The New World of Early Learning in Louisiana


Career Pathways for Teachers


For the past three years, early childhood educators and state leaders in Louisiana have joined efforts to develop a new Birth to Kindergarten Pathway for individuals interested in obtaining certificates and degrees that focus on the education of children from birth to kindergarten. 

  • This work began out of the work of the BrightStart Initiative, and has continued as part of the implementation of Act 3 as a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Board of Regents.  


Currently, smooth pathways do not exist between the Child Development Associate credential (CDA) – a national credential that can be earned with a high school degree and further coursework or clock hours – and higher education.  Also, smooth pathways do not exist between two and four year programs for birth-to- kindergarten educators.  Finally, there is currently no birth to kindergarten teacher certification in Louisiana. 


In Louisiana pre-k teachers must have a baccalaureate degree, Head Start requires at least a CDA credential, and child care teachers do not even need a high school degree. 

A workgroup of over 50 professionals has identified stackable courses for birth-to-kindergarten pathways that would lead to a certificate (such as a CDA), then associate degree, and then baccalaureate degree. Two additional workgroups have met to identify elements of online birth-to-kindergarten degrees to be offered by two and four year institutions and create course syllabi to address state and national standards.


The next steps include:

  • Establishing a new teaching certification for birth-to-kindergarten teachers.

  • Developing syllabi for 10 birth-to-kindergarten courses that are applicable to all birth-to-kindergarten educators.

  • Identify campuses that will pilot the first three birth-to-kindergarten courses in the 2014-15 school year.

  • Have campuses develop traditional and online birth-to-kindergarten associate and baccalaureate degree programs.

  • Review and approve proposals for the new birth-to-kindergarten associate and baccalaureate degrees for implementation in fall of 2015. [1]

Additional Resources:


Louisiana Board of Regents website-Birth to Kindergarten Pathway: Linked Here


[1] Based on presentation at the June 18, 2014 Joint Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Regents retrieved August 27, 2014 Link to PDF