Early Childhood Education (ECE) is a child’s first exposure to the classroom and a critical foundation to develop a love of learning. Children who enter kindergarten behind are likely to remain behind as they continue their schooling. All that to say – ECE is an essential building block for our children, our communities and our future workforce.
The demand for high-quality ECE and preschool teachers is about to expand significantly. An estimated 61,000 kids are eligible for Colorado’s upcoming Universal Preschool program – and to support this influx, the Polis administration wants nearly 3,000 new ECE professionals to enter the workforce by September 2024.
Do you need a license to teach preschool?
Most preschool programs do not require their teachers to have a Colorado teaching license – but for many educators, getting a license pays off. ECE teachers who choose to get licensed set themselves up for higher pay and significantly more flexibility over their careers.
If you get a Colorado ECE teaching license, you can teach more than preschool. An ECE teaching license will allow you to teach children ages 0 to 8 – or PreK to 3rd grade. Licensed ECE teachers are also more likely to be on a licensed salary schedule, which is generally higher than the wages earned by non-licensed preschool teachers and grants them collective bargaining rights to better negotiate wages.
How can PEBC help?
The PEBC Teacher Residency program prepares future ECE educators for exceptional teaching careers. We are one of the fastest, most supportive, and most rigorous paths to licensure out there. PEBC has two high-quality, supportive pathways available to earn your license for individuals with a bachelor’s degree. Over the course of one year, Residents will work in the classroom while completing coursework. The program is challenging and that’s why we have hands-on mentor support to fully prepare Residents for their first year of teaching. They also receive five years of support and professional development.
How can you afford a year-long training program?
Our Residents can receive up to $52,000 while they train – with most earning at least $32,000. We have several scholarships and stipends available to help make the program work for you – including several $10,000 scholarships available for rural ECE Teacher Residents! PEBC also has a clear focus on the recruitment and retention of teachers of color. Any PEBC Residents who identify as BIPOC will also be eligible for a $2,500-$5,000 stipend as a way to reduce their program costs.
What’s the next step?
Visit www.pebc.org to register for a free information session or complete your online application for the 2023-24 school year – we’re accepting applications for ECE teacher trainees past the Feb. 24 deadline, so you still have time! You can also contact us at [email protected]