Degrees Needed to be an Early Childhood Education Teacher

Early childhood education degrees give the holder the ability to teach and care for young students in preschool and early elementary programs. These degrees range from associate degrees for preschool teachers and a bachelor degrees that lead to a state license in elementary and early childhood education. Non-licensure programs are also available for those interested in teaching only in preschools or early childhood centers. Early childhood education degrees are the first step in beginning a career of educating and molding children.

Early childhood education degrees teach students about child development, including social, emotional and cognitive development, but with a focus on younger children. This degree field is ideal for those who enjoy working with children and wish to learn more about their development to make a career out of this love. It provides the foundation to create meaningful educational experiences for young children with a thorough understanding of child development.

Education Requirements

Students who are beginning a bachelor degree program or associate degree program in early childhood as freshmen need nothing more than a high school diploma or equivalent. Some will start with an associate degree, either in education or in a general field, and later transfer into a bachelors program. This can work quite well with online course options, because the student can use the associate degree to get an entry level position in the field while pursuing a further degree. However, no degree other than a high school diploma is required to begin pursuing early childhood education degrees.

Career Options: What You Can Do With Early Childhood Education Degrees

This degree focuses on teaching students about child development, and how to use an understanding of child development to create a learning environment in which young children grow and thrive. It also teaches students how to build relationships with the parents of their future students and the community to give children the best possible education. A focus on classroom management and lesson planning is also present. Early childhood education degrees will cover the standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

People who carry early childhood education degrees are able to work in preschools and early elementary programs, depending on what specialty or licensure they carry. To work in public elementary schools, a state license or equivalent certification is required. Licensure is not required to work in most preschools or daycare centers. Also, those who do not have a license can get a job as a teacher’s assistant in an early childhood or elementary school program.

What to Consider if You Pursue Early Childhood Education Degrees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that preschool teachers earn an average of $25,700 per year, or $12.35 per hour. The field has an excellent job outlook, with above-average growth of 25 percent expected between 2010 and 2020. Kindergarten and early elementary school teachers can expect to earn an average of $51,380 a year. Growth in this industry is expected to be about 17 percent, which is close to average.

Whether a student pursues a licensure track or a non-licensure program, early childhood education degrees offer a range of career options, all of which focus on building a career out of working with small children. Students with a love for kids and strong communication skills should consider this as a rewarding career path for their skills.

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