How to Become a Preschool Teacher in Louisiana

An ECE Louisiana Degree & Career Guide

Your Early Childhood Teacher Requirements and Career Guide

The future of Louisiana lies in education, as does the future of the entire country. With evidence-based approaches to teaching customized to the specific developmental needs of children, Louisiana teachers are able to help their students achieve their full potential and develop a love of learning. Early childhood is one of the most important stages of development because it is a period of substantial learning and brain growth. Starting a career in early childhood education can help you make a significant difference in the lives of children.

The job outlook for early education professionals is positive. It is estimated that job openings for preschool teachers in Louisiana are expected to increase up to 10% by 2024. Demand for elementary school teachers may increase 6% during the same period.

4 Steps to Becoming an Early Childhood Teacher in Louisiana

In Louisiana, Early Childhood Education (ECE)-certified preschool teachers are allowed to teach children from pre-k to Grade 3. Louisiana is currently implementing a plan designed to improve kindergarten readiness for at risk children through the strengthening of the early childhood system, often called Head Start.

The Early Childhood Care and Education Act of 2012 was passed by Louisiana’s legislature to address an early childhood system that was preparing far too few children for kindergarten. The law was designed to develop an Early Childhood System of Local Networks. The network is geared towards providing more Louisiana children with access to publicly-funded early childhood programs. The network should prepare more Louisiana children for success, from kindergarten on through the rest of their academic lives.

Step 1. Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

In Louisiana, all preschool teachers are required to at least complete a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university or college. Graduating with your bachelor’s degree will require the completion of at least 120 credits and around 4 years. If you are ready to earn your Bachelor’s degree, you must have a passion for teaching and improving the lives of young children.

Once you are accepted to the teaching program in your preferred school, you can start with core teaching courses, in which you will learn teaching techniques and methodology. You’ll also need to complete at least 180 hours of experience and a whole semester of student teaching before you can become certified.

Once you earn your license, you’ll be able to teach children ages birth through 8 years. You have to be comfortable working with children in all these ranges, which is why Louisiana schools give you the chance to work in different classes and learning settings.

The final semester of school is dedicated primarily to student teaching. While some of the teaching experiences require just a few hours of work each week, student teaching is incredibly similar to a traditional teaching job. The references that you get at this point of your education will go a long way towards helping you start your career.


Alternative routes to Certification Preparation

If you want to gain some experience, you have the option to finish your teacher preparation coursework while you work full-time as a teacher. If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree prior to this, you can instead work toward your master’s degree while completing coursework that counts toward your teacher preparation program. Additionally, if you already have a bachelor’s, but you aren’t interested in receiving your master’s just yet, you can go through a certification-only program. This will allow you to complete a truncated program that will prepare you for teacher licensure while not culminating in any kind of degree.

Step 2. Take Required Exams

You will be required to pass the PRAXIS and PRAXIS II examinations once you have finished your teacher preparation program. These are standardized national tests that verify you have a thorough knowledge of teaching methods and the necessary skills you will be teaching children, as well as

The PRAXIS I exams are for testing your basic knowledge and include Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics, Writing, and Reading. You’ll have to achieve passing scores for each section, which are 150, 162, and 156 respectively.

You can earn exemption from taking core exams if you have received outstanding scores on your SAT (math and verbal score of 1030) or ACT (score of 22). You could also be exempted from the core exams if you pursue the alternative degree option and attain a master’s degree.

In Louisiana, you will also need to take the PRAXIS II exams. These examinations cover specific content dealing with the following subjects: Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood and Elementary Education: Content Knowledge. You’ll need to attain passing scores of 157 and 150 respectively.

You will probably take your Praxis exams at your university or college but testing centers can be found throughout Louisiana in: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Metairie, Bossier City, and Monroe.

Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certificate

Once all requirements are accounted for, you can apply for what is called a ‘Level 1 Professional Teaching Certificate’. You will need to submit a completed application and also the following: copies of your PRAXIS score reports, a completed Professional Conduct Form, official sealed transcripts from the college where you completed you teacher preparation program, and a $50 application fee.

You’ll mail a hard-copy of everything to the Louisiana Department of Education. You can expect the Department to notify you about receiving the documentation and application. You can check the status of the certification application at any time by visiting the official Teach Louisiana website and entering your details.

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Teaching Certificate

Your Level 1 teaching certificate will be good for your first 3 years. While you work for these years, you will need to also complete the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program. This program provides mentorship for new teachers. Your new employer will also be providing evaluations of your work over these 3 years. Assuming you get positive evaluations, you will be able to upgrade after 3 years to the Level 2 Professional Certificate.

A Level 3 Certificate also requires 3 years of positive employer evaluations and at least 5 years of teaching in Early Childhood Education. Your request for a Level 3 Certificate will be submitted to the Department of Education by your employing district.

Renewing Certificates

In order to renew a Level 1 certificate, you must have your employing district make the request for renewal. It can be renewed only once for 3 more years.

A Level 2 or 3 Certificate can only be renewed if the standards of effectiveness as defined by your school district are met.

Louisiana ECE Programs

  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Degrees Offered:

      • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS. • Curriculum and Instruction; MS. • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS. & Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teachings of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; MS. • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS., Dr., & Post-grad Certificate • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS., MS., & Post-grad Certificate • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching; BS., MS., & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Education program accreditation by CAEP

  • Louisiana State University-Shreveport

    Degrees Offered:

      • Curriculum and Instruction; MS. • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS. • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS. • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & Post-grad Certificate • Special Education and Teaching; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Education program accreditation by CAEP

  • Louisiana Tech University

    Degrees Offered:

      • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS. • Curriculum and Instruction; MS. • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS., MS., & Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teachings of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teachings of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; Post-grad Certificate • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS., Dr., & Post-grad Certificate • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & MS. • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching; BS. & MS. • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Education program accreditation by CAEP

  • McNeese State University

    Degrees Offered:

      • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS. • Curriculum and Instruction; MS. • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS. & Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teachings of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness; Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS., MS., & Post-grad Certificate • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching; BS. • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate • Special Education and Teaching; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Education program accreditation by CAEP

  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Degrees Offered:

      • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Curriculum and Instruction; MS. • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS. & MS. • Education/Teachings of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs; Post-grad Certificate • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented; Post-grad Certificate • Educational Administration and Supervision; Post-grad Certificate • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS. & Post-grad Certificate • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS., MS., & Post-grad Certificate • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching; BS. • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate • Special Education and Teaching; MS. & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Education program accreditation by NCATE

Salaries for Preschool Teachers in Louisiana

As states all across the nation realize the vital importance of formal education for young children, the need for Early Childhood Educators will only increase. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, preschool teachers was one of the quickest growing occupations for the 10-year period that ended in 2016. The annual mean preschool teacher salary in Louisiana stands at around $36,000.

Higher preschool teacher salaries in Louisiana can also be found in non-urban regions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Iberia, which is a nonmetropolitan area was the 5th highest paying such region in the country for preschool teachers in 2013. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, close to 50% of the 3,140 Louisiana preschool teachers in 2013 were situated in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas. Twenty-two percent were located in the Baton Rouge area while 24.8% were located in the New Orleans area.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Salaries in Louisiana

OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Preschool Teacher$29,000$32,200$37,000
Elementary School Teacher$50,500$50,300 $59,400
Professor of Education $63,000 $72,800 $118,500
Special Education Teacher$45,000$41,000$49,500
School Psychologist $54,200$61,000 $73,200

Accredited Early Childhood Educator Teacher Preparation Programs

Accreditation allows schools to earn credibility and enhance their reputation as leaders in education. Accredited schools are those that have been certified and met the standards set by the governing agency. Depending on the type of school it is, the college is expected to meet certain standards by the national or regional accreditation agency to which it is applying.

Schools are required to demonstrate a solid foundation and mission of educating students. They must also show that they have the resources needed to continue doing this in the long term. Accreditation requires regular checks and reviews to ensure that institutions maintain these standards. It is advisable to only apply to accredited Louisiana colleges, otherwise you might not receive the education needed to get a job.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional accrediting agency for southern states, Louisiana included. The body’s accreditation standards include an extensive review of the school’s institutional mission, governance, effectiveness, and sometimes even financial resources.

Videos To Help You Find The Right Career Choices

  • A Day in the Life - Preschool Teacher

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOuvns_664c

  • Why Become a Teacher?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqe8C7dwViE

  • Careers in Early Childhood Education

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1bUO3YFyPo

  • Meaningful Inclusion in Early Childhood

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2wJqDw9B68

  • Life as a Kindergarten Teacher

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBiL04gI4Yw

  • What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrU6YJle6Q4

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