Careers in Early Childhood Education
From the earliest moments of life through childhood, from infants to young children, early education is a fundamental part of building a foundation of lifelong learning through the support of emotional wellness and cognitive development for every developmental stage. By training in Early Childhood Education, important opportunities become available to help build the future of children from birth to young adult.
Courses in Early Childhood Education
In coursework, students in early childhood education programs will study everything from math to science to reading, and how those subjects are best taught to children. Through study of the development of childhood educational patterns and methods, students explore the theories, research, and advancements of the field, helping to gain an understanding of why the techniques in Early Childhood Education work to prepare children for learning.
Through coursework in a classroom and field work observing children, students in all types of children’s education programs gain an understanding of how children learn. Examples of courses in a typical bachelor’s degree program include foundations of education, educational psychology, curriculum development, developmental psychology, literacy, mathematical thought, and children’s literature.
Coursework and Degrees
Early Childhood Education classes provide students with the tools needed to work with children in a variety of settings in order to create an environment in which the experiences with learning children have prepare them for learning throughout their academic lives and beyond.
At most community colleges, certificates require core classes that are designed to prepare students for professions quickly, typically in less than a year. Beginning with as few as 12 courses in Early Childhood Education, positions as a teacher in a child or an early childhood development center can be obtained. In some cases, more education will be required. There are also multiple online colleges for early childhood education available to students on a part-time or full-time basis.
Certificates and associate’s degrees are the next step in acquiring education in the field. In addition to Early Childhood Education courses, general education courses must be completed to successfully receive an associate’s degree.
For many seeking a career in the education field, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required. Graduates have both more general education and core courses, better preparing them for positions in settings such as public schools and with organizations such as family services agencies.
Once a bachelor’s degree is obtained from an accredited college for early childhood education, graduates can also continue on to a master’s degree or doctorate (PhD) program. This higher level of education is needed for some specific careers in the field, including working as a social worker or therapist.
Certifications and Licensing Requirements
In most states, special licensing requirements and certifications are in place for childcare and early childhood development centers. These requirements can range from 24-hours of first aid, CPR, and general health training to requiring a certificate or a specialized degree.
Additionally, many school districts require for teachers to work in a preschool or elementary school classroom to have an Early Childhood Education designation.
Online Certificate, Degree, and Licensing Options
From certificates to associate’s degrees to bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees, there are hundreds of options for pursuing training in Early Childhood Education online and in blended course formats.
With some college coursework in Early Childhood Education, some of the positions available are working as a coach, nanny, school aide, and teacher at a privately operated early childhood development center. Graduates with associate’s degrees are also qualified for these positions, and, in some cases, are qualified to teach in some preschool programs.
The majority of these positions will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Some other options for careers include preschool and elementary school teacher, family services agent, disability specialist, social services worker, parent educator, child care director, and community care liaison.
Like the range of careers in Early Childhood Education, potential salaries also vary. Variations by state and local school district also create a wide range of potential annual salaries.
With a certificate, the average salary for positions such as playground aide begin at around minimum wage, up to as much as $10 or $13 per hour.
For teachers with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from an accredited program, the average salary per year is currently approximately $53,000 (starting salary of $28,000). With a master’s degree, teachers or administrators earn an average of between $51,000 and $65,600 or more.
The true compensation in a position in the Early Childhood Education field is the chance to make a difference in the lives of infants and children. Children thrive in environments where the people around them are focused on their well-being and intellectual growth. Training and coursework in Early Childhood Education is the right fit for anyone who is passionate about building the future of the community by working with children from infancy to twelve-years-old and encouraging their experience with learning.