Childhood education is one of the most important fields you can choose to pursue, as an aspiring teacher. In fact, leading research shows that children in grades K-12 experience significantly greater learning gains than any older age group. And if the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the importance of quality teachers that can reach students – even if virtual learning is the only option.
If you love children and have a passion for sharing your knowledge, you may be perfect for the role as a childhood educator. Working with our young, future leaders of tomorrow not only offers a bright future for them, but also a rewarding and fulfilling career for you.
Right now, you may be ready to dive into your new career and start making a difference. But you may be wondering what steps you need to take to get there. Do you need a childhood education degree? What certification requirements must you fulfill? Read on, as we break down everything you need to know about how to become a childhood educator.
Start with a Degree
The first step in becoming a teacher in Connecticut is to earn your childhood education degree. In the state of Connecticut, all prospective teachers are required to have – at minimum – a bachelor’s degree in education. And where you study matters. Your childhood education degree must be from a state-approved, regionally accredited program.
Specific degree requirements will vary by school and by role. If you wish to become a toddler or preschool teacher, for example, you must have at least an associate degree in early childhood education. Public school teachers in CT, however, may be required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Those wishing to become a childhood education administrator will need a master’s degree in education.
At Goodwin, we offer career-focused education programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. In our Child Study program, for example, students have plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning as they work towards their bachelor’s degree. They gain experience in a variety of early childhood settings, including the state-of-the-art Reggio Emilia-inspired Riverside Magnet School.
Graduates of the BS Child Study program at Goodwin also obtain their Early Childhood Teacher Credential (ECTC). This certification is required of all Connecticut teachers in state-funded programs as of 2020.
In addition to your basic education in education, students at Goodwin University develop key skills needed in order to become successful teachers. Once you’ve graduated, you’ll be able to:
- Create developmentally appropriate lessons and environments based on individual children’s strengths, interests, and needs.
- Create respectful and reciprocal relationships that support families and their own engagement of their children’s development and learning.
- Curate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for all students based on early learning standards and high-quality resources.
- Apply the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct to work with kids, families and other colleagues.
- Advocate for children, their families and the early childhood profession.
- Communicate effectively and professionally.
Teachers looking to take their career to new heights may want to consider pursuing a master’s degree in education. The new Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) Program at Goodwin University is offered entirely online. This type of program helps support educators like you in the pursuit of greater career goals while maintaining their day jobs as teachers. The 30-credit program offers flexibility that teachers require in order to continue fulfilling the many needs of their young students. Some careers that require a master’s degree in education include:
- Career Counselor
- Corporate Trainer
- Curriculum Specialist
- Educational Administrator
- Educational Consultant
- School Principal
- Special Education Teacher
- University Professor
Once you have earned your childhood education degree, you will want to shift focus on examinations and certifications. There are several tests hopeful teachers must pass before stepping into the classroom. The state of Connecticut requires the following certifications for teachers:
- Praxis II
- ACTFL OPI & WPT
- Pearson Foundations of Reading Test
- Pearson Reading Specialist Test
- Pearson Early Childhood Test
- Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT)
In addition to these tests, Connecticut educator preparation providers (EPPs) must ensure prospective teachers take the Praxis Core Mathematics, Reading and Writing tests or another equivalent assessment approved by the State Board of Education:
Learn even more about the Connecticut State Department of Education Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, such as registration and applications by checking out this guide.
Find an Education Role That’s Perfect for You
Once you have successfully passed your certification examinations, you are ready to start on your path in education! Students at Goodwin University can take advantage of the free services in career assistance with the Career Services Team. This staff is fully dedicated to helping students and graduates find – and land – their dream job. Whether you need help writing your resume or cover, professional networking, or interview practice, the Career Services Team can help.
Are you ready to jumpstart your new career as a childhood educator? Learn more about the childhood education degree offerings at Goodwin University. Call us at 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
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.