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Online Early Childhood Education Degrees by State

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This comprehensive list organizes online early childhood education degrees by state and provides an overview of the licensing requirements for working in each state. Online programs in early childhood education prepare graduates to work with small children in a variety of settings, including preschool, kindergarten, early elementary school, and child care organizations. Location can be an important factor in choosing a degree program in this field, since even programs that offer all coursework online often require students to complete student-teaching programs or other in-person work, and it can be beneficial to complete a program that is recognized by the state you wish to teach in.

For those interested in learning more about the field and the online study options available, a comprehensive alphabetical list of online degree programs in early childhood education is also available here.

Looking for an Online Early Childhood Education Degree? Search Over 22,000 Online Programs:

Alabama Learn More

Prospective early childhood educators in Alabama should seek an online teaching degree from an accredited institution. Those holding a degree in another subject may still become educators but will need to apply to a qualifying master's program. Alternative certificates are available to those who have only completed a bachelor’s degree or who are currently working on a master’s degree, but individuals cannot attain these on their own; the request must be made by a school superintendent or administrator. Once online students have completed either a bachelor’s or master's program, they will need to pass the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP) for certification. The exam includes a basic skills assessment as well as Praxis subject assessments specific to the grades a student would like to teach. The certification must be renewed every five years. Along with certification, candidates must provide fingerprints and pass a background check.

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Alaska Learn More

In order to become certified as an early childhood teacher in the state of Alaska, online students must first complete courses in early childhood education. Because Alaska has so many different kinds of education certificates, the type of schooling required varies greatly. For the Type E certificate, students must complete either an associate degree or a 30-unit program with 400 supervised work hours. This type of certification is only applicable to elementary aides or preschool assistants. The Initial Teacher Certificate requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, while more advanced certificates like the Professional Teacher Certificate and the Master Teacher Certificate require additional courses. Online students of early childhood education should consider that they must also take an approve teacher preparation program and pass a basic competency exam prior to receiving certification, and some certificates require a passing score on Praxis II subject exams. Every prospective educator must pass a criminal background check and provide fingerprints. Those not native to the state of Alaska must complete coursework in Alaskan studies and multiculturalism within two years of receiving an initial or provisional license.

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Arizona Learn More

Online students looking to become early childhood educators in Arizona do not need a bachelor's degree to receive certification as long as they complete an accredited early childhood teacher education program. An alternative certification requirement is taking 37 units of ECE courses in eight different areas of study. This alternative also includes four units or one year of experience each taking care of children birth through preschool age as well as kindergarten through third graders. A valid certificate in early childhood education granted by another state will also suffice. These three options each provide a provisional certificate, which can become a standard renewable certificate pending two years of full-time teaching experience. Standard licenses must be renewed every six years. Licensed preschool teachers are required to pass the Professional Knowledge Test, the Subject Knowledge Test, and an exam on the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. Online students aspiring to teach in Arizona will also be subject to complete criminal background checks prior to earning licensure.

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Arkansas Learn More

Arkansas offers multiple pathways to online students wishing to become licensed early childhood educators in the state. The Traditional Educator Preparation Program is suitable for those who have completed both a bachelor's program in early childhood education and an educator preparation program. Arkansas's APPEL program grants provisional certification to students who do not have degrees in education, but who hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject and are currently working to meet the requirements for a standard license. All online students must pass Praxis tests such as Education of Young Children, Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood, or Early Childhood: Content Knowledge. New educators will receive a provisional license that can be upgraded into a standard teaching license after one year of work experience. Teaching licenses in Arkansas must be renewed every five years, and individuals must complete 36 hours of professional development every year.

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California Learn More

Online students aspiring to become early childhood educators in the state of California can obtain a permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in Child Development, which does not require a bachelor's degree but does require completion of at least 24 units in early childhood education courses. Prospective educators must also demonstrate that they have completed 175 days of experience working in an early childhood setting. In order to maintain a permit, California educators must complete at least 105 hours of professional growth every five years. An alternate path to obtaining a permit is to complete the state’s K-12 teaching credential by following a teacher preparation program. To go this route, online students must obtain passing scores on the multiple-subject California Subjects Examination for Teachers (CSET) as well as submitting to a criminal background check and fingerprinting. Once credentialed to teach K-12 in California, teachers can complete an Early Childhood Specialist Credential by completing an additional specialization and student teaching.

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Colorado Learn More

Colorado has relatively flexible requirements for online students who wish to become early childhood educators. The state does not certify early childhood educators, but Colorado’s Division of Child Care will issue an Early Childhood Teacher Verification letter upon an individual’s completion of the stipulated educational requirements. The most direct path for an online student aspiring to obtain a verification letter is to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, elementary education, special education, child psychology, or family and child development. Alternately, a student may qualify for a verification letter if he or she holds an unrelated bachelor's degree or an associate degree and has completed at least two courses in early childhood education as well as a minimum of six months of work in an early childhood setting. Candidates who have achieved certification as a Child Development Associate (CDA) are also qualified to receive a verification letter.

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Connecticut Learn More

Online students looking to become early childhood educators at private institutions in Connecticut may not need certification, but it is required to work in the state’s public school system. Students must complete a state-approved educator preparation program in one of two specialization options: birth to kindergarten or nursery to third grade. To begin the program, students must pass the Praxis pre-professionals skills test or achieve adequate college entry test scores. The nursery to third grade program requires two additional Praxis exams, Early Childhood: Content Knowledge and Education of Young Children. Oline students already holding a bachelor's degree can enter the Alternate Route to Certification Program, which grants the individual an initial certification to teach while simultaneously completing additional coursework or hours of supervised experience. Students must first apply for an Initial Educator Certificate. Once it expires, early childhood educators must apply for a provisional certification, which is valid for eight years. During that time, online students must complete 30 units of coursework beyond a bachelor's degree and gain 30 months of work experience. Working teachers already holding a master’s degree may choose to advance their qualifications by obtaining a Professional Educator Certificate.

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Delaware Learn More

Early childhood educators in Delaware must obtain certification in order to teach pre-kindergarten through second grade in public education settings. To become certified, oneline students must complete an approved educator preparation program offered by an accredited college. This typically involves earning a bachelor's degree and student teaching for at least three months. Individuals can also obtain certification by passing the Praxis exam, completing 120 hours of training, and gaining one year of experience with a minimum of 200 instructional hours. No matter which certification path students choose, they must pass the Education of Young Children Praxis exam with a score of 160. Online students on the path to becoming early childhood educators must also register with the Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS) before applying for an initial license and standard certificate simultaneously. The three-year initial license requires the new teacher to work with a mentor before he or she is able to earn a five-year renewable continuing license. Educators can then complete a national certification program to earn a ten-year Advanced Teaching License.

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Florida Learn More

Online students looking to work as early childhood educators in Florida must gain state certification to teach in the public school system. Florida’s certifications include a pre-kindergarten/primary education certificate for teaching children aged three through third grade as well as a preschool education certificate for children from birth to age four. Certification in either of these areas requires online students to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and complete at least 10 weeks of field experience. Candidates for certification must also pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination's General Knowledge Test and an additional specialization exam depending on which certification is desired. Additionally, online students should note that all certified educators in Florida will be required to undergo a criminal background check. ECE certifications in Florida are valid for five years, during which time an educator must complete six additional units of college credit from an accredited institution.

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Georgia Learn More

All online students wishing to become early childhood educators in Georgia must be certified by the state in order to teach in a classroom setting. To gain certification, they must earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a major relating to the field of early childhood education. Alternatively, online students with degrees in psychology or sociology may apply for certification if they have a Montessori diploma, an associate or technical degree in ECE, or a Child Development Associate credential. All candidates for ECE certification in Georgia must complete an induction program, which includes passing four exams: the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Admission Assessment, the GACE content assessment in ECE, the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment, and the edTPA content pedagogy assessment. Once all of these items are successfully completed, prospective educators may apply for an induction certificate, which is valid for three years. The professional certificate, available once the three-year induction certificate expires, is valid for five. Educators must complete six units of coursework to renew the license.

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Hawaii Learn More

Online students on the path to becoming early childhood educators must obtain a certification specializing in either pre-K through kindergarten or in pre-K through third in order to achieve licensure to teach in the Hawaii public school system. Licenses are granted to individuals who have completed a teacher preparation program as part of a bachelor's degree. Applicants are not required to pass any exam, but simply to complete the appropriate documentation and provide proof of completion of the teacher preparation program. Experienced teachers may bypass these requirements upon review from the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. Standard teaching licenses are valid for five years, after which educators can apply for a ten-year advanced license. However, advanced licenses do also require completion of a master’s degree program. Licensing requirements for online students and other prospective educators wishing to work outside of the public school system are set by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

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Idaho Learn More

Online students wishing to teach preschool through third grade in Idaho should pursue an early childhood/early childhood special education blended certificate. To obtain this, they must complete a bachelor's degree along with an NCATE-approved teacher preparation program. The program must include six units of student teaching and 30 units in early childhood education, psychological foundations, and instructional technology. Online students must then pass the Praxis exams for Early Childhood Content Knowledge and Special Education in Preschool and Early Childhood. Applicants for state certification must undergo criminal background checks and provide a recommendation from their universities during the application process. They are then granted a five-year initial license, which can be followed by a standard certification pending completion of another six units of coursework.

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Illinois Learn More

Online students aspiring to work as early childhood educators in the state of Illinois must earn certificication by completing a teacher preparation program. These programs should include, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree and 32 units of early childhood education as well as student teaching. Students must then pass a computer-based Early Childhood Education exam. Once they pass the exam and complete the required coursework, the college uses the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) to inform the Board of Education of candidates’ licensure eligibility. Licenses are then awarded, pending proper documentation, although educators must register their licenses with the state before they can begin teaching. Online students who have already earned degrees in early childhood education from out-of-state institutions are rarely required to undergo additional coursework in order to secure work in Illinois, but they must seek approval from an Illinois teacher preparedness program.

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Indiana Learn More

The state of Indiana grants licenses to educators who wish to focus on early childhood. In order to become licensed, online students must enroll in a state-approved teacher preparation program specializing in early childhood education or a comparable field at an accredited college or university. The degree must include field experience. Enrollees may choose to complete the Indiana CORE Academic Skills Assessment or to provide a copy of a college entrance exam prior to entering the program. Students who have already completed a bachelor's degree outside of the field of education may enroll in an online teacher preparation program to gain a master's or doctorate degree. Upon completion of this program, those seeking certification must pass the Developmental/Pedagogy Area Assessment in Early Childhood Education and the Content Area Assessment. Before beginning work, Indiana educators must also go through basic first aid training, including use of automatic external defibrillators, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver. Once all of these guidelines have been met, Indiana ECE teachers may apply for initial licenses, which are valid for two years. They can then obtain a standard license pending completion of an Indiana Mentor and Assessment Program (IMAP) and six units of continuing education.

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Iowa Learn More

In order to gain licensure as an early childhood educator in Iowa, online students must complete a bachelor's degree program as well as an educator preparation program from an accredited institution. The latter must include specific classes pertaining to early childhood education in addition to 100 hours of pre-student-teaching field experience and 12 units of student teaching. Students of early childhood education in Iowa must also complete a human relations course and a special education course. Most individuals who attend colleges or obtain online degrees outside of Iowa do not have to complete additional coursework in order to obtain certification, but all prospective teachers must pass Praxis CORE and Praxis subject tests; the edTPA elementary exam in literacy, mathematics, or a combination; and the edTPA early childhood exam. The initial license in Iowa is valid for two years, at the end of which educators may apply for a standard license. The standard license is dependent upon the completion of a school mentoring program as well as two years of teaching experience. Standard licenses are valid for five years, and the educator must show that he or she has undergone six units of continuing education in order to renew the license.

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Kansas Learn More

Online students looking to become early childhood educators in Kansas may be granted a license to teach children from birth through kindergarten or from birth through third grade. Both licenses require a bachelor's degree as well as completion of a teacher preparation program that includes a student teaching component. All students must complete a blood-borne pathogen training course, take a tuberculosis test, and pass a criminal background check before they begin student teaching. Once student teaching is completed, Kansas preschool teachers must pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams. Online students shoudl be aware that the initial license for early childhood education is valid for two years, during which teachers must undergo a mentoring program. Upon successful completion of the mentoring program, teachers are granted a standard license that must be renewed every five years. Renewals are only granted to teachers who can display between 120 and 160 professional development points (varies depending on whether the teacher has an undergraduate or a graduate degree).

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Kentucky Learn More

Online students looking to teach in Kentucky must obtain certification for interdisciplinary early childhood education, birth to primary, via a bachelor's degree program. To qualify, the program must require a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, include completion of an educator preparation program, 200 hours of field experience, and at least 70 days of student teaching. In addition, all online students wishing to become early childhood education teachers must pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams. Licenses will only be granted to those who complete all of these requirements and obtain verification of student teaching from their school's superintendent or human resources director. Once an initial license has been granted, teachers must undergo an internship program throughout their first year. They must also work full-time for at least three years and complete 15 hours of continuing education in order to renew the five-year certification.

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Louisiana Learn More

Online students aspiring to become early childhood educators in Louisiana must complete a bachelor's degree program through a regionally accredited college or university. The traditional certification process involves the completion of a teacher preparation program, 180 hours of field experience, and one semester of student teaching. Online students who have not yet completed a teacher preparation program may opt for a certification-only program that is renewable each year for up to three years while they are completing these requirements. All aspiring early childhood educators must pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams before a full certification can be granted. Furthermore, online students should be aware that, in addition to the required testing and coursework, they will need to complete a professional conduct form to obtain a Level 1 Certification. Within five years, all educators will need to complete a mentoring program, teach full-time for at least three years, and receive regular positive evaluations in order to upgrade their certificate to a Level 2. Level 3 certificates may only be granted to teachers who have earned master's degrees.

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Maine Learn More

The state of Maine grants early childhood educator licenses to online students who complete teacher education programs as part of a bachelor's degree program. Qualifying programs must include student teaching, although this requirement may be waived if a student has previously completed at least one year of experience in a classroom setting. Online students who have already completed a bachelor's degree but did not take part in a teacher education program may earn certification by taking 27 additional units in early childhood education. A license is only granted once the student has passed the Praxis exams. All certified ECE educators in Maine must undergo criminal background and substance abuse checks and pass a physical examination. A provisional two-year certificate will be followed by a five-year professional certificate, which can be renewed with six units of coursework in the early education field.

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Maryland Learn More

Early childhood educators in Maryland must obtain certification in order to teach at public institutions as well as some private institutions. Basic credentials are granted to online students who meet the Child Development Associate licensing requirements. They may advance their credentials by spending more time in the classroom and pursuing degrees in higher education. Certifications in early childhood education are granted to online students who earn a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher preparation program, undergo a student teaching program or spend one year teaching in the classroom, and pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams. Examination requirements may be waived if a student can supply proof of appropriate scores on college entrance exams. Certified early childhood educators in Maryland must also complete six hours of coursework in order to renew their licenses every five years.

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Massachusetts Learn More

Online students looking to teach in Massachusetts’ public institutions must obtain certification from the state. Certification is only granted to individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree program, an educator preparation program, at least 300 hours of fieldwork (including working with children with disabilities), and passed the appropriate tests. Massachusetts requires that ECE professionals take the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure and some online students may be required to complete the MTEL Communications and Literacy Skills Test. Initial certification is valid for five years, during which educators must complete the Teacher Induction Program, undergo 50 hours of mentoring, pursue continuing education, and gain 150 professional development points. They must also teach full-time for at least three of the five years. Alternately, online students looking to work in a private institution must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or higher, and complete an accredited course in child development.

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Michigan Learn More

Online students in Michigan must be certified as early childhood educators by the state in order to teach in the public school system. Michigan requires that all ECE teachers hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher preparation program that includes courses specific to early childhood development as well as student teaching. Before licensure can be granted, online students must pass a background check and the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. Individuals who do not pass the MTTC may still be eligible to earn a temporary license that allows for one year of teaching or preparing to retake the MTTC—whichever comes first. Once granted, initial licenses are valid for six years. Educators at private institutions do not have to adhere to the same strict guidelines as teachers as public school, but they are required to hold an associate degree in ECE as well as a Child Development Associate credential.

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Minnesota Learn More

The state of Minnesota requires online students who wish to work as early childhood educators at private schools to be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma, have 4,160 hours of experience working in a preschool or childcare setting, and have completed 24 units in early childhood education. Alternately, students seeking to teach at public schools in Minnesota must undergo an ECE program through an accredited university, obtain a bachelor's degree, and pass the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination. To work in a public school, online students will also be required to pass a criminal background check.

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Mississippi Learn More

The state of Mississippi requires licensure for all early childhood educators working at public schools. Licenses are granted to online students who have earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field and passed the Praxis subject exams. Advanced licenses are given to those who pursue post-baccalaureate degrees. Once online students have successfully completed licensure requirements, they are awarded an educator’s license, which must be renewed every five years after completion of continuing education courses. The class of license an individual holds—A, AA, AAA, or AAAA—determines how many units of coursework the renewal requires. Online students should note that Mississippi does not require early childhood educators to be licensed in order to work at private institutions.

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Missouri Learn More

In order to become licensed as an early childhood educator by the state of Missouri, every online student must hold a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. Students must provide a letter of recommendation from a designated ECE official at their college in addition to passing a number of tests, including the Missouri General Education Assessment, the Missouri Educator Profile, the Missouri Content Assessment, and the Paraprofessional test. The Paraprofessional test is only required for those wishing to work with young children and who have earned fewer than 60 semester units. Online students may only obtain licensure once they have completed all coursework, examinations, and a criminal background check. Once granted, the license lasts for four years, after which time educators may be eligible to earn a Continuous Career Education Certificate. Requirements for this certification include four years of classroom instruction including two with a mentoring program, 30 hours of professional development or college coursework, the implementation of a professional development plan, inclusion of a teacher assistance program, and successful completion of a performance review. The CCEC is valid for 99 years.

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Montana Learn More

Online students may be pleased to know that, in most situations, early childhood educators in Montana do not need to hold a license or certification in order to teach. Teachers working at schools that educate more than 13 children must have completed either an associate degree in early childhood education, a Child Development Associate credential, or two years of experience working in a preschool setting. All ECE educators must complete CPR and first aid training. As of 2017, Montana will increase the guidelines for Head Start educators, requiring that teachers must have a minimum of an associate degree. Prospective educators may be granted a three-year grace period during which to earn the degree if they are not able to complete it by the time the law comes into effect.

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Nebraska Learn More

Online students looking to become early childhood educators in Nebraska must hold at least a bachelor's degree and have completed a teacher preparation program in order to obtain licensure from the state. Online students must also complete courses in special education and human relations, undergo a criminal background check and provide proof of residence in the state before a license will be granted. After obtaining an initial certificate and completing two years of teaching experience, educators can obtain a standard teaching license. Upon completion of a master’s program, they can then earn a professional teaching certificate as well. Although there are no examination requirements for licensure, Nebraska does require that teachers undergo at least six units of continuing education before every license renewal.

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Nevada Learn More

Online students looking to work as early childhood educators in Nevada may complete a bachelor's degree in addition to a teacher education program, or they may complete a bachelor's degree that includes at least 35 units of child development and education courses. Prospective educators seeking certification must also complete at least eight units of student teaching, although online students who have completed a bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in early childhood education can bypass this requirement. All ECE teachers must pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams to become certified, regardless of degree. The initial teaching license in Nevada is granted once a criminal background check is successfully passed, and may be renewed once the teacher earns six renewal credits or completes a graduate degree.

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New Hampshire Learn More

Online students shoudld note that all prospective early childhood educators in the state of New Hampshire must obtain a license by completing a bachelor's degree and an educator preparation program through the accredited institution where the degree was earned. Students must also pass Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams unless they have already earned a master's degree or have more than seven years of experience teaching in a classroom. Renewal of New Hampshire ECE licenses requires a minimum of 75 units of continuing education over a three-year period. Renewals are submitted through the Educator Information System (EIS) online website.

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New Jersey Learn More

New Jersey will only grant early childhood education licenses to online students who complete an educator preparation program as part of a bachelor's or master's program. Bachelor's degrees are not required to be focused in the field of education, but must be within the liberal arts or sciences. Online students who complete 24 units of student teaching, graduate with a cumulative 2.75 GPA, and successfully pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams will qualify to receive a provisional certificate that is valid for two years. The certificate may be renewed twice while the educator is seeking standard certification. Online students looking to teach at private institutions may avoid some of these requirements, although they must be at least 18 years old, pass a criminal records check and a child abuse background screening, undergo a physical exam, and be willing to take a tuberculosis test.

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New Mexico Learn More

Online students aspiring to become early childhood educators in New Mexico can earn a state license to teach by completing a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in early childhood education along with 150 hours of field experience, or by teaching at an accredited preschool for three years. Alternately, online students may pursue a graduate degree that includes at least 12 units of childhood education. Once one of these requirements have been met, individuals must pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessment's basic skills test unless the applicant has already obtained NBPTS certification. All online students must undergo a criminal background check in order to receive a Level 1 license that is valid for five years. It is not renewable, so educators will need to gain at least three years of full-time teaching experience and complete a Professional Development Dossier within this five-year timeframe in order to move up to a Level 2 license.

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New York Learn More

The state of New York offers online students multiple paths to becoming an early childhood educator. The most common path requires them to complete a bachelor's degree program with a teacher preparation program. The preparation program must include time spent observing teachers in the classroom, a minimum of 40 days of student teaching, and completion of the New York State Teacher Examinations as well as a workshop known as Dignity for All Students. To apply for certification, ECE educators must provide official transcripts, fingerprints, clearance for a criminal background check, and a recommendation for certification from their college. The initial certificate is valid for five years and can only be renewed by completing 175 hours of professional development.

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North Carolina Learn More

To work as an early childhood educator in North Carolina, an online student must either be licensed by the state or in the process of seeking licensure. Licensure is earned through completion of a teacher preparation program at the bachelor's or master's degree level. An online student applying for licensure must also obtain a recommendation from his or her college or university. Online students in North Carolina are not required to complete any examination in order to earn a Standard Professional Educator's license. However, all educators must complete and pass the Praxis subject exams within the first three years of gaining licensure. In order to renew licensure, educators must show completion of continuing education credits.

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North Dakota Learn More

Online students wishing to become licensed early childhood educators in North Dakota must complete a teacher preparation program as part of a bachelor's or master's degree. In order to qualify, programs must include observation of professional educators and at least 10 weeks of student teaching. At the end of the students’ education, he or she must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Students must then pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject examinations as well as a criminal background check before they can apply for state licensure. The initial license for North Dakota educators is valid for two years. During that time, online students should for a regular license by completing at least four hours of professional development and a North Dakota Native American Studies course.

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Ohio Learn More

Online students seeking employment as early childhood educators in Ohio have two options for licensure. They can pursue an early childhood license, which provides certification for teaching preschool through eight year olds. Alternately, they can seek an associate license, which is valid only for preschool education. Online students seeking ECE certification must complete a bachelor's degree at an accredited college that includes a state-approved teacher preparation program. Students must also complete at least 12 units of student teaching and 100 hours of field experience. Those looking to earn associate licenses need only have an associate degree at minimum, and must also pass the Ohio Assessments for Educators’ prekindergarten subtests. All online students seeking certification must pass the OAE's Content Knowledge for Early Childhood Education exam as well as the Assessment of Professional Knowledge in Early Childhood. A resident educator license is issued for four years to those who are qualified. License-holders must complete six units of college coursework and 18 units of continuing education to apply for a professional educator license at the end of their first four years of teaching.

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Oklahoma Learn More

Online students in Oklahoma may obtain state certification by either completing a teacher education program that includes classroom education as well as student teaching, or by earning a bachelor's degree and supplementing it with time in the classroom. Online students who have earned bachelor’s degrees but graduated without completing a teacher education program must show that they earned a 2.5 or higher GPA in a field of study related to education, or else they must supply a letter from the university's vice president or registrar verifying that coursework is sufficient preparation for an educator position. Online students must also pass the General Education Competency Examination and the Subject Area Competency Examination. Additional requirements include the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination in Early Childhood and the Oklahoma Subject Area Test: Early Childhood Education. If standard certification is awarded, teachers must renew every five years with documentation of sufficient professional development points.

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Oregon Learn More

The state of Oregon requires online students wishing to become early childhood educators to be licensed through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. In order to gain licensure, applicants must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, elementary education, or a similar field. An online student without a bachelor's degree in an education-related field may choose to pursue a master's degree in that area in order to qualify for an Oregon teaching license. While in school, students must complete a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching. Afterward, they must pass three Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments including an early childhood education exam, an essential academic skills exam, and a civil rights exam. An initial teaching certification is available to online students who prove they have successfully completed these qualifications. It is valid for three years and may be renewed twice before a standard certification is compulsory. An educator who already possesses a graduate degree may be able to bypass an initial certification and skip directly to the standard license.

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Pennsylvania Learn More

The state of Pennsylvania requires all online students wishing to become early childhood educators to hold a bachelor's degree in any area, with completion of at least 24 units in early childhood education. To obtain state licensure, online students must also have two years of experience in the education field, be at least 18 years old, undergo an extensive criminal background check, pass a tuberculosis test, and supply documentation from a physician that covers both physical and mental health. Once licensed, educators in Pennsylvania may choose to return to school for master’s degrees to advance their career opportunities.

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Rhode Island Learn More

The state of Rhode Island requires that all educators, including early childhood education specialists, be certified. Any online student looking to enter this field must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete an approved program or a Credential Review Consortium Institution (CRCI) credential review plan as well as at least 60 hours of field experience and 12 units of student teaching. To qualify for certification, online students must also achieve a score of at least 160 on the Praxis subject exam in Education of Young Children. Teacher certification in Rhode Island expires after three years, but renewals are offered through the state's Educator Evaluation System. Teachers must receive a passing grade on a year-end evaluation three years in a row to be upgraded to a professional certification, which can be renewed every five years.

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South Carolina Learn More

Teacher certification is not required for online students wishing to become early childhood educators in South Carolina, although the state does mandate that individuals with certification should be given priority in hiring situations. In order to obtain a South Carolina teaching certificate, online students must obtain a minimum of an associate degree in early childhood education or a related subject. They must also have completed a teacher education program or be currently enrolled in one, unless they possess a graduate degree in early childhood education, in which case the teaching program requirement is waived. Applicants who do not have at least a bachelor's degree must have a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, an Early Childhood Development Certificate, or a Montessori diploma. Online students should note that other qualifications include passing the Praxis exam and completion of at least two years of experience working with preschool-aged children. ECE educators must complete 15 hours of professional development every year in order to renew certification.

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South Dakota Learn More

Being an early childhood educator in South Dakota may mean working for a private nursery school, a federal program, or at a state-run institution, and each of these locations has different requirements for early childhood educators. In most cases, educators must be certified through the state Department of Education. Online students looking to work in this field will need to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. They will also need to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program that focuses on ECE and earn a passing score on Praxis exams in Principles of Learning and Teaching and Education of Young Children. Most ECE teachers apply for a five-year certificate. Those who have not yet completed the Praxis exams can apply for a one-year certificate while they are preparing for the exam and finishing up their requirements. Educators with National Board Teacher Certification may request a 10-year certificate.

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Tennessee Learn More

For most positions, online students looking to become early childhood educators in the state of Tennessee will need to obtain a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or have a bachelor's degree in a separate field and be pursing master's level courses in ECE. A certificate will not be granted by the state until the applicant passes the required Praxis exams. Once attained, certification expires every five years, during which time educators must complete a minimum of 18 units of in-service training in order to renew. Teachers employed by private preschools may only be required to have a high school diploma, but are required complete the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance certification. They must also complete a child abuse prevention course and four years of experience working with preschool-aged children.

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Texas Learn More

Most early childhood educational institutions in Texas require employees to obtain certification through the Texas Education Agency, which indicates that the teacher is authorized to work with children from early childhood through sixth grade. In order to obtain a Texas Education Agency Teaching Certification, an online student must complete a bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program, pass the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam, and pass the TExES #291 exam. Prospective educators will also need to complete 150 hours of continuing education once they receive certification. Alternately, online students wishing to work as early childhood educators may choose to pursue the Early Childhood Career Lattice, an alternate licensure system for preschool teachers. There are eight levels to the lattice, each with its own requirements. Beginners are only required to hold a high school diploma, but must increase their education in order to move up the lattice.

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Utah Learn More

Licensure for early childhood educators in Utah is required and overseen by the Utah Department of Health's Bureau of Child Development. An online student must hold an associate degree or higher in early childhood education in order to obtain licensure. Those holding bachelor's degrees do not have to have majored in ECE, but they must have completed at least 12 units in the field of early childhood development. They must also obtain a national certification in childhood development from the National Child Care Association or the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition as well as completing 12 units of ECE coursework from an accredited institution or six early childhood care courses offered through the state. Online students should note that Utah requires all educators to pass a criminal background check. Educators must complete 20 hours of child care training each year to maintain a state license.

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Vermont Learn More

To work in the state of Vermont, all online students aspiring to being careers as early childhood educators must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood development or a similar field. Any person aspiring to become a preschool teacher must have at least one year of experience working in a preschool setting. Upon gaining this experience, online students can apply for a teaching license with an endorsement in early childhood education. Educators who wish to work with children in elementary schools through third grade must complete a state-approved educator program and supply a recommendation for licensing from their college or university as well as submitting to a background check. Finally, prospective teachers in Vermont must pass various Praxis exams or provide scores on college-admittance tests such as the SAT, ACT, and GRE in order to obtain licensure. Once a Level 1 license has been granted, educators must complete 45 hours of professional learning over the course of the next three years in order to renew it. At least 15 of these hours must be in early childhood education. Renewal of a Level II license requires 135 hours of continuing education within a period of seven years with 45 of those hours being in early childhood education.

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Virginia Learn More

Although the state of Virginia does not require all early childhood education professionals to obtain state licensure, many schools prefer to hire teachers who are licensed. In order to obtain licensure to teach preschool through third grade, online students must hold a bachelor's degree in a field related to early childhood education and complete an educator preparation program. Then they must pass two exams: Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education and Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects. Online students aspiring to teach kindergarten through third grade will need to complete 180 professional development points within five years in order to renew their Virginia state teaching certification.

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Washington Learn More

Online students who wish to work as early childhood educators in the state of Washington will need to attain a minimum of an associate degree and to complete 30 units in early childhood education or early childhood special education. Early childhood educators do not have to be licensed, but they do have to complete Washington’s STARS basic course. Teachers may be as young as 18 year of age, but must sign up with the state's Managed Education and Registry Information Tool. Within six months of being hired, they must either gain 20 hours of on-the-job experience or complete two units in early childhood education. If neither is possible, they can earn a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) certificate or complete an additional 12 units of coursework in the case that the certificate was earned prior to hire. Online students already holding a bachelor's degree may pursue work in early childhood education by completing an early education endorsement.

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Washington, D.C. Learn More

In order to work as an early childhood educator in Washington, D.C., online students must complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree accompanied by a state-approved educator preparation program that includes student teaching. Before they can apply for licensure, online students must also pass a few different Praxis exams, including Core Academic Skills for Educators, Content Knowledge, and Principles of Learning & Teaching: Early Childhood as well as two subject exams. Students who have completed a preparation program as part of their degree program can apply for a renewable Regular II license. This standard license can be renewed after four years with completion of six units of professional development activities. Online students who have not yet completed the educator preparation program must demonstrate enrollment in an approved program and apply for a two-year, non-renewable Regular I license.

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West Virginia Learn More

To become a licensed educator in West Virginia, online students must earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. They must show proof of student teaching or documentation of a suitable substitute as well as a character reference. If the student chooses to use an educational character reference, the school superintendent must fill out the form. Additionally, all licensure applicants must pass a Praxis CORE exam. Once awarded, initial certifications must be renewed every three years through the completion of WVLearns eLearning courses. Any early childhood educator wishing to advance to a five-year certification may do so by completing a Beginning Educator Internship and six units of continuing education coursework. The six units may be eliminated if the educator is age 60 or older or already holds a master's degree. Teachers may also request to be converted to a Permanent Certification after having taught in West Virginia for at least five years, earned a master's degree, and obtained certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Online students should remember that all West Virginia teaching applicants are subject to a state and federal criminal background check.

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Wisconsin Learn More

Online students must meet three requirements in order to become licensed early childhood educatiors in the state of Wisconsin. First, they must complete an educator preparation program and arrange for the endorsement from this program to be sent directly from the educational institution to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Second, all students must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Third, they must undergo a thorough criminal background check that includes fingerprinting. All licensure applicants are expected to pass the Praxis CORE and Praxis subject exams. Online students wishing to teach at the elementary school level will also need to take the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test. The first certification an ECE teacher receives in Wisconsin is the Initial Educator License. After three years, the educator can apply for the Professional Educator License or they can renew the IEL for one year while completing requirements to earn the PEL. After 10 years of holding a PEL, the educator may request a Master Educator License as long as he or she has completed a National Board Certification by National Board of Professional Teaching Standards or a Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process. All licenses, except for non-renewable temporary licenses, must be renewed every five years.

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Wyoming Learn More

The traditional route for ECE licensure in Wyoming requires online students to obtain a bachelor's degree in education. The degree must be from an accredited institution and must include student teaching, completion of which must be verified through an Institutional Recommendation signed either by the Dean of the College of Education or a Certified Officer at the college or university where the prospective educator graduates. Online students applying for licensure must demonstrate knowledge of the U.S. Constitution as well as the Wyoming Constitution. Those who have not yet passed the Praxis subject exams may be granted an Exception Authorization from the state, after which they must try again to earn a passing score on the exams. Additionally, all students must undergo a complete criminal background check including fingerprinting. Wyoming teacher certification licenses are valid for five years, at which time they must be renewed through the completion of five professional development credits.

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