Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Rhode Island

Early Childhood Education in Rhode Island

Rhode Island, a small but densely populated state, is recognized for its investment in education. While the state ranks in the top ten states nationally for the amount of money it spends on students, in 2012 its student achievement rankings ranked considerably lower (GoLocalProv News). However, it received a $75-million Race to the Top grant in 2010 and is working hard to improve education throughout the state (Transforming Education in Rhode Island).

It was also a recipient of a $50 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant in 2011 to better early learning and development programs state-wide. The state developed seven projects to implement with the grant money, including Early Learning Workforce Development, Program Quality Improvement, Program Quality Standards Alignment and Measurement, Early Learning Standards and Development, Child Assessment, Early Learning Data System and Grant Management (Early Learning RI). There are many opportunities for individuals pursuing a career in early childhood education in Rhode Island.

Earning Teacher Certification or Licensure

The Rhode Island Department of Education(RIDE) includes extensive information about the ways to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring and current teachers.

Early Childhood Education(pre-K through grade two) andElementary Education (grades one through six) certificates may be granted. To apply, fill out apaper applicationor access the new online application system called eCert (in development as of June 2013). Individuals must submit proof of the following documents (if applicable):

  1. Transcripts
  2. Certification Test Score Reports
  3. Out-of-State Educator Certificate
  4. Work Experience
  5. Registered Nurse of Rhode Island Social Worker License
  6. Career and Technical Education Occupational License/Certification
  7. Coaching First Aid/CPR Card
  8. Rhode Island Interscholastic League-Approved Coursework

The state is also part of the Interstate Certification Compact (ICC), which makes available certification to those holding a valid and comparable certificate from another member state. The Reciprocity route grants certification to educators who have completed an approved teacher preparation program or who hold full certification in another state.

Alternate Route Program Certificates, Emergency Permits, and Temporary Initial Educator Certificates are also available under special circumstances.

The certification process takes approximately eight to twelve weeks. Please contact theOffice of Educator Quality and Certification(EQAC) should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.


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ECE Degree Programs in Rhode Island

There are just a few early childhood education colleges in Rhode Island.

is a land-grant public university that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood education (pre-K through two) and elementary education (K through six). It also has a doctoral degree program in education. It was one of the nation’s first teacher preparatory schools and produces more teachers than any other institution in Rhode Island today.

is a liberal-arts Catholic university known for having one of the most beautiful and unique campuses in the United States. The campus spreads across 80 acres in the Ochre Point-Cliffs National Historic District. Its education department offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (pre-K through two) and elementary education (grades one through six).

offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood (pre-K through two) and elementary (grades one through six) education. It also offers a master’s degree with a specialization in elementary education. It is ranked as a top-tier national university byU.S. News and World Report.

Rhode Island’s Job Openings for Educators

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. To get a job, you must apply at the local level in one of the 36 school districts. View theschool directoryto access contact information for Rhode Island schools. You can also view the school, district, and state report cardshere.

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.orgcan help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Organizations for Early Childhood Teachers

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Rhode Island that share similar visions.

TheNational Education Association of Rhode Island(NEARI) has 11,800 members and aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It has been advocating for 163 years. The association provides union benefits and is affiliated with theNational Education Association(NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization with 3.2 million members.

TheRhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children(RIAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It is the managing agency forBrightStars, Rhode Island’s rating and improvement system. It is also an affiliate of theNational Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

TheRhode Island Federation of Teachers(RIFT), an affiliate of theAmerican Federation of Teachers(AFT), represents both workers in education and healthcare. The group aims to improve the quality of services at the national, state, and local level.


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Rhodes Island ECE Bloggers

TheRhode Island Public Radioeducation blog discusses issues surrounding education reform, while theProvidence Journalinforms readers of hot topics in Rhode Island’s schools today. Many educators also provide insightful information through their personal blogs.

Smiling in Second Gradeis written by a second-grade teacher who shares a variety of resources and lesson plan ideas for early elementary teachers.

Stand with the Kids, created by a writer and education consultant, includes a variety of informational articles about children at early ages.

Education for Allis maintained by a former teacher and principal who shares the resources he’s collected over the past 15 years to help teachers and parents support children in learning.

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