Early childhood programs, like Louisiana Head Start, are childcare and early learning services that are paid for using public funds. Teachers that work for the Head Start program lay the foundation for a child's education by working to develop the child's learning capabilities. Because of this, the standard for teaching in a Head Start program requires certain qualifications that the candidate must possess in order to be hired. Required qualifications include the minimum required education, training, and certification. This article will provide information on how to become a Head Start teacher in Louisiana.
Head Start Teacher Qualifications in Louisiana
|Average Salary for Preschool Teachers in Louisiana (2018) *||$32,290|
|Required Degree||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Degree Field||Child development or early childhood education|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete Education and Certification Requirements
A person seeking a teaching position in a Head Start program must possess at least a high school diploma or GED. They must also earn a Child Development Associates (CDA) certificate that has been issued by the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA must be specific to infant/toddler or preschool children and must be earned through a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)-approved preparation program provider. Approved providers may include colleges, universities, vocational schools, and high school programs. The program consists of 120 hours of coursework and 35 clock hours or less of hands-on teacher training. A list of approved providers may be found on the Louisiana Department of Education website. The BESE-approved Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate program will train the candidate in methods to teach and care for children of a preschool or younger age, and the certificate will be issued once program training is completed. The Louisiana Pathway Scholarship provides financial assistance for the BESE programs, and approved programs work with the scholarship program to maintain tuition fees at an affordable cost.
Step 2: Complete Application Requirements
Once the candidate can provide proof of a high school diploma or equivalent and has obtained a CDA, they must apply to the Louisiana Department of Education for an initial certification using the Initial Ancillary Early Childhood Application that is provided on the Teach Louisiana website. The application packet is provided as a PDF document that will need to be saved to computer in order to edit information fields. A CDA qualifying addendum form must be filled out with the packet that declares the candidate to be qualified through fulfillment of a BESE-approved early childhood certificate program and a professional conduct form that requests information on the candidate's criminal history, if any. Once the candidate has completed the application and provided an electronic signature, the packet must be submitted through the provided link, on the application, that leads to the LDOE certificate submission portal. The applicant is required to submit the application along with all supporting documentation, and no fees are required to be paid with this application. Once the applicant's qualifications have been verified to satisfy all requirements, the candidate will be issued a Level 1 certification to teach for a Head Start program in Louisiana.