Vermont’s preschool teachers are recognized as some of the most influential figures in a young child’s success in grade school. Statewide in Vermont there is approximately one preschool teacher for every 25 children under the age of five.
Last year the official employment numbers counted 1,240 preschool teachers employed across the state. The largest concentration of preschool teacher jobs in Vermont was in the Burlington-South Burlington area, which was home to 440 of these early childhood development specialists. This is compared with the northern and southern non-metropolitan areas of the state, which employed 300 and 500 preschool teachers respectively.
Preschools in Vermont have some discretion when it comes to hiring standards and qualifications for preschool teachers. However to ensure a basic level of quality, all early childhood education programs in the state must be licensed by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Child Care Services Division.
To become a preschool teacher in Vermont in accordance with these basic licensure guidelines, you will need to complete the following steps:
|Earn a Degree in Early Childhood Development or Education|
|Consider the Preschool Teaching Options in Vermont|
|Maintain and Improve Your Preschool Teaching Qualifications|
Step 1. Earn a Degree in Early Childhood Development or Education
The preschool teacher certification requirements in Vermont state that all preschool teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development or a closely related field.
You must also have at least one year of experience teaching preschoolers before you will be allowed to work as a preschool teacher. In fulfilling this experience requirement, you may also be eligible for a Vermont Department of Education teaching license with an endorsement in early childhood education.
If you are earning a state Department of Education teaching license, you will also need to complete an approved teacher preparation program in early childhood education. You can complete this program through the education department at your college or university. It will focus on developing your pedagogical skills in early childhood education. As part of this you will have the opportunity to complete a student teaching segment where you will be placed in a preschool classroom with a supervising teacher. In Vermont you will find:
- 3 undergraduate early childhood education teacher preparation programs
- 2 post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs in early childhood education
- 2 master’s degree teacher preparation programs in early childhood education
You may wish to consider the post-bac and graduate teacher preparation programs, especially if you have already completed a bachelor’s degree, or if you want to work at a level higher than a basic preschool teacher. Earning a Department of Education teaching license in early childhood education will allow you to teach a range of students from preschoolers to third graders.
As you complete your degree at the undergraduate level, you can expect to take courses in:
- Child psychology
- Reading and language development
- Creating an integrated preschool curriculum
- Teaching preschool students with special needs
- Human rights and responsibilities
- Preschool classroom management
- Preschool and elementary school language arts methods
- Preschool teaching practicum and student teaching
Earning a master’s degree such as an M.A.T., M.Ed. or MATL with an emphasis in early childhood education or closely related field will allow you to be an advanced-level preschool teacher and give you additional professional options.
Step 2. Consider the Preschool Teaching Options in Vermont
Vermont’s preschools employ several levels of preschool educators, which each have corresponding minimum requirements:
- Preschool Teaching Assistant – high school diploma or equivalent, at least 18 years of age, and at least one of the following:
- Completion of a 30-hour course in child development approved by the Child Care Services Division
- Completion of a college course that is at least 3 credits in childhood development within one year of hire
- Preschool Teaching Associate – one of the following requirements:
- Associate’s degree in early childhood development
- Associate’s degree in human/child development
- Associate’s degree in a closely related field
- A Child Care Certificate from Community College of Vermont plus two years of experience with preschoolers
- Completion of a human services program in child development or early childhood education that results in a professional child care certificate
- Completion of at least 12 credits and four college courses relating to early childhood education, plus at least three years of preschool work experience
- A Certificate of Completion from the Registered Child Care Apprenticeship Program
- Preschool Teachers – bachelor’s degree at minimum and the completion of a teacher preparation program (requirements discussed above in Step. 1)
- Master Preschool Teacher – two years of experience with preschoolers plus one of the following education credentials:
- Master’s degree in early childhood education
- Master’s degree in human/child development
- Master’s degree in another closely related subject area
While preschools must meet the minimum staff qualification requirements set forth by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ Child Care Services Division, many schools choose to go above and beyond these regulations and develop their own preschool teacher job description. Individual preschools can set their own degree, certification, education, and experience requirements for preschool teachers, and preschools with the highest standards do just this.
Considered to have a high percentage of competent preschool teachers, the Vermont Head Start Program was established to prepare economically disadvantaged preschool students for success in primary school. Last year, Head Start programs across the state taught 1,934 students in nurturing preschool environments. One of the ways this program maintains the quality of its education is by hiring top-notch educators with a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license from the state’s Department of Education.
Step 3. Maintain and Improve Your Preschool Teaching Qualifications
Each preschool will also determine any continuing training or education requirements you must complete to maintain your employment. These must include the minimum annual professional development requirements mandated by the Child Care Services Division, and may also include a requirement such as maintaining your Department of Education teaching license.
To meet the minimum Child Care Services Division requirements, all preschool educators must complete at least 12 hours of professional development activities. These may be applied to an educator’s Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP). Professional development activities can be things like college courses, workshop trainings, or professional lectures that pertain to the subject areas of:
- Child development
- Learning environments
- Effective nurturing and teaching
- Professional behavior and ethics
- Preschool program management
- Parent partnerships
- Child health and safety
The Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) referenced is also something in which preschool educators will participate. The IPDP is a plan you will develop to increase your skills and knowledge as a preschool educator by doing the following:
- Assessing your current skills and level of education
- Identifying specific areas where you can improve
- Developing strategies for improvement
- Giving yourself opportunities to reflect and demonstrate your personal growth
Maintaining a Department of Education Teaching License
If your preschool employer requires you to earn and maintain a teaching license with an endorsement in early childhood education, you will need to meet a separate set of license renewal requirements through the Vermont Department of Education, in addition to the requirements you must meet that are required by the Child Care Services Division.
You will need to renew your teaching license after three years, and to do this you must earn at least 45 hours of professional development activities that advance your knowledge and capabilities to be an effective preschool teacher. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by earning college credits in a relevant field, with one credit being equal to 15 hours of professional development. Later on you will have the opportunity to upgrade your teaching license, a process that also involves completing an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP).
Improving Your Preschool Teaching Qualifications
Improving your professional qualifications as a preschool teacher is an important part of maintaining your edge in a competitive marketplace, however this can be equally important for your preschool students who will benefit from a teacher who is up-to-date on the most current pedagogical and child-psychology theories or practices.
Because earning an advanced degree will fulfill the Child Care Services Division’s annual professional development requirements and the renewal requirements for a teaching license, many preschool teachers choose to earn a master’s degree such as an M.A.T., M.Ed. or MATL with an emphasis on early childhood education or another closely related subject.
This will not only provide you with a greater depth of understanding as an early childhood educator, but will also make you eligible for the most advanced preschool educator position, that of a Master Preschool Teacher. These professionals are at the top of their field, enjoy the most professional options, and also hold the highest level of responsibility.
You may also consider learning about the field through one of the state’s professional organizations. These agencies can provide you with additional information about early childhood education laws, employment, and professional development opportunities:
- Vermont Head Start
- Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children – VAEYC
- Vermont Early Childhood Alliance
- Vermont Child Care Provider Association – VCCPA
- Children’s Integrated Services – CIS
Vermont Preschool Teacher Salaries
According to the Vermont Department of Labor, an average of 40 jobs a year will become available in the field of early childhood education during the current ten-year period ending in 2022. Of these, 75% are expected to come from the need to replace teachers who will leave the workforce.
The 2013 average preschool teacher salary in Vermont was $32,180. Entry-level preschool teachers in the 10th percentile averaged $21,650 a year, while those in the 90th percentile earned $45,810 a year on average.
Early education salaries in key regions in Vermont as published by the Vermont Department of Labor are shown here:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Vermont had the fourth highest concentration of preschool teacher jobs in the country as of 2013. While 35% of Vermont’s preschool teachers were located in Burlington in 2013, most of the state’s teachers were employed in other parts of the state. 40.3% were located in the northern balance of the state, and 24.2% were in the southern portion.
The Vermont Agency of Education provides public funding for pre-K programs in public schools and private settings. Only 29% of the state’s preschool teachers were employed by educational services that year, with the remaining majority working in private preschool centers.
The US Department of Labor provides additional details on 2013 Vermont pre-K teacher salaries according to location: