschool Teacher Salaries
The total number of preschool teachers, special ed preschool teachers, and preschool administrators tops that of neighboring states, in many cases. For example, Ohio is home to about 2,000 more preschool teachers than Pennsylvania (15,390 vs. 13,480).
Average salaries, however, for these early childhood educators in the Buckeye State come in slightly below the national average, in many cases. For example, the median salary for preschool teachers here is $26,280 – about $3,000 below the national median of $29,780. Preschool special education teachers are the exception in Ohio, with those in the top 25% earning about $8,000 more than the national average, and those in the top 10% earning $12,000 more.
Statewide, Ohio educators at the preschool level typically earn salaries within these ranges (at the median, 75th and 90th percentiles):
- Preschool teachers: $26,280 – $31,270 – $43,060
- Special education teacher, preschool: $63,950 – $84,210 – $98,180
- Preschool administrators: $43,940 – $57,480 – $73,690
The following information from the reveals salaries for ECE professionals working in some of Ohio’s major metropolitan areas, along with some of the top preschools found there.
In addition to private schools, the Cincinnati Public School Preschools program includes no less than 42 sites and 120 preschool classrooms throughout the Cincinnati metro area. A sampling of preschool programs here, both public and private, include:
- Academy of World Languages Elementary School
- Clough Pike Elementary School
- Beautiful Savior Lutheran
- Mercy Montessori Center
- Sayler Park Elementary School
- The New School
- Summit Elementary School
Preschool teachers, special education preschool teachers, and preschool administrators earn the following salaries in Cincinnati:
- Median: $28,730
- 75th percentile: $38,960
- 90th percentile: $56,340
Special education preschool teachers:
- Median: $70,280
- 75th percentile: $91,400
- 90th percentile: $101,180
- Median: $47,580
- 75th percentile: $62,760
- 90th percentile: $78,240
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District provides full-day integrated preschool, half-day special education, full-day special education, and autism-specific preschool programs throughout the Cleveland area. Some of the other preschool programs available in Cleveland include:
- The Music Settlement
- West Park Discovery World
- Brightside Academy
- Horizon Montessori School
- Ready Set Grow Preschool
- Discovery Kids & Preschool
Preschool teachers, special ed preschool teachers, and preschool administrators can expect to earn the following salaries in Cleveland:
- Median: $25,570
- 75th percentile: $30,040
- 90th percentile: $36,900
Preschool special education teachers:
- Median: $62,550
- 75th percentile: $90,300
- 90th percentile: $100,850
- Median: $40,470
- 75th percentile: $48,130
- 90th percentile: $57,690
Columbus City Schools offers a pre-K program for all four- and five-year-olds in the metro area, with placement determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Other area employers for preschool educators in Columbus include:
- Enchanted Care Learning Center
- The Wellington School
- YMCA of Central Ohio
- La Petite Academy
- Hilltop Preschool
- Overbrook Preschool
Preschool teachers, special ed preschool teachers, and preschool administrators in Columbus’ Head Start Programs, government-subsidized schools, and private programs can expect to earn salaries within these ranges:
- Median: $26,720
- 75th percentile: $32,230
- 90th percentile: $44,350
Preschool special education teachers:
- Median: $70,980
- 75th percentile: $87,730
- 90th percentile: $98,760
- Median: $49,050
- 75th percentile: $59,820
- 90th percentile: $71,080
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_oh.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 Ohio Department of Family and Job Services 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.