Some child care facilities will ask that you have a Child Development Associate/CDA degree or/certification but if you don't have the certification then you may be able to elect to work towards obtaining one. Some child care facilities will offer in their benefit package the ability to earn your child development associate and they will pay the expenses of about $425-500. You can take classes after work or on the weekend. Also, the state has scholarships as well that you can apply to.
There are people who are specialists who conduct your CDA Verification visits are they are from early childhood training agencies. You will have someone do an observation and watch how you interact with the children, see your lesson plans, how you created "enrichments"/games & toys for the children or how well you decorated the room. The are rules that need to be followed about diapering, feeding, educating, health or safety for example. You will create a professional portfolio (large binder) with resources, training transcripts/certificates, philosophy and competency statements and take an exam. You will have to schedule an exam. The CDA needs to be renewed after 3 years. The CDA Credential may only be renewed for the original setting, age-level endorsement and specialization. Child care facilities should do background checks on all employees prior to being hired.
If you want to teach in a childcare facility, you will need to pass a background check, complete highschool, and possibly complete a child development certificate of some type.
If you want to teach preschool in a public school setting, you will need to complete additional studies and receive a teaching certificate for early childhood education.
If you want to teach for Headstart, you will need to complete a degree in early childhood education.
I worked in the early childhood field for 15 years. I started out as a teacher's assistant and worked my way up while attending college. I worked in five states while working in the field of early childhood. Each state has it's own version of a tiered quality rating system. I have worked with child care centers to improve their rating in these types of programs. Check into your state's system and determine what is required to teach at the highest level. This will make you more marketable and provide the largest payout.