Hiring an assistant teacher is a big step. Whether it’s your first helper or you’ve done this before, the move shows that your program is growing and thriving. You want to find the very best help for you and your childcare kids, and you also want to make sure you follow all legalities in the hiring process. Below, you can learn more about the financial and legal aspects of hiring assistant preschool teachers in all states.
The main sign that you’re ready to hire an assistant teacher is your ratio. If you are continually reaching capacity and having to turn prospective families away, an assistant teacher is a smart move on the business and financial sides.
Another sign that you need to hire help is the simple need for support. If you’d like to take a lunch break or use time during the day to prep lesson plans, an assistant can help. If you need extra hands for toileting and diapering during story time or outside time, assistants are extremely beneficial.
No matter where you live, you should start by looking at minimum wage. This is the lowest amount you will be able to legally pay your assistant.
In many states, you will also want to consider whether you need to hire an assistant or an aide. The difference is typically supervision requirements. Aides can often be under 18, which can be helpful if you live in an area that is filled with teens who are looking for work. They often cannot be supervised, however, and they sometimes do not count as an adult for your ratio.
Everything else you need to know is state-dependent and child care type-dependent. Most states set requirements on age, training, and education for assistant teachers. Some also require health records and reference checks. Read on to see what is needed in your specific state. Be sure to check with your licensing department to verify what rules apply to the type of program you have. For example, family child care assistant hiring may have different requirements from child care centers.
Alabama — Preschool assistant teachers and aides in Alabama child care centers need to be at least 16 years old, hold at least an 8th-grade education level, must be supervised at all times, and must not be counted in the provider-to-child ratio.
Alaska — Alaska does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers but its best to check with your child care licensing agency.
Arizona — In Arizona, preschool assistant teachers must be at least 16 years old and provide proof of enrollment in high school or a high school diploma. They must have one of the following: 12+ months of experience as an Aide, documented education in early childhood education, or a completed childcare vocational program.
Arkansas — Arkansas does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers but we recommend you check with your child care licensing agency.
California — Preschool assistant teachers in California are required to have a high school diploma and six related post-secondary credits. They must also hold a Childcare Assistant Teacher Permit.
Colorado — Colorado preschool assistant teachers have three pathways to certification. The first is to hold a Credential Level 1 version 1.0 or 2.0 from the Colorado Department of Education. The second is to complete two early childhood education classes. The third is to complete one ECE class and hold 12 or more months of experience working with 4 or more children under the age of 6.
Connecticut — Assistant preschool teachers in Connecticut need a high school diploma and 540 hours of experience. In-home daycares have a few more requirements, such as medical records that indicate adequate physical and mental health, background checks, and three letters of reference.
Delaware — Delaware assistant preschool teachers need to be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and have 6+ months of experience with the age group. They must also complete one of the following: traditional high school early childhood career pathway, or 6 early childhood post-secondary credits.
Florida — There are no state-wide requirements for assistant preschool teachers in Florida. Some counties have guidelines or requirements.
Georgia — Georgia requires one of the following criteria for assistant preschool teachers: Paraprofessional’s Certificate, Child Development Associate’s Degree, Technical Certificate or Diploma in Early Childhood, Montessori Diploma, General Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s Degree, or Ph.D.
Hawaii — Hawaii requires a Child Development Associate’s or two years of post-secondary education. Also required are a certificate in ECE or at least 9 related credits, and 6 months of directly-related experience.
Idaho — Idaho does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Illinois — Illinois requires a preschool CDA of Illinois Gateway credential for those working with preschool-age children, and a high school diploma for those working with infant and toddler age groups. Also required are knowledge and experience in child development and a medical exam within the last 6 months with a tuberculosis test.
Indiana — A high-school diploma is the only requirement for Indiana assistant preschool teachers.
Iowa — Preschool assistant teachers in Iowa are required to hold a CDA credential, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.
Kansas — Kansas requires a high school diploma and either 7-9 post-secondary credits in early childhood education or 5 observation sessions and one year of experience working with children in the desired age group.
Kentucky — Kentucky does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Louisiana — Louisiana does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Maine — Most main assistant preschool teachers have no requirements, but in public schools, they must hold a State Education Technician II Authorization.
Maryland — Assistant preschool teachers in Maryland are required to be 18+ and hold a high school diploma and a combination of credits and experience: 45 credits and 400 experience hours, 15 credits and 600 hours, or no credits and 800 hours. Aides have no requirements besides being at least 16 years old.
Massachusetts — Assistant preschool teachers in Massachusetts must be at least 16 years old and enrolled in high school, or at least 18 with 10th grade completed and enrolled in courses to earn their diploma.
Michigan — Requirements include assistants being at least 18 years old, passing a background check, and having proof of being tuberculosis-free before beginning to work.
Minnesota — An assistant teacher must: be supervised at all times, be at least 18 years old, meet 1 of 9 credentials set by the state, including specifics such as holding a high school diploma, having at least 12 post-secondary early childhood education credits, and working with young children for at least 2080 hours professionally.
Aides in Minnesota need to be supervised by a teacher or assistant teacher and be at least 16 years old.
Mississippi — Assistant preschool teachers in Mississippi must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also hold an associate’s degree, with an ECE major, 12 related credits, or an outside ECE training course.
Missouri — Missouri does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Montana — Montana assistant preschool teachers must be at least 16, meet health standards, and receive on-the-job training.
Nebraska — Assistant preschool teachers in Nebraska must be at least 19 years old.
Nevada — Nevada does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
New Hampshire — Assistant in New Hampshire must be at least 16 years old and must also be supervised at all times when working with children.
New Jersey — New Jersey does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
New Mexico — New Mexico assistant teachers may need to take a 45-hour entry-level course.
New York — Assistant preschool teachers in New York must be 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and hold a NY State Assistant Teaching Certification.
North Carolina — North Carolina assistant preschool teachers must hold a high school diploma, as well as hold or be working toward their CDA. All progress toward the employee’s post-secondary degree must be documented.
North Dakota — Preschool Assistant Teachers in North Dakota must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and must be supervised at all times when working with children.
Ohio — Ohio does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Oklahoma — Oklahoma assistant preschool teachers must have an associate’s degree in child development or a related field. Aides must hold a high school diploma as well as a CDA credential.
Oregon — Oregon does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania requires assistant preschool teachers to have completed at least two years of post-secondary education with at least 24 credits in early childhood education, elementary education, or child development.
Rhode Island — Most assistant preschool teachers seem to have no requirements in Rhode Island, In public school settings, there are prerequisite trainings.
South Carolina — South Carolina assistant preschool teachers must hold a high school diploma and at least 2 years of experience. They must hold a South Carolina Early Childhood Development Credential or complete the program within 12 months of being hired. This can be waived for some individuals with adequate experience. Some of these guidelines may also be loosened for assistants who work with children 3 years old and younger.
South Dakota — South Dakota does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Tennessee — Assistant preschool teachers in Tennessee must be at least 21 years old and must complete 2 hours of orientation once hired.
Texas — Texas does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Utah — Utah does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Vermont — Vermont preschool assistant teachers must be 18 or older, hold a high school diploma, and complete 3 post-secondary credits in child development or complete an approved 30-hour training course.
Virginia — Virginia does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers.
Washington — Washington does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers, outside of some publicly-funded programs.
Washington DC — Soon, all assistant teachers in Washington DC will be required to hold a CDA credential or associate’s degree or higher.
West Virginia — Assistant preschool teachers in West Virginia should meet one of the following three prerequisites: completed CDA credential, state apprenticeship program, three state-approved classes.
Wisconsin — In a center, assistants must be 18 or older. In an in-home daycare, the age limit does not apply. All assistant preschool teachers must hold an EC1 from the state or 40 training hours.
Wyoming — Wyoming does not appear to have written requirements for daycare or preschool assistant teachers but we recommend directors check with their licensing department.
All in all, the requirements for hiring an assistant preschool teacher are fairly simple once you find your state’s information. In many states, some of these guidelines may even be lessened for in-home childcares versus centers and public school programs.
Every guideline mentioned above serves a purpose, however, from ensuring assistant teachers are healthy to giving them the tools and knowledge they need to play a role in shaping young minds. You always have the option of choosing candidates who are more than qualified to give your students, and yourself, the very best support.
Need additional help starting or running your in-home childcare? Wonderschool is here for you. Reach out to our team today for support in opening, growing, and maintaining a successful in-home childcare.
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Read this overview of the rules and regulations for all 50 states to help you navigate the hiring process and ensure that you're in compliance with local laws.
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