Early childhood is one of the most dynamic periods for learning and development. It is also one of the most fun and engaging stages of life, in which children are absorbing information like sponges, and almost always eager to learn new things. It’s no wonder so many early childhood educators love what they do – On a daily basis, these teachers are encouraging (and exploring) children’s curiosities, creating exciting curriculums, honing students’ motor and social skills, and making a real difference in the lives of children and parents alike.
If you are considering a career in early childhood education, you likely have a passion for working with children. And already, you might have the patience, creativity, and communication skills needed for the job. However, in order to be qualified to teach early childhood ed, you must first become certified.
Connecticut Early Childhood Certification Requirements
Each state has different requirements for preschool teachers and other early childhood educators. In Connecticut, preschool teachers and educators working with children under age 3 are generally required to hold an associate degree (or higher) in a related field. However, for those looking to work in a state-funded institution, with infants, toddlers, and/or preschoolers, the certification standards are raising.
By July 1, 2020, all primary ECE teachers in state-funded programs will be required to hold:
- Certification, with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education (or Early Childhood Special Education) OR
- A bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, Child Study, or Child Development, from an accredited institution or program in the state
Early childhood education certification, or preschool teacher certification, in Connecticut usually means that you have received the Early Childhood Teacher Credential (ECTC). The ECTC is a free credential issued by the state’s Office of Early Childhood. It is awarded at two different levels – for Preschool teachers, and for Infant/Toddler teachers – and is open to anyone working in early childhood ed.
The ECT credential shows that certified teachers have great competency in subjects such as child development, family relationships, child assessments, and curriculum development. It also provides official documentation for ECE teachers, that they have met the legislative teacher requirements in the state. This applies to Preschool teachers, School Readiness teachers, Head Start teachers, and Child Daycare contracts in state-funded programs.
How to Earn the Early Childhood Teacher Credential
There are currently two ways to get the Early Childhood Teacher Credential. Most aspiring teachers in Connecticut take the “approved college route.” To do so, you must:
- Graduate from an approved higher education institution. You can find a list of approved programs on the official website here. Both Goodwin’s programs – the Bachelor’s in Child Study and the Associate in Early Childhood Education – will qualify you for the ECTC endorsement.
- Become a member in the Connecticut Early Childhood Professional Registry. This is an online database that tracks verified professional development and employment of ECE teachers across the state. It also serves as the application portal for the Early Childhood Teacher Credential.
- Apply for the credential. This can be done online through your Registry account.
If you do not have a degree in Early Childhood Education, you can still earn the Early Childhood Teacher Credential through the “individual review route.” This involves:
- Currently working in the early childhood education field, or having at least one year experience
- Graduating from a regionally-accredited college or university, with any degree (that is not related to the field of early childhood education, child studies, or development)
- Completing 12 credits of coursework in early childhood education
- Becoming a member in the Connecticut Early Childhood Registry
- Submitting all documentation to the Registry, to become verified
How About Early Childhood Administrator Certification?
Some early childhood educators wish to take their careers to the next level, by pursuing a leadership or administrative role. This is also an area where you can pursue advanced credentials. The Connecticut Director’s Credential is a credential specifically designed for early childhood professionals who are in administrative roles, or who wish to pursue administrative roles after graduation.
You can earn this credential through Goodwin College, whether you are an existing ECE student or not. You simply must complete 12 to 15 credits in the courses specified here, meet the experiential requirements provided by the state, and demonstrate competency in the core areas of knowledge. Typically, the coursework can be completed in one year or less.
Taking a Step Towards Certification
If you wish to become an early childhood educator, whether that is a preschool teacher or an infant-toddler teacher, earning professional credentials is a must. Not only will this demonstrate your competency in the field, it will also make you eligible for a broader range of jobs. Connecticut employers and educational institutions across the state are seeking qualified, competent, and readied educators to dive in – and this demand is on the rise. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, preschool teachers are among the most in-demand jobs, with 290 annual openings for preschool teachers.
If you are just starting out in your journey to becoming a preschool teacher, or another type of early childhood educator, and you are located in Connecticut, the journey can start right here. Students who pursue either of our below programs are instantly qualified for the Early Childhood Teacher Credential:
Not only are both Goodwin’s programs listed by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood as ECTC-preparatory programs, our Early Childhood Education program is also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Get started towards your dream teaching career. Request more information about the early childhood education programs at Goodwin College by calling 800-899-3282 or visiting us online.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.