How to Become a Preschool Teacher in Indiana

An ECE Indiana Degree & Career Guide

Your Early Childhood Teacher Requirements and Career Guide

The advantages of children going to preschool to prepare them to enter kindergarten has been largely embraced by most states throughout the country. The state of Indiana is often called the Hoosier State with a great love of basketball, but it currently gets a grade of C+ by some organizations that score public education offered in States across the Nation. Indiana is one of only 11 states in the country that doesn't provide funding for preschools. Even so, preschool teachers are still in demand and, with a new program starting up that promises to increase funding for early education, there may be a sharp increase in the need for early childhood educators in the coming years.

5 Steps to Becoming A Fully Licensed EC Educator in Indiana

Step 1. Begin Your Approved Teacher Preparation Program

Indiana requires the completion of an approved preparation program for early education teachers. Usually these programs go hand-in hand with earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, as long as you complete a degree from a regionally accredited college, university, or school you can take a certification preparation program after the fact, if you didn’t complete one as part of your degree.

Prospective teachers do need coursework in early childhood education as well as childhood development, even if you opt for the post-graduate preparation program. For those seeking this type of employment, you will want a program that offers coursework that teaches you techniques and methodology for teaching. It should give you student teaching experience as well, that is, hands-on experience in a classroom. With multiple approved programs in the state, there are plenty of opportunities to gain the necessary early childhood education you need.

Coursework should include a foundation of scientifically-based reading instruction, English language arts, science, mathematics, physical education, health and wellness, and social studies. You will need to have either taken and scored well enough on an SAT, ACT, or GRE or you may be required to take 'CASA’ which is the Indiana Core Academic Skills Assessment. This test determines a candidate’s skill levels in mathematics, writing, and reading to ensure that they are satisfactory in all subjects taught by a preschool teacher.

Step 2. Examinations

After a candidate has completed their degree program and their teacher preparation, it will then be necessary to take two additional exams. The Content Assessment tests a candidate’s knowledge of early childhood generalist topics including: reading, mathematics, science, health, and social studies. The second test is specifically for early childhood education. A candidate will need to get at least a score of 220 on each test in order to pass. They can be taken any time of the year at one of the official CBT sites. There are only 3 available testing sites in the state, so you’ll want to register ahead of time and make certain you have time to get there early so you can take the test and obtain your licensure.

Step 3. Additional Courses Needed for Licensure

As well as teaching qualifications, you will also be required to pass approved training for secondary safety skills. These include: performing the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and the use of an automatic external defibrillator or AED, and passing a background check. Some teachers may already possess a valid certification in these techniques and, if so, they may be exempted from the need to take additional courses. It may also be necessary to take a course on child suicide when getting your initial licensure. The world of a child has become more complicated over the last several years and teachers are required to be prepared for more and more challenging situations.

Step 4. Get Your Initial License

Once a candidate has met all the requirements mentioned above, they will then be eligible to apply for their initial licensure. The Indiana Department of Education and the LVIS is where you will submit your application. They have many online training seminars as well as training manuals that will tell you exactly how you will create your profile and how to easily update it. These lectures will also walk you through the steps of applying for your licensure in the state. Since the application process takes place almost entirely on this website, it is important for you to familiarize yourself with it.

Step 5. Complete Your Eligibility to Apply for Your Proficient Teacher Licensure

Once you have come to the end of your 2-year initial license and, provided you have completed IMAP, then you will be able to apply for a practitioner license which will be good for five years. This will mean applying for the license using your profile on the LVIS and you'll need to get your employer to send the IDOE your school IMAP approval form.

When it's time to renew your proficient practitioner license you will need to show that you have completed a minimum of six credit hours at a regionally accredited University or College. Very often preschool teachers will meet this requirement by working towards a master's degree. Six credit hours won’t complete a degree, but with a little extra work each year, it certainly won’t take long. This extra work can result in a Master’s in Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching, or a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning.

Certification and Licensing

The Indiana Department of Education has three main licenses that a preschool teacher would want to consider. The first is called the initial practitioner (IP) license and it is specifically for new teachers. This license is issued for 2 years and is meant to be replaced at the end of that time with the next license level. In order to apply for the next license, you will need to complete the IMAP or Indiana Mentor and Assessment Program. This program requires you to enroll to participate both years that you hold your IP license. The second year you will complete the assessment tool for teachers, based on the five INTASC Principles. When you receive your letter of completion from your school on school letterhead, you will be able to then apply for your Practitioner license.

The next level is the proficient practitioner license. This license is issued for 5 years and usually only given to those teachers who have completed IMAP. You can also complete a PGP (Professional Growth Plan) to gain licensure, but this is a complicated process that you’ll have to work out with your school district and gain the necessary CEU’s during the 2 years you hold initial licensure.

Finally, there is the accomplished practitioner license which will be issued for 10 years and given to those who have met all of the state's requirements and demonstrated their ability to be a highly proficient teacher.

Just as in other states, Indiana has alternative routes for teachers. If someone comes from another state, they may be able to receive licensure if the Indiana Department of Education determines that their out-of-state qualifications are satisfactory for Indiana. There may be situations where an out-of-state teacher is found to have some deficiency to meet all the requirements set by Indiana and in this case, they may be given a reciprocal permit that will let the individual teach while at the same time receiving training in the areas of deficiency to meet the state's requirements.

The LVIS is the Licensing Verification and Information System used in Indiana. This is where you complete the step-by-step process. There will be some fees involved and it will be necessary to provide official transcripts as proof of your qualifications in the state you come from as well as meeting all the required assessments.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Degree Programs Available in Indiana

There are well over two dozen approved programs available for those wanting to enter the workforce as a preschool or other early education teacher. If you're still a high school student, then you might want to talk to a counselor to make sure that you are taking classes that will help you as you move through the qualification process. You can also ask if there are opportunities to work as a teacher's assistant to gain real-world experience.

  • Ball State University

    This is a respected state-run research school. You can earn a 4-year degree in early childhood education and in elementary education. They also offer a few choices towards a master's degree as well as doctoral degrees.

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS.
    • Curriculum and Instruction; MS., Dr, & Post-grad Certificate
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS.
    • Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs; BS.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism; MS. & Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances; Post-grad Certificate
    • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS., Dr., & Post-Grad Certificate
    • Educational, Instructional, and Curriculum Supervision; Dr.
    • Elementary and Middle school Administration/Principalship; Post-grad Certificate
    • Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching; undergrad & Post-grad Certificate
    • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching; BS. & MS.
    • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • Special Education and Teaching; MS., Dr., & Post-Grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: General Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission; Education Program Accreditation by CAEP

  • Manchester University

    This is a traditional liberal arts school. You can earn an associate's degree in early childhood education at this college or go on to complete your bachelor's degree in elementary education.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Education, General; BS
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS.

    Accreditation By: General Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission; Education Program Accreditation by NCATE

  • Butler University

    This is a School of Science and they offer a liberal arts education. The University has a bachelor degree program in elementary education. This school also offers a graduate initial licensure program that teachers can complete.

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS.
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS.
    • Education, General; BS. & MS.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness; Post-grad Certificate
    • Educational Leadership and administration; MS.
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS.
    • Special Education and Teaching; Post-grad Certificate
    • Student Counseling and Personnel Services; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: General Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission; Education Program Accreditation by NCATE

  • Indiana University Bloomington

    Indiana University has eight campuses and Bloomington is considered the state’s flagship campus. When you come to the school you can complete whatever degree level that you like. It offers Bachelor degrees, masters degrees, and doctoral degrees in elementary education and early childhood education. Some of the other campuses also have a number of degree programs available.

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS. & Dr.
    • Curriculum and Instruction; Dr.
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS.
    • Education, General; MS., Dr., & Post-grad Certificate
    • Educational Leadership & Administration; MS. & Dr.
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Special Education and Teaching; BS., MS., & Dr.
    • Speech Teacher Education; MS. & Dr.

    Accreditation By: General Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission; Education Program Accreditation by CAEP; School Psychology Program accredited by the American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation.

Job and Salary Projections for Teachers in Indiana

Because this was one of the states that were among the last to embrace pre-kindergarten, it is essentially having to play catch-up. For this reason, the preschool teacher jobs in the state will see significant growth over the next several years. Some projections suggest that it could be well over 40% higher than the national rate. The state is believed to need to increase its workforce by at least 1/4 as well as replacing a number of teachers that will be retiring over the next few years.

All of these factors mean that the position of preschool teacher in Indiana is likely to be a good choice with a secure future. According to a number of studies, the position of preschool teacher is believed to be one of the strongest and most secure occupations in terms of its likely growth over the next several years. Indiana would be one of the states needing a higher than average number of new preschool teachers.

Salaries are fairly comparable to those found throughout the country in this type of profession. The actual salary will depend on the part of the state where you teach as well as your qualifications and experience. The low-end of the salary scale is around $17,000 a year and the high-end is just under $40,000 a year. An average preschool teacher in the state will typically earn between $24,000 to $28,000 a year. The state currently employees well over 4,000 Preschool teachers and those numbers are likely to increase in the coming years.

Careers/Salaries
OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Elementary School Teacher$36,900$41,400$58,900
Special Education Teacher$33,000$40,000$51,000
Preschool Director$37,500$39,700$44,900

Videos To Help You Find The Right Career Choices

  • Teaching Special Education

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCMHWf-K6ys

  • Special Education K-2 Teacher

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an3ngVFbJC0

  • Early childhood special education, for future teachers

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJRebt7-3b4

  • Why Special Education?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3YwKIqlCsw

  • Teach Special Education

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XsaK3pWyII

  • A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh1meBo_m1w

Other Job Options Available in Indiana for Early Childhood Educators

Although going the traditional route and working in the public-school system is where the vast majority of preschool teachers work, it is not the only choice. There are a number of Head Start programs in the state and there are private schools where a preschool teacher can find employment. There are also opportunities to work as entry-level and as senior-level staff at Childcare centers. Many of these centers regularly find themselves needing both qualified teachers and assistants.

There are also opportunities to work in the private sector. There are families looking for qualified preschool teachers to work with their child in the home environment. This would be a chance to provide the very same teaching that would be found in public or private schools, but it allows the children to enjoy being in the comfort of their own home. These job opportunities can be found on an individual basis or you may find a company offering these services to parents in the state.

The idea of pre-kindergarten education started over a hundred years ago by a German teacher. From that time until the present it has been found that students who are involved in pre-kindergarten school overall do better than those you don't attend. It is an opportunity when the children are at their most amenable to mold them in a way where they discover how to learn, and they develop a love of school.

Preschool teachers play a major part in helping a child develop learning skills and a love for the process of learning. A number of studies have shown conclusively that those that attend pre-kindergarten will go on to do better throughout their school years. This will almost certainly help them to get ahead in life after school. This means that with the strength and stability of this career over the next several years and the importance it plays in the lives of these young children, it makes a great profession to consider joining.

The Governor Approves A Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Program

Although the state is one of the few in the country that still does not provide funding for pre-kindergarten, the governor has in recent years signed a pilot program for the benefit of pre-k students into law. This program will make grants available to children who are eligible. The Family and Social Services Administration in Indiana has been given the responsibility of overseeing and administering these grants. The most likely candidates for these programs are non-profit providers, public-school districts, and other non-profit organizations. These funds are the first designated by the state toward Pre-K education. By some estimations, it could cover the cost for as many as 4,000 children. It is considered a positive step forward for the Hoosier state and its education program.

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