What Can I Do with a Child Development Associate Degree?
By completing an associate's degree program in child development, you'll be prepared to help children learn and develop with a career in early childhood education. Read on for details about three career directions you may take.
Child Development Associate Degree Program and Career Overview
Typically, you can complete a child development associate degree program in about two years. Classes you may take include infant development, toddler development, family dynamics, health and safety, children's nutrition, early childhood education subjects and children's literature. General education courses are also likely to be included. Additionally, you typically need to observe children in education settings and complete practical training.
Careers you'll be eligible for once you hold this degree include child care professional in a licensed child care center, lead educator in an early childhood education program or teaching assistant in a public school. Earning a child development associate's degree can also be a stepping stone toward completing a bachelor's degree program in early childhood education or child development.
Important Facts About These Occupations
|Child Care Worker||Preschool Teacher||Teaching Assistant|
|Median Annual Salary (2020)*||$25,460||$31,930||$28,900|
|Job Growth (2019-2029)*||2%||2%||4%|
|Key Skills||Instructional and interpersonal skills; physical stamina||Interpersonal and organizational skills; creativity||Communication and interpersonal skills; patience|
|Work Environment||Child care centers or at home; part-time and irregular hours are possible.||Public and private schools; often on 10-month schedule||Public and private schools; often part-time|
Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Child Care Worker
The educational requirements you'll need to meet to work in or operate a child care facility vary widely by state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many child care centers prefer that you hold at least an associate degree. If you'd like to work in a child care environment, child development associate degree courses you could find useful include those that address infant and toddler development, childhood nutrition and language development.
The BLS notes that as of 2012, all workers in preschool programs subject to meeting federal standards, such as Head Start, were required to hold at least an associate degree. Additionally, states that fund preschool programs for 4-year-olds separately from other preschool programs often set higher education requirements; these requirements will determine the positions you'll be eligible for as an associate degree holder. As a lead teacher, you'll find that child development courses that address the social, cognitive and physical developmental stages of preschool children will be especially valuable when planning your daily curriculum and activities.
Public School Teaching Assistant
To work in a Title 1 school as a teaching assistant, you'll be required to have an associate degree or higher. An associate degree in child development, in combination with on-the-job training, will prepare you for work in the public school environment, where you'll assist full-time teachers with instruction preparation, classroom management and record keeping. The needs of your lead teacher will dictate your specific responsibilities, but courses in children's literature, adult-child relationships and elementary game activities might prove particularly helpful.