• Become an Early Childhood Educator: Birth to Pre-K

    Do you want to become an early childhood educator who supports children from to pre-kindergarten? Delaware offers many ways to earn certification based on the type of position you want. See below for each position's requirements.

    Related: See requirements for becoming an early childhood educator in school-age kindergarten settings and beyond.


    Early Childhood Intern

    Performs direct childcare functions and related duties under the supervision of an early childhood teacher and the direct observation of at least an early childhood assistant teacher or early childhood caregiver. This individual can be alone with children as specified in the regulations. Must meet one of the options below:

    Option A:

    Must be at least 16 years of age and complete:

    (1) at least three college or university credits in either child development or early childhood education

    or

    (2) at least 15 clock hours of quality assured training in early care and education. No additional experience necessary.

    Option B:

    Must be at least 15 years of age and currently attending:

    (1) a vocational or technical high school’s three-year program in early childhood education

    or

    (2) a traditional high school’s career pathway program in early childhood with verification of enrollment. No additional experience necessary


    Early Childhood Assistant Teacher

    Performs direct childcare functions and related duties and assists in the implementation of curriculum under the supervision of at least an early childhood teacher. May supervise early childhood interns, early childhood aides, volunteers, and substitutes.

    Must be at least 18 years of age, and

    Have a high school diploma or its equivalent recognized by the Delaware Department of Education, and

    Have a minimum of six (6) months experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting, and

    Must meet one of the options below:

    Option A:

    TECE 1

    Option B:

    Successful completion of a traditional high school early childhood career pathway

    Option C:

    Six (6) college credits with three in early childhood education and three credits in child development


    Early Childhood Teacher

    Performs direct childcare functions and related duties under the supervision of an early childhood administrator or early childhood curriculum coordinator. Is immediately responsible for the direct care, supervision, guidance, and education of children at a center. May implement the curriculum and daily activities for a group of children. May supervise early childhood assistant teachers, early childhood caregivers, early childhood interns, early childhood aides, volunteers, and substitutes.

    Must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or its equivalent recognized by the Delaware Department of Education and meet one of the options below:

    Option A:

    TECE 1 and TECE 2

    Option B:

    Valid Child Development Associate (CDA) credential

    Option C:

    Delaware Department of Labor's child care worker apprenticeship program

    Option D:

    Nine (9) college credits of which three (3) must be in early childhood education, three (3) in child development, and three (3) in early childhood positive behavior management

    Option E:

    Vocational/technical high school three-year early childhood program

    Option F:

    Montessori Infant and Toddler Full/Associate credential or Montessori Early Childhood Full/Associate credential

    Option G:

    Successful completion of a one year early childhood diploma program from a two-year college

    Option H:

    Bachelor’s degree or Associate degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, elementary special education, or child psychology with six (6) credits in child development or early childhood, and

    1. Three (3) months of supervised student teaching birth through second grade

    or

    2. Six (6) months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    Option I:

    Bachelor’s degree or associate's degree in any area of study/major with six (6) credits in child development or early childhood, and

    Six (6) months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    NOTE: Education options A-G also require a minimum of twelve (12) months experience (to include 1,000 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.


    Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator

    Works under the supervision of the early childhood administrator and may be responsible for the direct care, supervision, guidance, and education of children at the center. The early childhood curriculum coordinator develops and evaluates curriculum and implements or monitors implementation of curriculum and daily activities for children at the center. This individual may supervise early childhood teachers, early childhood assistant teachers, early childhood caregivers, early childhood interns, early childhood aides, volunteers, and substitutes.

    Must be at least 20 years of age and meet one of the options below:

    Option A:

    High school diploma or its equivalent, and

    Fifteen (15) college credits in early childhood education to include six (6) credits in early childhood curriculum development and planning, and

    Minimum of twenty-four (24) months experience (to include 2,000 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    Option B:

    Associate degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or elementary special education

    Fifteen (15) college credits in early childhood education to include six (6) credits in early childhood curriculum development and planning

    Minimum of three (3) months of supervised student teaching birth through second grade, and

    1. Three (3) months of experience working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    or

    2. Six (6) months of experience working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    Option C:

    Associate degree in any other area of study/major, and

    Fifteen (15) credits in early childhood education to include six (6) credits in early childhood curriculum development and planning, and

    Minimum of twelve (12) months experience (to include 1,000 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    Option D:

    Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or elementary special education or child psychology, and

    Fifteen (15) credits in early childhood education to include six (6) credits in early childhood curriculum development and planning, and

    1. Minimum of three (3) months of supervised student teaching birth through second grade

    or

    2. Six (6) months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

    Option E:

    Bachelor’s degree in any other area of study/major, and

    Fifteen (15) credits in early childhood education to include six (6) credits in early childhood curriculum development and planning.

    Minimum of six (6) months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.


    Early Childhood Administrator

    Has direct responsibility for the center’s total program of services provided to children and their families, including administrative aspects whenever applicable. Approves curriculum. May serve as the early childhood curriculum coordinator, developing and evaluating curriculum and implementing or monitoring implementation of curriculum and daily activities for children. Supervises all staff.

    Must be at least 21 years of age, and

    Have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university to include fifteen (15) college credits in early childhood education with 3 credits from each of the following areas:

    • child development/learning
    • environment/curriculum
    • social-emotional development
    • observation/assessment
    • early childhood elective

    Must have a minimum of twelve (12) months experience (to include 1,000 hours) experience working with children ages birth through second grade in a group setting.

Last Modified on July 19, 2019