If you want to work with children during their most formative years, and make a contribute to a healthy, functioning school system, it’s time to learn more about early childhood education programs. There are several degree programs available across the US, with both online and campus based accredited options for students.

Early childhood education teacher helping studentFor students who are just starting their education, you can earn a alternative teacher certification or associate’s degree in early childhood education. There are also bachelor’s and master’s programs available in this area that can help you qualify for a variety of positions in early childhood systems. If you are at the bachelor’s level, you can often choose concentrations in early childhood education through a broader teacher education program.

Other types of programs for early childhood educators focus on particular subjects, types of students, or teaching styles. For instance, there are programs geared towards visual arts, special needs students, teaching through the integrated arts, and countless others. That’s why it is important to compare several schools before making your final decision. This area of study is growing more complex with our increasingly diverse student population. The options for degree programs will continue to grow. Especially with the increase in accredited online programs.

Available Early Childhood Education Degrees

Associate’s in Early Childhood Education

Most states require a minimum of 120 hours of early childhood education plus the passing of the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential to qualify for employment in childhood education. Starting your focus at the associate’s level will help set you up for the greatest chances of success at the bachelor’s level and beyond.

What’s more, there are many 100% online programs that will help you build a foundation in core areas, such as: group and one-on-one work, curriculum development, and working with the emotional and developmental needs of children at this age.

Licensing Note
Although most states require more hours for working with children at the pre-K and elementary level, choosing this path at the associate’s level can be your best chance for long-term success in the field.

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Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Bachelors programs are where you can complete your credentials and become licensed to work in most states. Many reputable schools offer Bachelor of Science programs completely online. Many of these programs offer a built-in minor that equips students with the skills to work with special needs children.

Areas of Study
At the bachelor’s level, you will learn the complexities of working with children, their parents, and teachers in your school system. You can also learn effective assessment strategies for helping students thrive in a variety of learning environments.

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Master’s in Early Childhood Education

Master’s programs and Education Specialist programs in early childhood education will help you get to the next level in your career.

Who is a Master’s Degree For?
These programs are geared towards professionals who want to reach administrative and executive level roles in their district. These programs can also help graduates branch out and work for a variety of companies and government agencies that need to understand childhood development and effective learning strategies. These could be companies that create educational materials or agencies that oversee educational standards at the local and national level.

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Online Early Childhood Education Degrees

Although many graduate programs require field experiences to complete your early childhood education, there are several 100% online programs at all levels of the field. Online programs offer students the convenience of learning in ways that are flexible to their schedules. In these programs, you will most likely utilize an online dashboard where you can view coursework and communicate with your instructors and peers.

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What to Look For in an Online Environment

You may be required to take quizzes and tests at particular times, or chime in to scheduled discussions, depending on your course structure. Many programs use a tool called Blackboard, which is a cutting edge communication tool for students, professors and administrators.

Whether organizing daily assignments, video conferencing with your teacher about your performance, or downloading important reading materials, Blackboard covers it. With capabilities across deskop, tablet, and mobile devices, this online tool helps everyone involved in the educational process always have handy access to everything they need to learn.

Another advantage of many online programs is your ability to create a more flexible timeline for completing your degree. Numerous universities have online options for students that they can complete full- or part-time in their variety of online early childhood and adolescent development programs.

What is a Early Childhood Degree?

To put it simply, an early childhood degree program will help you learn the proficiency required of teachers at the pre-K and elementary levels. These programs include courses that help students assess behavior, performance, and create strategies for student and school performance. You can learn to work with students, their teachers and parents to create better learning outcomes for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and needs.

The higher you go in your early childhood education, the more opportunities you will have to make a greater impact in your school. These programs vary between broad curriculum and coursework that is tailored for specific kinds of students, such as English as a second language learners and other distinct types of learners.

What can you do with an Early Childhood Education degree?

Earning your degree in childhood education can open the doors to careers in several types of school environments. When you graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher and receive licensure from your state, you can pursue positions such as preschool teacher at a public school.

You can also work as a elementary teacher, consultant for families who have children with unique challenges, manage a child care center. Some graduates at the master’s or doctorate level go on to perform important research or work for private companies who create education products, such as mobile apps, for children at this age.

What Does the Future Hold for Early Childhood Education?

Preschool teacher salary chartAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment projections and salary outlook for early childhood educators remains strong for the foreseeable future.

Career as a Preschool Teacher

Those who want to work as preschool teachers can expect to earn a median wage of $28,570 per year. But that total jumps to $54,550 per year for kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Both professional tracks are growing as fast as the national average.

To increase your opportunities, we highly recommend earning as many certifications as you can, and considering graduate level degree programs.

You can expect the opportunities to increase and vary as more parents look for alternative ways to teach their pre-K children, and the growth of private and charter schools across the country.

This may result in an increase of in-home employment opportunities and consulting work for families who have unique needs. The best way to get in tune with the upcoming prospects in the field are to discuss the job landscape with several schools in your area, and those who offer accredited online programs to students across the US.