Why Get a Masters in Early Childhood Education

coe-online-med-curriculum-instruction-eceA master in early childhood education prepares the degree holder to supervise those who teach children between 3 and 6 years of age. While it is possible for someone with this master in education to end up teaching in a classroom, most who get advanced education in this field focus more on things like curriculum development, private school administration, preschool program administration and other higher-level jobs.

The master degree program for early childhood education builds on the knowledge the student has gained at the bachelor level to provide in-depth understanding of the related subjects. Some classes that may be required include:

  • Creative activities for young children.
  • Curriculum design for young special education students.
  • Teaching methods for infants and toddlers.
  • Advanced child psychology.
  • Cognitive development in young children.

Education Requirements

Students will need a bachelor degree to enter a master program. Colleges will usually have entrance exams as well. What constitutes a passing score will depend on the institution.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Master Degree in Early Childhood Education

Most people who have this degree will go for positions that include authority over adults, including:

  • preschool program administrators
  • curriculum designers
  • preschool educational consultants

The degree will also put a person in a great position for opening a preschool of his/her own or being the top administrator at a private one. It is technically possible for someone with a master degree in this subject to be a regular preschool teacher, but that job can be done by someone with an associate degree. Therefore, it is likely that someone with a master would only do classroom teaching to pay the bills or take part in a research project.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Master in Early Childhood Education

Several positions can be obtained for this degree, and the median pay for each of them can vary widely. For a preschool director, the median salary is $42,960 per year, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics has included those with only bachelor degrees in its figures. Salary for a master graduate is almost sure to be higher. The top 10 percent of preschool administrators make $85,550 per year.

For a preschool teacher, the median pay is just $25,700 per year, but as previously noted, the teaching position requires only an associate degree. It is unlikely that having a master will help much for this job’s salary since it’s fairly easy for schools to get teachers from local community colleges.

The overall industry doing the hiring makes a big difference in pay for daycare administrators. Among educational institutions typically dedicated to the care or education of young children, child daycare centers pay the least, with an annual mean wage of $45,100. Religious organizations pay the most, with the annual mean of $63,170. Social organizations, family services and other such groups land somewhere in the middle.

Looking outside the obvious industries will pay off when it comes to early childhood education careers. The BLS points out that the highest-paying employers are actually colleges and universities, with an average annual mean wage of $98,400 for childcare administrators. If you’re looking for a lucrative career directing childcare, take another look at that childcare center at your university. The director is smiling for a reason.

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