What are the necessary steps to pursue a second career in early childhood education?

I live in NYC, and I'm looking for tips about certification. Will I need to go back to school for a master's degree?


Amita Gupta, Professor, Global Early Childhood Education, Author, Consultant

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Here is a brief overview of the process for getting qualified as a New York City early childhood teacher:

To be an early childhood lead teacher in New York City you will need to be state certified with a degree in Early Childhood Education. To get certified you need to complete a Masters degree in ECE which includes Student Teaching and passing the EdTPA (Educational Teacher Performance Assessment) , and you have to pass the new state tests including the ALST (Academic Literacy Skills Test), CST (Content Specialty Test), and EAS (Educating All Students). You are also required to have taken workshops for DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) and Violence Prevention and Child Abuse.

You can apply to an ECE Masters degree program leading to certification in any college of education that offers it. Once you have graduated successfully and passed all the state tests your college will recommend you to New York State for certification. You will then be qualified as a head teacher to teach children from birth to second grade.

Mayor De Blasio initiated the Universal PreK program last year for all four year olds in New York City. An expansion in the number of PreK classrooms resulted in an urgent need for more qualified PreK teachers in the city. A Prek Scholars program was started that helped individuals who were looking for a second career in ECE to be placed in Prek settings, while simultaneously getting their Masters degrees in ECE and state certification (all paid for by the City).

Here are some helpful links for more detailed information:

Dr. Aaron Smith, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Currently Program Director at Aviation Academy, Co-Author of Awakening Your STEM School

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In addition to the great answers listed above, I highly recommend that you become a substitute teacher as well. This will help you get your foot in the door and learn how many super teachers prepare for lessons while adjusting for those classroom issues that arise from time to time. As a principal, I've hired many teachers who started off as a substitute and were able to hire them down the road.

Michael Schoch, Answers questions on Noodle

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Thanks for using Noodle to ask your question. We don't have a lot of employment information at the moment because we are more focused on helping families make strong decisions about education.

Specific requirements may depend on the school, but you can read about the basic requirements on the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute.

If you're already a college graduate, it looks like you can enroll in an alternative program. You don't need a master's degree to get an Initial Certificate; however you will need a master's degree to get a Professional Certificate.

You may want to check out some of the advice and articles available on Noodle's Early Chlldhood Development page.

If you decide to pursue a master's degree, you can search for program's in education on our graduate school listing.

Best of luck!

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