The 2015 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council’s Transforming the Workforce report highlights the state’s role in creating a pathway for early care and education (ECE) teachers to acquire the needed education and professional development to meet the demands of their important role. Research shows that ECE teachers’ skills and competencies are predictive of child outcomes and that education with specialization in early childhood development is correlated with child outcomes.
This paper provides policymakers with a review of published research on ECE workforce education and credentials as well as research on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor’s degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. Examples of state funding sources and strategies to increase the percentage of ECE teachers with bachelor’s degrees and ECE credentials are included. Moreover, the paper describes promising practices employed by some states designed to retain educated and credentialed ECE teachers. The paper concludes with recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor’s degrees and ECE credentials.