Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that there are currently 16,700 preschool teachers employed statewide, with the Columbus (3,820) Cincinnati (3,750), and Cleveland (3,220) metropolitan areas employing the highest number of these early childhood educators.

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 a new test series: 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:

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

Preschool teachers engage children between the ages of three and five in activities that promote social, physical and intellectual development. In 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that Ohio’s 16,140 actively employed preschool teachers earned an annual mean salary of $25,520.

Early childhood educators are employed in a number of settings in Ohio. The public school system generally pays the highest salaries. The following lists potential preschool teacher employers in Ohio, in order of highest to lowest paying:

Public schools
Religious organizations
Family services
Civic/social organizations
Day care services
Salaries vary by education, experience, longevity and geographic location. Teachers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in early childhood education command higher starting salaries than those with an associate’s degree. The top earners are usually teachers who have been with the school the longest as well as those with the most education.

The annual mean salaries across the Buckeye state are all within $6,000 of each other except for Mansfield which has an annual mean salary that is $20,000 higher than the next highest-paying city (Sandusky). The US Department of Labor states that Mansfield, Ohio is the third highest paying metropolitan area in the nation for early childhood educators

The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics shows early education teacher salaries in Ohio as of 2013 listed by city and non-metro area:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Akron OH
Canton-Massillon OH
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH
Columbus OH
Dayton OH
Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH
Lima OH
Mansfield OH
Estimate not released
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna WV-OH
Sandusky OH
Springfield OH
Steubenville-Weirton OH-WV
Toledo OH
Wheeling WV-OH
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA
West Northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area
Eastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
Southern Ohio nonmetropolitan area

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