Early Childhood Teacher Certification in the District of Columbia

Early Childhood Education in Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia, our nation’s capital – more commonly referred to as Washington, D.C. – is home to many historical landmarks and national museums. The district earns below-average marks for its overall public education system, in comparison to the fifty states. It is ranked the 45th best education system in Education Week’s 2013 annual rankings, receiving an overall “C-” grade. It earned an “F” in the K-through-12 Achievement category. While these marks are low, it was noted in 2008 that the district is more appropriately compared to a large city than to a state because of its size and demographics.

On a positive note, the district does make early childhood education a priority, with more three-year-olds attending preschool than in most states in 2013, and a respectable number of four-year-olds doing the same.Overall, there is a large number of opportunities for individuals interested in making a difference as an educator in Washington, D.C.

Requirements for Teacher Certification in Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia Public Schools page includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

To be able to teach in Washington, D.C., applicants must have earned the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The three main types of licenses available are as follows:

  • Regular I: valid for two years for applicants who are currently enrolled in an approved teacher-preparation program and teaching at a local D.C. school.
  • Regular II: valid for four years for applicants who have successfully completed an approved teacher-preparation program, or requirements listed in the D.C. Municipal Regulations.
  • Transitional: valid for one year for applicants who majored in the content area they plan to teach.

Out-of-state candidates who have completed a teacher-preparation program, or who currently hold a valid license, can apply for reciprocity. Individuals may also pursue an alternative route to licensure through the Teach for America.


Sponsored Content

Be sure to submit the appropriate application along with the required materials, such as official transcripts, test scores, a criminal history report, fees and more. It takes about 12 weeks to process a license. View the Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact the licensing department, should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.

Early Childhood Degree Programs in D.C.

There are several early childhood education degree programs in Washington, D.C. Here are three to consider:

is a private university initially founded to serve black students. It offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, as well as master’s degrees in both early childhood and elementary education. It prides itself on the social and cultural experiences available to students.

in a national university affiliated with the Catholic Church that offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood and elementary education. It seeks to impart an understanding about Catholicism while offering high-quality education to its students.

the largest higher-education institution in the district with over 20,000 students, offers a graduate program for aspiring early childhood educators. It has master’s degree programs in early childhood special education and elementary education, as well as a few doctoral degree options. The school has three campuses and several graduate centers in the metropolitan and Hampton Roads areas.

Finding a Teaching Job in Washington, D.C.

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. The Career Opportunities page posts available positions, as does the Washington Post Jobs site. District of Columbia Teaching Jobs is a free service that allows users to create a resume, search for openings, prepare an application, correspond with employers and more.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community, as well.

Washington, D.C.’s Professional Organizations for Teachers

There are many professional organizations for teachers in Washington, D.C. sharing similar visions.

The Washington Teachers Union (WTU), in operation for 40 years and serving over 5,000 active members, aims to raise the standards of the teaching profession while strengthening schools. It also provides legal services to its members, along with a variety of other benefits that can be viewed here.


Sponsored Content

The National Education Association (NEA) is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and also strives to better public education. It provides union benefits and is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a D.C.-based organization that increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education while providing professional development for educators. It strives to help children from birth through age eight, as well as their families, and consists of 80,000 members nation-wide.

Top Education Blogs in D.C.

The education section of the Washington Post covers hot topics, issues and events in D.C. schools, as does the Huffington Post’s education page.

The Washington Teacher is designed to facilitate communication about education as well.

Teacher SOL is written by a Washington, D.C. teacher who shares a variety of classroom resources for differentiated instruction, literacy centers, reading intervention, classroom management, classroom environment, choice boards and more.

Back to top