Qualifying you to work with children from infancy to the third grade, an early childhood education degree prepares you for many careers including that of a childcare worker, preschool teacher, preschool director, and teacher assistant. Earning your early childhood education degree online will enable you to pursue your education from the comfort of your own home. You can fit classes into your busy schedule, whether you are a parent taking care of young children or you have a full-time job. If you would like to help improve children’s access to a quality education from birth, consider taking your early childhood education classes online.
Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program Overview
Online early childhood education degrees are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral levels.
You are usually required to have a high school diploma to work at a childcare center, but postsecondary education is often preferred. You need at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education to work as a preschool teacher in a Head Start program. At public schools, preschool teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A master’s or doctoral degree may assist you in gaining leadership positions in early child education or help you to pursue a career at the collegiate level teaching aspiring educators.
Undergraduate Programs Prerequisites
The prerequisites for undergraduate programs are typically a high school diploma and standardized test scores. Associate’s degrees will take two years to complete, and bachelor’s degrees will take four years to finish.
Graduate Degree Prerequisites
Master’s programs will require the completion of a bachelor’s degree in a related field and standardized test scores. Education specialist degrees will require the complete of a master’s degree. Some doctoral programs will also require a master’s degree, while others will require only a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree can usually be completed in two years, whereas the education specialist degree is 30 to 45 credits beyond the master’s degree. A doctoral degree can take from three to five years to complete and often culminates in a research dissertation written in conjunction with a thesis adviser.
What You Learn in Early Childhood Education Classes Online
Early childhood educators help young children learn in a fun, creative environment. They teach children language, reading, and social skills, as well as basic math and science. Early childhood education courses typically cover subjects like children’s development, strategies for teaching young children, and curriculum development.
Online Early Childhood Education Courses
Some of the following classes may be part of the curriculum:
- Child growth & development
- Infants & toddlers curriculum & teaching
- Children’s literature
- Foundations in early childhood education
- Movement & music
- Math & science in early childhood education
- Health, safety, & nutrition
Student Teaching and Certification
In early childhood education degree programs, students are also required to complete a practicum in order to gain hands-on teaching experience. A practicum allows students to put their theoretical knowledge to practice. Some states require early childhood educators to have a national certification, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. Teachers who teach grades K-3 at a public school must also obtain their state teaching license.
Career Options for an Early Childhood Education
The duties of an early childhood educator may include planning and carrying out lesson plans; working to develop students’ language, motor, and social skills; organizing educational and recreational activities; keeping records of students’ progress; ensuring that students stick to a daily routine; performing classroom discipline; and communicating with parents concerning their children’s development.
Careers you could pursue with an early childhood education degree include:
- Preschool teacher
- Kindergarten teacher
- Elementary school teacher
- Childcare center director
- Camp director
- After-school care coordinator
- Children’s programming advisor
- Preschool principal
- Teacher’s assistant
While working with small children can be extremely rewarding, it can also be challenging for some. Successful early childhood educators need to be patient, creative, and organized. They also need excellent interpersonal skills in order to lead a classroom, as well as strong physical stamina, since chasing after small children can by taxing.
Early childhood educators work in preschools, public and private elementary schools, child day care centers, Head Start Programs, and charitable and religious organizations. They typically work during normal school hours. Teachers may have a two-month break during the summer months, but childcare workers usually work for the full year.
Job Outlook for Early Childhood Education
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of preschool teachers and preschool and childcare center directors is expected to grow 17% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations. Early childhood education benefits a child’s social and intellectual development, which is why there is an increasing demand for preschool programs, and in turn, increased employment opportunities.
In 2013, the median annual wage for the below early childhood education position were as follows:
- Childcare worker-$19,600
- Preschool teacher– $27,570
- Preschool and childcare center director– $44,890
- Kindergarten teacher– $50, 230
- Elementary school teacher– $53, 590
More and more people are recognizing the advantages of investing in early childhood education. Early childhood education is a rewarding, fast-growing field with abundant job opportunities. If you would like to play an important role in the development of young children, pursue an early childhood education degree online today.