Pre-Kindergarten Teaching Opportunities in New York City

New York City is committed to ensuring that every four-year-old has access to high-quality full-day pre-K. Early childhood educators are putting their talents to work in public school and community-based early childhood centers across the city.

Mayor de Blasio: "We can change the lives of tens of thousands of children in a matter of months."


  • Helps develop critical vocabulary, oral language, and problem-solving skills
  • Establishes strong partnerships with families from the beginning
  • Raises academic success across all income and racial groups

Why Universal Pre-K (UPK)?

There is a broad consensus in New York that high-quality, full-day pre-K helps children succeed in school and in life. Research shows that pre-K reduces income inequality and increases social mobility and long-term educational gains for children.

More than 70,000 families are likely to need a full-day pre-K option for their four-year-olds, but only 20,000 currently receive full-day pre-K.

Every student in New York City deserves an opportunity to have the foundation of skills, knowledge, and approaches to learning needed to be ready for school and ultimately, college and careers.

• For more information on universal pre-K, visit the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood Education.

Pre-K Settings in NYC

Each of New York City’s pre-K teachers works in one of two settings:
  • New York City public schools Pre-K programs are offered at more than 600 district public elementary schools across the City. These classes are fully integrated into their school community and operate similarly to other grades in the building. Pre-K teachers in the public schools must have New York State teaching certification in early childhood and are employees of the City of New York/ Department of Education (DOE).

    You can teach pre-K at a New York City public school if you hold (or will hold by September 1, 2014) one of the following New York State teaching certificates:
    • Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 2);
    • Nursery, Kindergarten and Grades 1-6;
    • Prekindergarten - Grade 6 certification; or
    • Students with Disabilities (Birth - Grade 2).

    Certified teachers can also teach pre-K at community-based early childhood centers (CBECCs).

    Learn more about what it means to teach in New York City public schools.

  • Community-based early childhood centers (CBECCs) CBECCs are independent organizations that contract with New York City to provide free pre-k programs to four-year olds. The over 1,000 sites offer diverse options for families across all five boroughs. CBECCs may range in size from having a single pre-K class to many classes across multiple sites. Each CBECC employs its own teachers (they are not employees of the City of New York) but interested teachers applying through the DOE have the opportunity to make their information available to all hiring CBECCs. Pre-K teachers at CBECCs must have their State early childhood teaching certification within three years. Those who start teaching pre-K without a certification will need to have an education plan to meet that requirement. In support of the City’s goal of ensuring all children in pre-K classrooms have early childhood certified, high quality teachers, the DOE will provide consultation and support for individuals working towards certification in collaboration with outside partners. For more information about becoming a New York State certified teacher, visit the New York State Office of Teaching Initiatives.

    On April 14, Mayor de Blasio announced an important step in the plan to ensure every child has access to quality full-day pre-K: the City has secured funds to make compensation for certified pre-K teachers at CBECCs more competitive with that of their peers in public schools. This funding enables CBECCs to provide compensation for certified faculty as follows:
    • Pay for teachers in CBECCs with a bachelor’s degree and initial certification in a recognized credential for early childhood will be funded at $44,000 per year.
    • Pay for teachers in CBECCs with a master’s degree and initial certification in a recognized credential for early childhood will be funded at $50,000 per year.
    • CBECCs can further increase compensation using their own resources.

    • To find out which CBECCs offer UPK near you, click here and enter your address (use the “Show Additional Data on Map” menu to filter for “Universal Pre-K” programs). Note that this list is continuously being updated.

Teaching Pre-K in NYC

We are seeking enthusiastic and effective early childhood educators to become classroom leaders in both public school and community-based early childhood center (CBECC) settings. Hiring generally takes place during the spring and summer.

An ideal candidate:
  • possesses genuine joy in leading a classroom that builds on how young children learn and supports children in developing a wide range of language, early literacy and math, social-emotional, and physical skills;
  • is able to create an enriching classroom environment that fosters learning using a broad spectrum of activities and experiences; and
  • builds strong relationships with adults, actively engaging parents and caregivers from diverse backgrounds, colleagues, and members of the community.
There is a particular need for teachers who are fluent in one of the languages New York City's children speak at home - especially Spanish, as well as Mandarin Chinese, Haitian-Creole, French, Urdu, Bengali, Russian, Korean, and Arabic.

**Update: We have received an overwhelming number of applications for the 2014-15 school year, and hiring decisions are currently under way. For this reason, we are no longer accepting new applications for this school year. Check this website in spring 2015 for updates on hiring for the 2015-16 school year.

Pathways to Teacher Certification

The DOE and the City University of New York (CUNY) have partnered to develop a program for talented individuals to obtain a New York State teacher certification in Early Childhood Education (Birth-2). Participants will receive individualized support while pursuing certification along an accelerated timeline.

The program includes two options, or "tracks":
  • Track 1 - Early Childhood Teaching Scholars: Participants will be enrolled in a subsidized early childhood graduate program at one of five CUNY campuses, while teaching pre-K full time and completing other certification requirements.

  • Track 2 - Study Plan: Participants will received individualized coaching and support to complete the requirements of their study plan in order to complete New York State teacher certification.
Read more about the Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Preparation Project.