As of 2017, the Teacher and Leader Workforce reported that 72% of new graduates from a teacher education program in Georgia are employed within a year. If you are interested in becoming certified for such a position, this article will outline the average salary you can expect, as well as the tests you will be required to complete.
Requirements for Kindergarten Teacher Certification in Georgia
|Average Salary for Georgia Kindergarten Teachers (2016)*||$52,630 (except special education)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Degree Field||Early Childhood Education|
|Testing Requirements||GACE: Program Admission;
GACE: Early Childhood Education or GACE: Birth Through Kindergarten;
Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit;
edTPA - Content Pedagogy
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Details about the Program Admission Exams
Teachers in Georgia must pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) admission exam with a 250 before entering a teacher education program. This basic skills assessment focuses on reading, math, and writing and can take up to five hours for candidates to complete. The reading subtest is 56 multiple-choice questions regarding comprehension and analysis of written material. The math subtest, which covers statistics, algebra, and geometry, is also 56 multiple-choice questions. The final subtest, writing, has 40 multiple-choice questions and two essays. If students have qualifying SAT/ACT/GRE scores, they may be exempt from the GACE: Program Admission exam.
What to Expect from an Early Childhood Education Program
In Georgia, early childhood education programs prepare individuals to teach preschool to fifth-grade. Students will take courses in topics like:
- Socio-cultural perspectives of education
- Earth science
- Mathematical foundations
- Literacy instruction
- Early childhood classroom management
There are also field experiences built into the program to allow future teachers to spend time in a kindergarten classroom.
Another program kindergarten teacher candidates can enroll in is the birth through five degree, which allows them to work with children from birth to kindergarten age. Beyond a student teaching experience late in the program, students will take classes in:
- Common medical issues for young children
- Methods for teaching kindergarten students with disabilities
- Ethical practices
- Guiding young children
During the student teaching assignment, future teachers must pass the edTPA - Content Pedagogy assessment. The assessment requires candidates to create a portfolio of teaching and assessment materials. This includes a video of them teaching a class of students, which is why this assessment takes place over the course of a student teaching placement.
Required Tests to Complete Certification
At the end of the educator preparation program, students must pass the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit. The ethics assessment consists of seven instructional modules, which highlight decision making as well as an educator's relationship/interactions with students, staff and the community. The modules culminate in a summative assessment.
There are two options for final certification exams for kindergarten teachers, and these include either the GACE: Birth Through Kindergarten or the GACE: Early Childhood Education exam. Both require a 220 to pass for induction level certification or a 250 to pass for professional level certification.
The GACE: Birth Through Kindergarten exam is made up of two subtests and can take five hours to finish. There are 160 multiple-choice questions on this exam, and they cover child development, advocating for children and families, and creating a learning environment.
The GACE: Early Childhood Education exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and two short-answer questions, which are divided between two subtests. With a general scope ranging from reading and analysis to math and science, this test is similar to the general skills exam taken to enter a teacher education program. It is, however, more in depth and takes five hours to complete.
Background Checks and Personal Affirmation Questions
Both the FBI and the state of Georgia are responsible for running a background check on potential teachers as they apply to educator positions. When applying for certification, applicants also answer questions about their education, previous teaching certifications, and tests they have taken for certification.