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What are the current Head Start teacher qualifications?

What are the current requirements for Head Start teacher qualifications?

Each Head Start classroom in center-based programs must have a teacher who has at least one of the following qualifications:

   1. A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential that is appropriate to the age of the children being served;
   2. A State-awarded certificate for preschool teachers that meets or exceeds the requirements for a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential; (Please contact your regional office to determine if your state’s certificate meets the requirements for a CDA.)
   3. An associate, baccalaureate or advanced degree in early childhood education;
   4. An associate degree in a field related to early childhood education and coursework equivalent to a major relating to early childhood education with experience teaching preschool-age children;
   5. A baccalaureate or advanced degree in any field and coursework equivalent to a major relating to early childhood education with experience teaching preschool-age children or;
   6. A baccalaureate degree in any field and has been admitted into the Teach For America program, passed a rigorous early childhood content exam, such as the Praxis II, participated in a Teach For America summer training institute that includes teaching preschool children, and is receiving ongoing professional development and support from Teach For America’s professional staff.

However, a 180-day waiver may be granted to the above requirement if a Head Start agency can demonstrate it has attempted unsuccessfully to recruit a qualified candidate and the individual for whom the waiver is being requested is enrolled in a program that will award that individual a qualifying credential, certificate or degree within 180 days of being hired as a teacher.

What will the requirements for Head Start Teachers be as of October 1, 2011?

By October 1, 2011, each Head Start classroom in center-based programs must have a teacher who has at least one of the following:

   1. An associate, baccalaureate or advanced degree in early childhood education;
   2. An associate degree in a field related to early childhood education and coursework equivalent to a major relating to early childhood education, with experience teaching preschool-age children;
   3. A baccalaureate or advanced degree in any field and coursework equivalent to a major relating to early childhood education, with experience teaching preschool-age children or;
   4. A baccalaureate degree in any field and has been admitted into the Teach For America program, passed a rigorous early childhood content exam, such as the Praxis II, participated in a Teach For America summer training institute that includes teaching preschool children and is receiving ongoing professional development and support from Teach For America’s professional staff.

However, a 3-year waiver can be granted to the above requirement if a Head Start agency can demonstrate it has attempted unsuccessfully to recruit a qualified candidate and the individual for whom the waiver is being requested is enrolled in a program that will grant that individual a qualifying degree in a reasonable time period. If such a waiver is granted, there must be, in that individual’s classroom, a teacher with a CDA credential appropriate to the age of the children being served or an individual with a State awarded certificate for preschool teachers that meets or exceeds the requirements of a CDA credential.

What will the requirements for Head Start Teachers be as of September 30, 2013?

By September 30, 2013 at least 50% of Head Start teachers nation-wide must have a baccalaureate or advanced degree in Early Childhood Education or a baccalaureate or advanced degree in any subject, and coursework equivalent to a major relating to early childhood education with experience teaching preschool-age children.

OHS expects every grantee to make reasonable progress in increasing its numbers of teachers with qualifying BA degrees but there is not a requirement for each grantee to assure that at least 50% of its teachers have such degrees. The requirements established in 2011 for every Head Start teacher will continue to apply.



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Last Updated
5th of February, 2010

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