How to Become a Headstart Teacher

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Headstart is a 40-plus-year-old program that has helped children from lower income families to keep up academically and socially with their counterparts. With the federal government pushing the importance of early childhood education, there is an increased need for preschool educators. There also is a push to increase Headstart teacher's salaries to match their counterparts in the private sector.

Obtain a child development associate certification (CDA) in preschool education or an associate degree in early childhood education from an accredited college. Headstart classes are staffed by a qualified teacher and a teacher's aide or by two teachers with at least one teacher having the required credentials.


Work for two years with younger children. This is a preferred requirement that will increase your chances of getting hired. This means that should have at least one of the following experiences: at least two years of experience as a supervised student teacher to preschoolers, previous experience with pre-kindergarten children at a licensed program or previous experience as a public school preschool teacher.

Develop your leadership and organizational skills as this will be very helpful as you get involved in school and class organizational tasks. You can develop these skills by either reading self-help books or taking leadership development courses.

Develop your communication skills, both verbal and written, to help you be a better communicator..

Get your CPR/first aid certification. Contact your local Red Cross Chapter or the American Heart Association Website to find the nearest location offering certified classes.

Contact your nearest Headstart to find where you can pick up an application, using the link listed below.

Gather all other relevant documentations like a letter of interest, resume, transcripts, copies of certificates and diplomas. Figure out who your references are going to be. You will need academic references if you have no real work experience, professional references and a character reference. It is advisable to alert your references before they receive a call from Headstart's human resources office.


Headstart programs are community oriented; find a center within your community to increase you chances of getting hired. Volunteer in your local Headstart to get to know the teachers and staff. You will have to fill out an application that includes a background check to protect the children. Volunteer as a part of the Headstart Policy Council to learn more about the program.


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