For students who love children and would like to make working with them their career a degree in early childhood education is a smart choice. Many online colleges and universities offer degrees in early childhood education ranging from Associate to Doctoral. This allows those motivated and ambitious students an opportunity to pursue their education to the highest levels. Early childhood is defined as between 3-6 years of age and runs from preschool to third grade.
Early Childhood Education Associate’s Degree
An Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education is a great way for students to get started on higher education. It provides instruction in various childcare methods and emphasizes practical skills. Students learn how to plan lessons, help kids develop language and communication skills, develop healthy habits and encourage literacy. An Associate’s degree usually allows students to specialize in a particular area such as:
- Family childcare
- Infant care
- Program management
- Toddler care
Students must have a high school diploma or GED to enter the program and also possess a computer with internet and webcam to complete assignments and communicate with other students and instructors.
Early Childhood Education Associate’s Degree Courses
Courses in these programs lay a foundation for preschoolers and give them basic skills of reading, writing and math before entering first grade. Some classes taken include:
- Human development
- Special education
- Curriculum design
Early Childhood Education Associate’s Degree Careers
Graduates with AAS degrees can fill positions like group or family childcare worker and preschool teacher’s assistant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job growth will be 20% yearly through 2020 with salaries averaging almost $20,000 per year.
Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor of Arts degree focuses on how early childhood education relates to society as a whole. Students learn childcare administration, educational policy and technology. Online programs require supervised teaching assignments prior to graduation. Students need computers with internet and office applications software to complete assignments as well as e-mail to communicate with professors and other students. Bachelor of Arts programs require high school diplomas or GED’s and letters of recommendation for acceptance.
Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Courses
Courses teach students how to develop curriculums that integrate technology and adjust the material to meet the child’s learning needs. Courses taken include:
- Developmental psychology
- Assessment techniques
- Math and literacy instruction
Bachelor’s Degree Careers
These degrees meet state teaching certification requirements allowing graduates to become teachers. Those who don’t teach become administrators of preschools or after-school programs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 17% annual growth through 2020 with yearly salaries of $52,000 for elementary school teachers.
Early Childhood Education Master’s Degree
A Master of Arts degree focuses on research methods and advanced curriculum design. Applicants must submit a resume, letters of reference and GRE scores. Some require previous work experience with children.
Master’s Degree Courses
Some common courses in this program include:
- Cognitive development
- Child psychology
- Early childhood teaching methods
Master’s Degree Careers
Graduates can find work in such jobs as:
- Early childhood consultant
- Curriculum design specialist
- Program administrator
Early Childhood Education Doctorate Degree
Ph.D. programs focus on advanced research and analysis of early childhood education. A dissertation must be completed before graduating. Applicants must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field.
- Educational statistics
- Contemporary issues
Graduates work as consultants or researchers for schools or government agencies. Job growth will be 19% yearly with salaries averaging $84,000.