Early Childhood Education Classes and Training
Those who work in early childhood education help infants, toddlers and young children develop and learn. Find out about the options for education and training in this field, and see what is required to earn state licensing.
What You Need to Know
Early childhood education programs prepare you to teach students in pre-K through grade 3. These programs are available at the undergraduate through graduate levels, from certificate and diploma programs up to Ph.D. programs. Some online options for courses and programs in the field are available.
|Degree Programs||Associate of Science (A.S.) in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Early Childhood Education, Master of Arts (M.A.) in Early Education, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education|
|Classes||Infant and child development, the early childhood learning environment, classroom management strategies, standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment, early childhood reading and literacy instruction|
|Training||Supervised student teaching experience with pre-K through grade 3 students|
What Do Early Childhood Education Teachers Do?
These teachers instruct their young students on the basic skills they will need to complete their education, including reading, writing and spelling. In addition, early childhood educators teach social skills, such as the appropriate way to behave in a classroom.
What Early Childhood Education Training Programs Are Available?
Certificate, diploma and associate degree programs can be completed in 1-2 years and can qualify you for entry-level positions in a variety of early childhood education settings, such as daycares, childcare facilities and pre-schools. These programs won't typically prepare you to meet your state's teacher licensure requirements, but they may prepare you to teach at private kindergarten and elementary schools.
Bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education can qualify you to teach in public schools from kindergarten to third grade, as well as work in administrative or management positions in school and childcare facilities. Master's degree programs might be preferable to you if you're a working professional holding a bachelor's degree who needs specialization in a particular area, such as child development, language, history of child education or teaching methods.
Master's degree programs may also allow you to explore education research opportunities that don't involve hands-on childcare. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in early childhood education commonly prepare you to become a professor at the university level or a research professional who specializes in the subject.
What Classes Will I Take?
Through certificate programs, you can take courses in subjects such as building interpersonal relationships, special needs and curriculum development. Diploma and associate degree programs may allow you to study a wider variety of courses in areas like health, nutrition, safety, first aid and children's literature. You also learn the exact developmental differences between infants, toddlers and children.
Associate degree programs offer general-education courses and may allow you to transfer into bachelor's degree programs more easily. Bachelor's degree programs can advance into coursework in literacy, mathematics and science, in addition to development and teaching technique classes.
Master's degree programs can include coursework dealing with the following:
- Family environment and community
- Technology in the early childhood classroom
- Developing curriculum for early childhood education
- Language development
Ph.D. programs typically focus on research and the development of a dissertation based on your chosen field of specialization, such as child development or literacy.
What Online Options Are Available?
If you're currently working as an education or childcare professional but looking for additional credentials or specialization, you may prefer completing an online program. Distance-education options can be completed either partially or totally over the Internet through online courses, lectures and examinations.
Certificate, bachelor's degree and master's degree programs can be used to extend on previously obtained education and may be available entirely online. Online bachelor's degree programs may require you to have already completed a relevant associate degree.