Early Childhood Education Degree Online
Education is an essential sector in the country and forms the foundation of all other professions. While schooling at the high school and university levels is essential for success in some fields, having a good foundation in early childhood education sets students up for long-term success.
There are different levels in the educational career you can pursue. These options depend on your qualifications and what you are passionate about, and you must carefully consider the level of education required to pursue your dreams. Most fields require adequate education before coming back to practice as a professional in this industry, so it’s important to have some idea of what you need to do.
One of the most common levels of practice in the education sector is early childhood education. Early childhood education involves teaching children in their early days of school life. It is a technical profession as you need both teaching and nursing skills to achieve the best results. With the current changes in lifestyles, children enter school life at a very young age, which implies that early education professionals have to master dealing with young children to keep them comfortable and induce a positive attitude towards learning.
EDsmart has dug through the data trenches to bring you an easy-to-read, easy-to-digest ranking of the best online early childhood education degrees.
Schools are ranked based on:
- Affordability (net price)
Related Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Top Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Online
1.) St. Petersburg College
Average Net Price: $3,226
St. Petersburg College wants to help empower its students and community with academic excellence and engagement so that they can achieve success and economic mobility. The college is a private, nonprofit institution that offers Associate’s degrees and certificates to students across the United States. The Early Childhood Education degree at St. Petersburg College is designed to prepare you for work with children from birth to six years old. Students will explore the development of young children and how they learn, as well as the role of the teacher in promoting intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth. The Early Childhood Education program at St. Petersburg College provides students with rigorous coursework that will prepare them for their future careers as educators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a preschool teacher is $31,930 and has an expected job outlook of 18%.
2.) Florida International University
Average Net Price: $7,296
Florida International University (FIU) is a public research university in Greater Miami, Florida. FIU is the largest university in the Florida College System and offers more than 130 online undergraduate and graduate programs. The university has received countless rankings, from the U.S. News and World Report FIU has been ranked #6 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, #34 in Most Innovative Schools, and #78 in Top Public Schools. A Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree from Florida International University will provide the opportunity to study a variety of topics, including child growth and development, early childhood education theories and research, a wide variety of instructional strategies, and how they apply to children in different age groups. This program provides students with the knowledge and skills that they need to become educators or administrators in early childhood settings such as Head Start centers or public schools. Students who graduate from this program will be able to develop curricula for young learners, plan engaging lessons with creative activities and manage small groups of children.
3.) Arizona State University
Average Net Price: $11,706
Arizona State University, located in Tempe, Arizona, is one of the largest universities in the United States with over 65,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Arizona State University is home to more than 400 renowned faculty who have been recognized nationally. U.S. News and World Report ranked ASU #1 in Most Innovative Schools, #10 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #54 in Top Public Schools among several other high rankings. Arizona State University offers a number of different programs in early childhood and child development. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, and Special Education. You will be able to work with children from birth through age eight, teaching them how to grow and thrive in a safe and caring environment. The program includes courses on child development, teaching methods, assessment, growth and family life education, management of programs for young children, and coaching the professional development of other educators.
4.) Mayville State University
Average Net Price: $12,378
Mayville State University is committed to excellence in teaching, service & academics. The university offers individualized attention and is focused on diversity in the classroom. The school’s bachelor, master’s, and executive programs are designed to give you the skills & knowledge necessary to succeed in today’s economy. Mayville State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Early Childhood Education. The program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the development, care, and education of young children. The curriculum includes early childhood curricula; healthy growth and development; family involvement in education; childhood social-emotional developmental theory; classroom management skills; and assessment skills for early childhood professionals. Students will also gain experience in the field by working with young children in their own setting or through an internship.
5.) The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Average Net Price: $12,748
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is the premier academic institution in North Carolina, having hosted generations of alumni. The university is also well-known for its dynamic undergraduate research opportunities in which students get the opportunity to conduct original research in a variety of different fields. The U.S. News and World Report ranked UNCG #13 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, #118 in Top Public Schools, and #239 in National Universities. The Early Childhood Education program offered at UNCG is a Bachelor’s Degree program that provides theory and hands-on experience in the field of early childhood education. Studying in this program will provide students with a broad understanding of the different philosophies and practices in the field. The requirements for the degree include courses such as child development, curriculum design, teaching strategies, and more. Early childhood education is a growing profession with lots of career opportunities for those who have completed an undergraduate degree in it.
6.) Northern Arizona University
Average Net Price: $12,915
Northern Arizona University has been delivering outstanding & reputable education for multiple generations. In every class, world-class research powers authentic teaching. We have a world-class faculty who only leads the best programs. All of our programs, from undergraduate to graduate levels, are run under expert supervision. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Northern Arizona University is nationally recognized as #57 in Most Innovative Schools, #147 in Top Public Schools, and #153 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. Northern Arizona University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. The degree is designed for students who are interested in teaching preschool children from the ages of three to five years old, typically at a community center or church. The curriculum includes courses in child development, learning and language acquisition, and social and emotional development. Students also take courses in teacher education and the use of technology in the classroom.
7.) Appalachian State University
Average Net Price: $13,920
Appalachian State University is the leading public university in North Carolina, and their high-quality education combined with a campus culture of global citizenship will prepare students for a lifelong journey of learning and service. Appalachian State University aspires to be the destination institution for students who want to push themselves and grow with rigorous academics and rewarding extracurriculars. ASU has landed multiple top rankings across the nation, U.S. News and World Report ranked them #1 in Most Innovative Schools, #2 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #6 in Regional Universities South. Appalachian State University’s early childhood education degree is an undergraduate program that provides a broad overview of the competencies needed to work with children from birth through age 8. The curriculum emphasizes the building of knowledge and skills in the areas of individual, family, community, and cultural development. Students are given opportunities to explore diverse curricular options including but not limited to early childhood education, family studies, human growth and development, human behavior, psychology, sociology, social work, special education.
8.) Purdue University Fort Wayne
Average Net Price: $13,920
Perdue University Fort Wayne is a branch of Perdue University, an accredited and nationally known private university. This campus currently accommodates over 8,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and online programs. Its campus is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. PUFW strives to provide education, engagement, and innovation. They take care to provide their students with a degree of inclusive understanding. Perdue University Fort Wayne offers two Early Childhood Education undergraduate degrees that can be completed online. This program prepares students for careers in early childhood education, such as classroom teaching, preschool teaching, and childcare director positions. The Early Childhood and Family Studies Department at PFW are committed to preparing graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their professional lives while positively impacting the lives of all children and their families.
9.) Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Average Net Price: $14,648
Oklahoma State University is a public research university that was founded in 1890. Oklahoma State offers 200 undergraduate degree programs and 124 graduate-level degree programs to more than 24,649 students from all 50 states, as well as from over 100 foreign countries. According to Niche.com OSU ranked #1 in Top Public Universities in Oklahoma, Niche.com gave OSU an overall grade ranking of A. Oklahoma State University offers an early childhood education degree online. The early childhood education degree covers different topics including child development, teaching techniques, literacy development, classroom management, and more. It is designed for individuals who are interested in working with young children from birth through age eight in a variety of settings – preschools, daycare centers, Head Start programs, or private preschools.
10.) Wilmington University
Average Net Price: $14,683
Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution that’s focused on advancing educational opportunities for working adults. Wilmington’s diverse degree & certificate programs equip you with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience to be successful in a global market. The classes offered are immersive and the school’s instructors are all professionals who can provide students with rich real-world experiences. Wilmington University offers an early childhood education degree that will help you become a proactive and effective educator. The program is designed to help you acquire the tools and skills needed to work with children from birth to age 8. The coursework includes child development, teaching methods, assessment, safety and nutrition, family involvement in education, and more. Your hands-on experience will come through observations of students in various classrooms within the university system. The early childhood education program also features a student teaching requirement that provides you with invaluable training in this field.
11.) North Carolina Central University
Average Net Price: $14,732
Identified as a Community Engaged Institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, North Carolina Central University is dedicated to teaching students, families, and community members in order to promote truth and service. The U.S. News and World Report ranked NCCU #10 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, #21 in Top Public Schools, and #48 in Regional Universities South. The Department of Early Childhood Education at North Carolina Central University is designed to prepare individuals to teach and work with children from birth through kindergarten. Students who major in early childhood education learn how to develop curriculums, provide instruction, and work with families, communities, and businesses on issues affecting young children. Students will also gain a solid understanding of developmental theory for young learners including physical development, cognitive development, language acquisition, social development, and emotional development.
12.) University of Arizona
Average Net Price: $15,016
The University of Arizona is consistently ranked among the top research universities in the country. The University of Arizona strives to improve how they provide education and innovation so that it can develop problem-solvers capable of solving the world’s greatest challenges. Their purpose is to explore the limits of human potential, push boundaries, and live life to its fullest. The University of Arizona offers a variety of early childhood education degree programs in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Infant/Toddler Care, and Child Development. These programs are designed to prepare students for teaching or administrative careers in preschools, elementary schools, or child care centers. Students will learn about the theories and practices that underpin learning from birth through age 8. The program provides the opportunity for career-building skills such as leadership and pedagogy skills. One of the requirements for the degree is a practicum experience where you must complete 120 hours of supervised experience with preschool-aged children – which includes 15 hours of observation and 105 hours of child care placement at a preschool site approved by UA.
13.) Ball State University
Average Net Price: $15,147
Ball State University is a learning institution with a mission to empower our students to have fulfilling careers with lifetime opportunities for education and creativity. At Ball State University’s beautiful campus, they show you the way to a fulfilling career and a meaningful life. You’ll be immersed in an encouraging environment with world-leading faculty who will help you learn what you want to know. Ball State University offers a bachelor of arts in early childhood education degree online. This degree is nationally recognized to be one of the best early childhood education degrees in the United States. This program will prepare students for a career as an educator, as well as to provide a strong foundation for advanced study in fields such as early childhood education administration and higher education administration. Students will have the opportunity to do internships to gain practical experience before working with young children and families at agencies or organizations serving children and families.
14.) University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Average Net Price: $15,249
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a distinguished academic institution that’s driven by the pursuit of knowledge and innovation among other things. They also focus on impacting lives and helping more people enter the working world today. Niche.com has given UWW a ranking of #3 in Top Public Universities in Wisconsin, and the U.S. News and World Report have ranked the institution #11 in Top Public Schools, #21 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #54 in Best Value Schools. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater offers a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education online. The program is designed to prepare graduates for teaching careers in early childhood education, with the goal of expanding the range of educational opportunities for young children. This major combines coursework that focuses on developing knowledge and skills related to child growth and development, curriculum development, program design, assessment strategies, and professional development. This major does not lead to certification as an infant or toddler teacher.
15.) Iowa State University
Average Net Price: $15,496
Iowa State University is a public university, with the goal of encouraging critical thinking, responsible management of staff & students, and innovation in research methods. They want to foster the constructive expression of opinion among its members. Niche.com gave Iowa State University an upstanding grade rating of A, along with a ranking of #1 in Top Public Universities in Iowa and #48 in Best Big Colleges in America. Iowa State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education, which is designed to provide the undergraduate with a broad understanding of children’s development and learning. The program will help students better understand the needs of young children and how to teach them. Students will also learn about the roles and professional responsibilities of early childhood educators. Graduates have three main options for their place of employment: in the public, private, or in home-based settings.
16.) East Carolina University
Average Net Price: $15,844
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University works tirelessly to improve the student experience and community. They have over 125 online degree programs that are offered on its Main Campus in Greenville, North Carolina. The university also sponsors exciting undergraduate research opportunities that bring different perspectives together on specific timely topics across the region. The East Carolina University Bachelor of Science in Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education degree is designed for students who are willing to make a difference in the lives of young children. It is for those who are leaders, advocates, and innovators. Students within this program work with all school-aged children, including those who are at risk or have special needs. Online students complete their practical training in centers and schools that are close to home. In order to graduate, you will need to complete a yearlong student-teaching internship in a preschool or kindergarten class. The BK program at ECU prepares students to excel in their future careers. The course work is intensive, but the extensive training ensures future leaders are capable of picking up any professional skill necessary for success.
17.) University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Average Net Price: $17,208
The keystone to the university’s identity is its three core missions of research, teaching, and service. By carrying out these, it has become the leading educational institution in the state and provides leadership through quality education & research. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln promotes understanding of other cultures in all aspects of society. The U.S. News and World Report have ranked the University of Nebraska-Lincoln #64 in Top Public Schools, #106 in Best Value Schools, and #136 in National Universities. Early Childcare for a Mobile Society is an online Bachelors’s degree co-provided by 7 universities, with content overseen by The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA) Program. Focused on preparing individuals to plan children’s earliest experiences, this program informs future leaders on the impact of policy decisions in an increasingly mobile society. Upon successful completion of the ECEMS bachelor’s degree program, you will be able to create healthy, respectful, and supportive learning environments for children by understanding the factors which influence their development.
18.) Winona State University
Average Net Price: $15,656
The mission of Winona State University is to elevate the intellectual, social, cultural, and educational prosperity of individual members and communities. The university teaches graduates how to be generous, responsible leaders who can use their creativity and responsibility to solve any problems they encounter in their jobs, lives, and communities. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Winona State University #8 in Top Public Schools and #41 in Regional Universities Midwest. Winona State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education online. This degree program prepares students to teach young children from Head Start to 3rd grade. Students take courses such as health and safety, child development, and teaching techniques. They also have the opportunity to study topics such as bilingualism, literacy, curriculum development, and assessment. This major will provide the necessary education courses for an early childhood education license and additional courses that teach skills necessary to work with children. So when you graduate, you’ll be ready to work with kids and teach them literacy skills in an engaging way.
19.) Kansas State University
Average Net Price: $18,285
Kansas State University is a public research university located in Manhattan, Kansas. The main goal of Kansas State University is to foster excellent teaching, research, and service that develops skilled citizens necessary for the development of the United States and international communities. One way they do this is through world engagement. The U.S. News and World Report ranked KSU #78 in Top Public Schools, #99 in Best Colleges for Veterans, and #162 in National Universities. The university offers two online early childhood education degrees, both a bachelor’s and master’s degree program. The ECE major at Kansas State University is a development-based program that integrates theory and practice to prepare students for careers in child care, preschool, and kindergarten classrooms. Courses cover topics such as child development across the life span, family involvement in early childhood education, curriculum development and instruction, safe learning environments, and more. Incoming students have an opportunity to learn from professionals in the field through fieldwork experiences with local agencies or schools. The fieldwork component of the curriculum is designed to help prepare graduates for their careers by providing hands-on experience working with young children and their families.
20.) St. Catherine University
Average Net Price: $19,078
St. Catherine University is a Catholic institution, which was founded in 1857 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who are still active faculty members today. Their goal is to empower women in our society by teaching them how to assume leadership roles and present themselves at an influential level. The U.S. News and World Report ranked St. Catherine University #41 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. St. Catherine University offers an Early Childhood Education degree to graduates that provide a multidisciplinary approach to the field. The curriculum is designed to meet learners in academic, personal, and professional development needs. St. Catherine University’s Early Childhood Education program prepares students with the skills necessary for a career in education, as well as those needed for employment in youth-serving organizations and community agencies, schools of all levels, Head Start programs, health care settings, and childcare centers. You’ll complete 100 hours of field experience across multiple programs while building your skills to prepare for licensure.
21.) University of Alabama
Average Net Price: $22,597
The University of Alabama is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research & service. The institution boasts a great selection of educational opportunities and comes highly recommended. The institution provides an environment where students can learn from the best faculty and make a positive difference in the world. They can also develop relevant skills to prepare them for their future career. Through the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree, you will be able to understand the growth and development of kids from birth to age 8. You’ll have the skills you need to guide them through some of their most important developmental stages. Through your coursework, you will understand how parenting can affect development, as well the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth of children. You will learn how to design and implement programs to help children in preschools. You’ll also be able to evaluate these programs and make recommendations for improvement. This program will help you learn valuable skills like how to successfully communicate with children, parents, or family members. You’ll gain the knowledge & skills needed to support your community and ones of your own. These skills can last a lifetime and benefit generations to come.
22.) Wilkes University
Average Net Price: $26,641
Wilkes University provides exceptional educational experiences for students, helping them to develop innovative academic pursuits. They also pursue nationally prized academic initiatives and shape the world around us. Wilkes University has been recognized as providing a well-rounded and affordable education with returns on investment often exceeding the national average. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Wilkes University #82 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #213 in National Universities. Wilkes University offers a two-year early childhood education degree with a focus on toddlers. The coursework is focused on teaching students how to understand children, create safe and effective learning environments, promote literacy skills, nurture creativity, build relationships with parents/family members, provide positive reinforcement to help children learn well, plan for transitions into school more effectively, and more. This degree is designed to prepare students for professional careers as educators at all levels, including child caregivers, preschool teachers, classroom teachers, educational assistants, and administrators.
23.) Drexel University
Average Net Price: $34,914
Drexel University is a global research institution that offers rigorous academics and more experiential learning experiences than other universities. Drexel is committed to the community and takes partnerships along with academics very seriously. Every aspect of the university is connected with community service and this translates into success on the national level. Niche.com gave Drexel University an overall grade rating of A-. Drexel University offers an online early childhood education degree that can be completed over four years. Drexel University’s Early Childhood Education program prepares students with the skills needed to work in preschools or other settings with young children. This can include home-based care, daycare centers, and family-based childcare. Some of the skills they learn include: working with families/social workers, leading groups of children, providing basic life and learning skills, and developing lessons based on developmental milestones.
There are different levels you can practice at as an early childhood education professional. These levels depend on your academic qualification. One of the most common academic qualifications for this profession is a bachelor’s degree. However, you can practice with a certificate or an associate degree from a recognized institution. You might not be licensed to practice without a bachelor’s degree. Advancing your education to higher degrees increases your chances of rising through the career ranks.
To understand early childhood education degrees in detail, we explore the following:
- What you can do with an early childhood education degree
- Types of early childhood education degrees and certifications
- Career paths available in early childhood education
- Top early childhood education degree programs
What You Can Do with An Early Childhood Education Degree
Understanding your duties and responsibilities as a professional is one of the most important things in any career. It helps you prepare mentally and physically for the environment you will be exposed to after work. Like in other professions, your duties and responsibilities in the early childhood education career depend on your level of education. There are many roles you will perform with a bachelor’s degree. These roles are standard for all degree holders, whether online college degrees or ones obtained from on-campus studies.
There are many job opportunities in the early childhood education profession. Most of these jobs require the basic skills learned during bachelor’s degree programs. However, you might need additional training to work in some institutions. Some of the most common workplaces for early childhood education professionals include:
- Daycares and Preschools
With consistent changes in lifestyles and increasing cost of living, many parents are busy trying to make ends meet. This phenomenon has increased the demand for caregivers to look after children in the absence of the parents. Daycares seek to address this demand for parents that cannot afford to pay a nanny to stay at home. This early childhood setting typically caters to all children who are not old enough to be in school during the hours that their parents are at work.
Preschool is a different path than daycare for an early childhood educator, although the two programs have many features that overlap. While daycare centers more on tending to a young child while their parents are at work and also teaching them educational foundations, a preschool teacher spends only a few hours a day with their class but focuses more on teaching skills. With an early childhood education degree, you can help care for these children and teach them the skills they need as they begin formal schooling. The skills and knowledge you acquire pursuing your degree as an early childhood education teacher make it easy to care for children and guide them on basic learning concepts.
Kindergartens are essential institutions within the early education sector. Although they both deal with children, kindergartens are very different from daycares. Kindergartens prepare kids for school life. In most cases, only children between the ages of 4 to 6 are allowed to attend these institutions, unlike daycares which cater to children as young as one year. Kindergartens focus on identifying the talents and potential of children before joining formal education, which helps mold them into students who are excited about pursuing their passions. You can work as a kindergarten teacher after completing a degree as an early childhood education major. In this education program, your role will be guiding children to ensure their learning abilities are well established before joining different schools.
There are many other institutions you can work for with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. This career is intertwined with the medical field and therefore provides wider employment opportunities. For instance, you can work in a pediatric hospital to help take care of learning needs for hospitalized children. Some terminally ill children are not allowed to leave the medical institutions and therefore need to be tutored within the institution or in their homes. In the medical field, someone with a degree in psychology can take care of children since they have adequate skills to notice when children aren’t okay.
For success in your career as a professional in the early childhood education field, there are some skills you must have. These skills determine the quality of services you offer to those under your care. While you learn some skills in school while studying early childhood development, you develop and perfect others as you practice in the field. Some of the essential qualities you need for success in this field include:
- Psychology skills- Early childhood education degree programs involve psychology principles. As a professional in this field, you need adequate skills to detect changes and discomfort in children you deal with. Children are not effective communicators; they need attention from someone who can tell what they need without speaking up.
- Teaching skills- The main aim of early childhood education is to prepare children for future learning. Teaching skills are essential as you need to introduce the children under your care to new concepts about education. It is your duty as an early childhood education professional to ensure children understand the required content.
After attaining your degree and skills from a training program, you need a license to practice as a professional. The degree you pursue determines the skills you acquire. Therefore, consulting career experts is essential before starting your degree program. Consultations allow you to decide on the best specialization to follow.
Types Of Early Childhood Education Degrees and Certifications
As stated earlier, your duties and responsibilities in the early childhood education field depend on your specialization. There are various specializations in this field that affect where you work once you graduate. Additionally, your level of education will determine your duties in this field, implying that you must pay close attention when selecting a specialization to avoid entering the wrong career path. The profitability of your degree program depends on the marketability, which varies depending on the specialization you choose. If you want higher lifetime earnings, you should major in more technical fields. The nature of the degree you have could also affect how much you earn and how fast you rise through ranks. Some common degrees you can have for a career in early childhood education include:
- Associate degrees
Associate degree programs are the minimum academic qualifications you need for any industry. You can often get these degrees from recognized trade schools. Although you can perform certain functions in early childhood education, you cannot be licensed as an independent professional with this degree. Associate degree programs in early childhood education take up to two years to complete. However, you might take longer, depending on the institution you enroll in and the mode of study you choose.
- Bachelor’s degrees
This degree is the most common and essential qualification if you need to practice as a professional in this career. There are several bachelor’s degree majors you can pursue and practice in the early childhood education sector, including school psychology and early childhood education. The specialization you major in during your studies determines your roles in the professional field. Various institutions offer bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. You should consult experts and practicing professionals to select the best program in which to enroll. It takes up to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program in early childhood education.
- Master’s degree and PhD
These are higher education qualifications that allow you to practice at high positions within the field. Master’s and PhDs involve specialization in certain areas that affect child growth and learning. Most master’s degree holders work in managerial and supervisory positions in early childhood education institutions. With a Ph.D., you can work for the government or as an independent consultant and will have a role to play in the formulation of the early childhood curriculum. Additionally, you will be involved in making policies that govern the operations of early childhood education institutions.
There are several other academic qualifications that you might need for practice. These certificates are mostly awarded as you advance your skills through training programs. When comparing a certificate versus a degree, there are several factors you should consider. The main one being what roles the qualification allows you to perform in the profession. In most cases, a degree allows you to perform a wider range of duties.
There are many reasons why early childhood education is regarded as a career path on its own. There are various forms of education, special needs education is one of them. Early childhood education differs from other forms of education in several ways. However, the main difference is the age of students you deal with during practice. Early childhood education requires specialized training to deal with individuals with minimal ability to learn and internalize concepts. It is a preparatory stage in children’s educational life. Therefore, it requires expertise on how to instill learning skills and the right attitude in children for their future in the education system.
Early childhood education degree programs have different benefits. How much you benefit from your career depends on how much you invest in education. Some of the common factors that distinguish degrees in early childhood education include:
- Technicalities involved in the program- Degree programs cover different areas of study. Some degrees focus on complex aspects of early childhood education, including psychology and general child mental development. Some programs are to prepare professionals to work with children in need of special care. Special early childhood education is more complicated and profitable than other specializations.
- Expenses involved- When estimating the returns of investment made in education, you have to assess how much you spend. The expenditure includes time and monetary input given to facilitate your training up to the time of licensing. Some programs are expensive as they involve high tuition fees and time spent studying.
Other differences could be seen in the duties one performs at the workplace. Student psychology majors mainly deal with mental wellness. On the other hand, tutors help students acquire new skills and knowledge necessary for their next educational level.
Career Paths Available in Early Childhood Education
When entering a career field, it is everyone’s goal to rise above the ranks as a professional. There are various career paths you can follow to the peak as a professional in early childhood education. These paths could vary depending on the specialization you choose and your entry-level into the profession. If you join the profession at the lowest level, associate degree, you might take longer to reach the peak of your career. Some specializations require several years of practice before you can rise to the next level. Here is a common career path you can follow in the early childhood education profession.
- Complete your high school education
High school is the foundation for every profession. It is at the high school level that you decide which career path to pursue after graduation. If you intend to venture into early childhood education, there are things to consider at the high school level. One of these is the subjects needed for admission into colleges or universities for your degree program. Higher learning institutions have set academic requirements that you must fulfill before being admitted. These requirements could vary depending on your institution of choice. However, the most common requirements are a good GPA and recommendations from the high school you attended. Career experts play an essential role at the high school level. They guide students on which specializations to major in depending on their abilities and passion.
- Attain an undergraduate degree
An undergraduate degree is a minimal requirement for professional practice in early childhood education. There are two types of undergraduate degrees: associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. The responsibilities of these two degrees vary. Associate degree holders perform less technical duties since their training is not as detailed as that for bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, the cost of these degrees varies depending on factors such as the duration and technicality of your specialization. You can get cheap online degrees from various institutions. If you intend to study online, you should find an institution that guarantees excellent training for employability.
- Get professional licensing and certification.
Education is an essential sector with a lot of government interest. The government regulates the operations of different stakeholders in this industry through licensing and certification. Once you have attained your undergraduate degree, you must obtain a practicing license from relevant bodies. Licenses and certifications vary depending on specialization and level of practice. All professionals, including preschool teachers, must initiate the licensing process once they complete their undergraduate training. Most of the licensing requirements are standard across all states. However, there might be slight variations depending on regulations and state administration policies.
- Get higher education qualifications.
One of the sure ways to rise through career ranks is by advancing your skills and knowledge in certain aspects of your profession. In early childhood education, you can move on to the master’s and Ph.D. levels. These qualifications allow you to practice in administrative and managerial positions. There is a growing need for early childhood professionals resulting from the increased population and changes in lifestyle. Therefore, keeping your skills updated and advanced places you in a better position to remain relevant in the industry.
How long you take to reach the peak of your career depends on several factors. The main one being your efforts and self-drive. Decisions such as advancing education require commitment both physically, mentally, and financially.
Top Early Childhood Education Degree Programs
After deciding on a career path or specialization to pursue, selecting the right institution to enroll in is the hardest task you might face. There are many institutions, including nonprofit online colleges, offering degree programs in early childhood education. For this reason, it might be challenging to find one that suits you best. There are several factors you should consider before selecting an institution to enroll in. These factors are significant whether you are pursuing an associate degree or higher levels of study. they include:
- Availability of your desired specialization
As stated earlier, there are various specializations you can major in while pursuing a career in early childhood education. Although most institutions offer training programs, it is rare to find all the specializations in a single institution. Some technical specializations involve a lot of investment in terms of teaching facilities and equipment. You won’t find them in most institutions. When signing up for a degree program, you should ensure the institution offers training in your desired specialization.
There are different forms of learning depending on your preference and the institution’s policies. If you intend to attend an online degree program, you should ensure your institution of choice offers one. The institution should be well equipped with tutors and reading material to cater to online students.
- Quality of training offered
The main marketing point for professionals in any field is their skills. The skills you acquire at school determine your employability. For this reason, you should pay close attention to the quality of training offered when selecting an institution. There are certain skills that employers look for when selecting entry-level employees. Attending an institution that focuses on these skills increases your marketability. Renowned institutions organize internships for their students; this provides an opportunity to interact with potential employers.
- Cost of training
Financial considerations are essential when deciding on a career path. Understanding the financial implications of certain degree programs helps you gauge the profitability of the course you enroll in. Additionally, finances determine how comfortable you will be throughout your study period, allowing you to choose a program favorable to your financial stability. Expenditures on education come in different forms. The main expense is tuition fees; it varies depending on the nature of the program you enroll in. Other expenses include rent, food, and commuting charges. There are cheaper degree programs you can enroll in depending on your financial status. Most of these programs are online; thus, you will not spend money on rent and commuting charges. You can explore student financial aid programs in cases where you find your program too expensive. Such programs include scholarships and grants from the government and other organizations.
- Duration of training
Various factors determine how long a training program in early childhood education lasts. The duration of a program directly affects your professional and financial life. Some programs take longer than others, depending on the technicalities involved. Modes of learning also determine how long it takes to complete learning. For instance, enrolling in part-time studies implies that you will stay longer in school. In this case, you cover little content within a given time as the programs tailor to cater to students with little time to spare for classes. Most institutions only allow part-time studies for advanced educational levels, that is, Master’s degrees and Ph.D.
There are many other factors to consider when selecting a school to enroll in for your degree program, including personal preferences. However, the above are the most common factors considered by students and professionals in this field. You need to consult those who went through your institution of choice for better information about the program. College settings vary from one institution to another. Therefore, having general information about a college could be insufficient when deciding on an institution that suits you best.
Different schools have invested in degree programs to different extents. Some schools invest significantly in offering bachelor’s degrees, while others are focused on offering associate degree programs. Most associate degree programs are obtained in trade institutions. However, universities and colleges are involved to offset the rising demand for trade workers in early childhood education. Some of the best institutions offering associate degree programs in early childhood education include:
- San Diego State University- This is one of the best institutions to enroll in for various degree programs in the education sector. San Diego State University is known for offering exemplary training for associate degree students. The institution has an extensive network of industry players that guarantee internship placement for students. With a graduation rate of over 70%, this institution is the best within San Diego. The tuition fee for associate degree programs in early childhood education range between $7000 and $19,000.
- Colorado State University- Every student enrolling in a program wishes to achieve the best training. That is what Colorado State University has been known for over a century. The institution has well-maintained facilities and tutors to provide training for students in associate degree programs. This institution has a graduate rate of over 84% in early childhood education degree programs.
There are many other institutions you can enroll in for your degree programs. Analyzing the graduation rate of the institution allows you to tell the possibilities of completing the training program. You can read about institutions offering degree programs in early childhood education on the internet. This will give you detailed information about the programs and policies involved.
Early childhood education is a fundamental component of education. It prepares children for entry into the school system. There are different levels at which you can practice in childhood education. These levels depend on your academic qualifications and skills. With higher academic qualifications, you can hold managerial and supervisory positions. The most common employers of early childhood education professionals are daycares and kindergartens. These institutions focus on the development of children at the initial stages of their educational life. The government has a lot of interest in the education sector. Therefore, it controls the practices of professionals involved through licensing. You can get your professional license after completing your education. However, you won’t be licensed to practice as an independent professional without a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
To rise through your career, you must advance your education to master’s and Ph.D. levels. Updating your education and skills keeps you relevant in the industry for a long time. You can advance your skills through short courses and workshops organized by stakeholders in the industry. One of the main aspects to consider when selecting a specialization is finances. Your financial status determines how comfortable you will be during your study period. In cases where you can’t afford to pay for a program, you can seek student financial aid. The government and other organizations offer scholarships, grants, and student loans to financially disadvantaged individuals. The duration of the training program affects its general cost. Finding specializations that take a shorter time saves money and allows you more time for professional practice.