In the teaching sector, early childhood education is one of
the most popular areas, but also one of the most demanding
and rewarding at the same time. Early childhood education
is typically defined as kindergarten through third grade.
This is a period of tremendous, rapid development for children
in this age group and, as such, requires specialized knowledge
only acquired through an early childhood education program.
However, admittance into most early
childhood education programs is competitive.
Know Your State's Requirements
Perhaps the first step need to take if you want to become
an early childhood educator is to know and learn about your
state's requirements and the degree that is generally accepted
to teach children of this age group. Many states require you
to hold an associate's degree in early childhood education
to gain an entry level position in the field, although you
may only be able to obtain a job at the assistant or teacher's
aide level with this degree. The associate's degree in early
childhood education is excellent preparation in case you do
want to gain a few years of real-world experience in an elementary
or pre-school, which helps bolster your resume after you finally
do earn a bachelor's degree in the field.
For full teaching positions, however, most employers require
you to hold a bachelor's degree in early childhood teaching
and development. In some cases, you may be required to work
while continuing your education in a master's degree program
in the field. Also, many places require that early childhood
educators complete continuing education credits in the form
of classes and workshops to maintain licensure.
Choose a School
As you can see, there are a couple different ways you can
enter the field: either through an associate's degree or bachelor's
degree in early childhood education. When choosing a university
or college, you need to confirm that it offers a specialized
early childhood program. Both traditional college programs
as well as online early childhood education programs exist.
For example, Grand Canyon University, a regionally accredited
college of the Higher Learning Commission, offers an online
bachelor of science degree in early childhood. This type
of program makes you eligible for credentialing and licensure
after you graduate.
Complete Program Requirements
The coursework in an early
childhood education degree involves learning about child
development and learning during this stage, which includes
topics on language development, communication disorders, learning
differences as well as assessment strategies. You'll also
learn how to plan curriculums for some of the most important
subjects you'll teach to children of this age group, including
reading, science, language arts and math.
Most bachelor programs in early childhood also require you
to participate in some form of internship or practicum course.
This experience gives you first-hand knowledge of what takes
place inside a classroom and essentially gives you a head
start on some of the real-world situations you'll encounter
Once you complete a program in early childhood education,
you'll be eligible to work in a variety of work and school
settings that educate children in the preschool through third
grade age group. Whether you want to find employment in nursery
school, daycare, public head start program, or even an elementary
school that focuses on kindergarten through third grade, any
of these options will be open for you.
Find out which accredited online colleges offer an Early
Childhood Education Degree to get started on your new