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What is Early Childhood Education?

If you're planning to become a preschool teacher in the state of Idaho and wondering how to get your ECE Teacher Degree, there are some important steps that you should take in your planning. You can start these steps as soon as you graduate high school or earn your GED. Many students plan early on in their high school education to become teachers and these steps can help them to pre-plan their education so that they can have the job of their dreams.

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Steps to Become an Early Childhood Education Teacher in Idaho

It's important to note that each school will have slightly different requirements and some of the requirements may go by a different name from one school to the next. Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the requirements prior to the submission of the applications and fees to ensure that everything is completed properly. If anything is missing in the application process it could cause a serious delay in your goal of becoming an Early Childhood Educator.

Step 1. Earn a Degree

You'll need to complete your approved teacher preparation program. In order to teach in the state of Idaho, you have to successfully complete a teacher preparation program that is approved by the Idaho State Board of Education. These programs are approved and defined by the board. It must be accredited by the regional accrediting association and also be approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or the NCATE. According to the standards set by NCATE, there are specific core teaching requirements that must be passed in order to become a teacher in the state of Idaho.

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At least 30 semester credit hours (or 45 quarter credit hours) are required. These hours will focus on the subject of early childhood, early childhood special education, and the instructional technology field. The practicum must include early childhood development courses and be specific for birth to grade 3.

Here are some sample courses you might take:

  • Foundations of Education
  • Exceptionality in Schools
  • Elementary Studies Curriculum & Instruction
  • Assessment in Teaching & Learning
  • Classroom Learning Environments

The hours that are required will also include 6 semester credit hours or 9 quarter credit hours of Early Childhood Student Teaching. Student's must receive institutional recommendation prior to application for the initial certificate to teach preschool in the state of Idaho.

Step 2. Complete any Required Exams

The second important step on the road to leading your own classroom is to take the appropriate PRAXIS exams. Taking and passing these exams will allow you to receive your initial teaching credential and your certificate to teach birth-grade 3. These exams include Early Childhood: Content Knowledge (must score at least 158) and the Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood (must score 159 minimum).

All PRAXIS exams are administered via the ETS. The exam outlines and requirements can be previewed on their website and the registration and schedule for the exams are available on the ETS website. There you can also view a list of testing locations, which are limited within the state of Idaho.

Step 3. Standards and Qualifications

Once you’ve taken all of the necessary exams, and received back passing scores, you must apply for your Initial Certification as a Preschool Teacher. In order to apply for early childhood or blended birth teaching certificate for birth to grade 3, student's must complete and submit the application packet. This includes: filling out the paperwork and signing, a fingerprint card for background check, a $40 fee for background check, a $75 fee payable to the State Department of Education for application processing, Institutional Recommendation form B2, and official PRAXIS II exam scores for verification.

Step 4. Become an Early Childhood Teacher in Idaho

Once you receive your initial teaching certificate, this will allow you to teach for 5 years before it expires. At the end of those 5 years, if you have continued teaching and fulfilled all other requirements for continuing education, you will be able to apply for a standard teaching certificate, which is the next level in teaching qualifications. In order to qualify for the standard teaching certificate, you'll have to complete at least the 6 required semester credit hours during the previous 5 years that you hold your initial teaching certificate. The state of Idaho requires that you take at least half of these semester credits from an accredited college or a university.

As long as the board's renewal requirements have been met, a teacher can choose to seek a master's degree to further advance their teaching career. The higher the education they receive, the higher the salary level for the teacher. Not all preschool teachers will focus on a higher salary or educational field as some simply enjoy teaching young children. The specific requirements will be dependent on the ultimate goal. Take your time to focus on the end result you want and work from there.

Popular Career Choices:

  • Preschool Teacher
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher

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Because the state of Idaho does not provide state-funded pre-k programs, only about a third of young children attend this level of schooling. While many of the school districts offer pre-kindergarten programs, the children who reside in the state of Idaho aren't required to attend pre-kindergarten or preschool, nor are they required to attend kindergarten. However, the state of Idaho still has specific requirements for their Early Childhood Educators. The state’s requirements focus on a bachelor’s that allows teachers to teach special education and regular students in a blended classroom environment.

If your goal is to become a preschool teacher in the state of Idaho, you'll need to accomplish your early childhood or early childhood special education certificate or a blended form thereof, from the Idaho State Department of Education. This certificate will allow you to teach children who are ages from birth, to grade 3. This will include children who are at a high risk of developmental delay and reside in any particular or specific educational setting or region.

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If your goal is to become a preschool teacher in the state of Idaho, you'll first need to achieve your early education certificate from an accredited school. Then, you'll have to take a test at the Idaho State Department of Education and pass the test. Once you've passed the test, you'll be allowed to teach children from birth to grade 3. This will include children who are at a high risk of developmental delays in an educational setting.

Students who are seeking to become a preschool teacher in the state of Idaho and who wish to take their ECE Teacher Degree will want to work closely with a counselor or student aid to locate the proper pre-requisites and focus on their goals. It's important to make sure that all of the proper credentials are submitted in the proper time frame and that the student has filled out the paperwork completely.

All applications and paperwork must have the fees included in the packet. Packets that are missing items will be sent back and it could delay the student entering school in a timely fashion thus delaying their ECE teacher degree goals. Each university and school will handle things slightly differently so make sure to check with the particular school of choice to ensure that all of the proper documentation is enclosed to prevent any delays.

Admissions supervisors will have all of the important details at the ready for students who are seeking a State of Idaho ECE Teacher degree. Keep in mind that it can take several years to obtain all of the required documentation and it's not a career that you will obtain in a year.

Here are some schools which offer education degrees:

  • Brigham Young University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Early Childhood Education & Teaching, A.S. & B.S.
    • Elementary Education & Teaching, B.S.
    • Speech Teacher Education, B.S.

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

  • College of Idaho

    Degrees Offered:

    • Curriculum & Instruction, M.S.
    • Elementary Education & Teaching, B.S.
    • Physical Education Teaching & Coaching, B.S.
    • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels; M.S.

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

  • Northwest Nazarene University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Administration of Special Education, M.S.
    • School Counseling and Guidance Services, M.S.
    • Curriculum & Instruction, M.S. & Post-grad Certification
    • Education, Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, M.S.
    • Elementary Education & Teaching, B.S.
    • Physical Education Teaching & Coaching, B.S.
    • Special Education & Teaching, B.S.

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

  • University of Idaho

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services, M.S. & Post-grad Certification
    • Curriculum & Instruction, M.S. & Post-grad Certification
    • Education, General; A.S., B.S., & M.S.
    • Education Leadership & Administration, B.S.
    • Elementary Education & Teaching, A.S. & B.S.
    • Physical Education Teaching & Coaching, A.S. & B.S.
    • Special Education & Teaching, B.S.

    Accreditation By: Regional Accreditation by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Potential Careers and Salaries for Graduates

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the state anticipates the number of preschool teaching jobs to increase by as much as 16% throughout the entire state from 2010-2020. It's projected that the increase will be twice as high for the northern region as it is for the rest of the state. According to the Idaho Department of Labor, Communications, and Research report, there are approximately 940 preschool teachers in the state of Idaho as of 2014. By the end of the year 2022, the state anticipates that this number will rise to 1150.

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Nearly all regions of Idaho anticipate increases in the need for preschool teachers.

Eastern Region Southeastern Region Southwestern Southcentral
30.6% 22.2% 30.6% 23.5%

As many as 59.5% of the anticipated 42 jobs created for each year will be due to the requirement of replacing teachers that have chosen to leave the workforce. Remaining jobs will be due to the growth in the preschool teaching field. During the 2014 year, the average preschool teacher earned $26,600. Entry-level teachers earned approximately $16,837 annually.

Salaries for the metropolitan areas include:

  • Coeur d' Alene $16,872 to $26,110
  • Idaho Falls $16,656 to $18,030

In the metropolitan areas of the state, the salaries were higher than in the more rural areas of the state.

Northern Southcentral Southeastern
$19,192 to $29,120 $17,050 to $30,080 $18,029 to $29,140

Options for Idaho Preschool Teachers Careers

  • Public Schools

    while most of the time we think of teachers as working in the public-school sector, your options in this sector may be somewhat limited in Idaho. As stated before, Idaho is one of the few states in the US that does not offer a funded Pre-kindergarten program, therefore their public-school positions may be limited.

  • Private Schools

    Many private institutions exist for pre-k students in Idaho. These private programs fill the gap that a lack of public funding has left. You may be able to find work in a YMCA program for young children, or in a child care facility which offers early-learning courses for their client’s children.

    There are clearly many options for Idaho preschool teachers and careers. You’ll just need to search in your area to see where there is a need for teachers with your credentials.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the breakdown for 2013 Prekindergarten teachers’ salaries were as follows:

Boise City $13.02 / hourly salaries
Nampa $13.02/hourly
Coeur d' Alene $12.55/hourly
Idaho Falls $8.67/hourly
Lewiston $13.68/hourly
Logan Utah/Idaho $12.15/hourly
Northern Idaho (Non-metro) $14.00/hourly
Southcentral (Non-metro) $14.46/hourly
Eastern Idaho (Non-metro) $14.01/hourly

The average preschool teacher, however, this doesn't include special education, will earn $12.46 per hour. They may also be eligible for a bonus of $388 and profit sharing of $1500.

Pay rates may vary from as low as $9.44/hourly to $17.39/hourly depending on the education, location, and the years of experience. Overtime pay may be from $13.14/hourly to $24.89/hourly. With bonuses from $75.00 to $1925. The total pay may be as high as $19,409 to $38,943 dependent on the contributing factors.

Occupation Entry-Level Mid-Career Late-Career
Pre-school Teacher $35,200 NA $45,600
Professor of education NA $101,900 $128,000
Special Education Pre-school Teacher $34,900 $48,700 $58,600

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