In Washington state, the laws governing preschool teachers are the same as the laws and rules governing all child care center teachers. They are listed in Chapter 170-295 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). The law has different requirements for preschool teachers and teacher assistants, but it requires that all teachers have a certain level of childhood education and health training before they are allowed to become the lead teacher for any group of children.
All teachers in child care centers must be at least 18 years of age or older to work as a lead teacher in a Washington State child care center as pursuant to WAC 170-295-1030. Teacher's assistants must be at least 16 years old or older.
Teachers must have at least completed high school and earned a degree or its equivalent (such as a GRE). There is no education requirement for teacher's assistants but they must be under the direct supervision of a lead teacher at all times.
Lead teachers in Washington state preschools must have documented child development education or work experience. This can be satisfied by holding a degree in child development or early childhood education or by having previous experience working in the field of preschool education outside of Washington state. If this is unavailable then a teacher must complete at least six months of state trainings and registry systems (STARS) training before he or she can be declared a lead teacher.
STARS training can be fulfilled in a number of ways. All teachers must have at least twenty clock hours or two college quarter credit hours of basic STARS training as approved by the state. In addition to this, all teachers must have a current childhood development assoicate certificate (CDA), twelve or more college credits in early childhood education or child development, or an Associate's degree or higher in early childhood education or child development. Further, ten hours of additional clock time or one college credit of continuing education is required annually to maintain STARS certification.
Some preschools may require teachers to become certified in first aid and CPR before hiring them to be lead teachers. WAC 170-295-1100 states that "one person" certified in each of these techniques must be present with all the different groups of children at all times. Further, the training must come from a qualified professional. You must also undergo HIV/AIDS and bloodborne pathogen training as well as receive a negative Mantoux TB test within twelve months of being hired.
- little preschooler image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com