Why get a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education Degree?

If you want to work with young children, a bachelor degree in early childhood education opens doors to premium jobs in the industry. A reputable bachelor-level education program should give you the credentials to begin teaching young learners.

To succeed in this field, you’ll need a strong love of children and insight into their emotional, psychological and physical development. You’ll also need to be patient, friendly and understanding. With all those assets, a bachelor’s degree is all you need to thrive in this setting.

Education Requirements

You can earn an associate’s degree in early childhood education, but these programs do not adequately prepare you for the field. Early childhood educators with an associate’s degree can assist teachers and work as daycare givers, but they cannot work as teachers unless they seek additional teacher training.

While studying for your degree, you’ll take classes in:

  • Children’s literature.
  • Music and movement.
  • Infant and child development.
  • Supervising children.
  • Early-childhood education theory and practice.

A bachelor-level education provides the necessary training to get certified and teach young learners. Of course, your state may have additional requirements to get your teaching certificate. A faculty adviser can help you identify the extra steps and prepare for certification.

Be sure you’re attending an accredited program; candidates who attend a program lacking accreditation may have difficulty getting the job they want.

Career Options: What You Can Do With an Early Childhood Education Degree

With a bachelor-level education in early-childhood education, you are poised to become a preschool teacher or kindergarten teacher, or to provide child daycare services. Preschool teachers generally work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and get a two-month summer break when schools are out. Of course, summer programs provide an option for preschool teachers seeking year-round employment and some school districts do keep teachers on a year-round schedule. If you work in a childcare setting, you will be providing care year-round.

You may decide to work in administration, or for a grant-making or other professional organization that serves young learners. These positions offer a level of variety that schools do not, and tend to offer more money than positions taking care of young children. After working as a child caregiver or preschool teacher for several years, you may decide that you have the experience needed to open your own daycare or preschool.

Additionally, you could take a job related to young children where your degree is an asset but you do not work directly as a childhood educator. These jobs include nanny, social services case worker, playground aide, youth sports coach, social services coordinator, reading specialist, children’s librarian or disability specialist.

What to Consider if You an Pursue Early Childhood Education Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, early-childhood educators working as preschool teachers earned a median annual salary of $25,700 in 2010. Early-childhood educators working in an elementary school system earned significantly more, with median 2010 earnings of $48,800.

The field is poised for significant growth, with the BLS projecting a 25 percent growth rate from 2010 to 2020, faster than the national average. As early-childhood education is perceived as more valuable for a child’s social development, the number of preschool programs has increased, creating more demand for teachers. Additionally, the population of early learners aged 3 to 5 is projected to increase, boosting the prospects of qualified preschool teachers and childcare workers.

Early childhood educators with a bachelor education are much more attractive candidates than those with less education. In addition to knowledge, the field placements you take as part of your degree will give you hands-on experience working with children that can prove invaluable when job seeking after graduation.

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