What Are Career Options with an Early Childhood Education Degree?

Career options in early childhood education depend on what level of degree you hold. Read on for more information about what career options are open to holders of bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctorate degrees. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

There are several levels of early childhood education degrees. Graduates' career options depend on the level of education that was attained. Often, those with graduate degrees have more career options than those with undergraduate degrees. Most early childhood education degree-holders work as preschool teachers and administrators in day care centers and public schools.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Preschool TeachersElementary School PrincipalsPostsecondary Teachers
Median Salary (2014) $28,120$91,990$59,720
Job Outlook (2012-2022)17% increase in jobs (faster than average)6% increase (slower than average)19% increase (faster than average)
Work EnvironmentWork school hours during school year with summer break; Can be tiring to work with children all dayWork full time, including occasional evenings; Do not have summers offFlexible schedule, must be on campus during class hours and mandatory office hours; Must find time to conduct and publish own research
TrainingSome states require previous childcare experienceWork experience as a teacherTeaching or work experience helpful but not required; Published research

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bachelor's Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree in early childhood education prepares graduates for jobs as child care workers or preschool teachers. Child care workers are employed in a number of settings, including day care centers and private homes. These workers tend to children's physical, emotional and educational needs and supervise them when parents are unavailable. They might use play as a way to teach younger children basic lessons. State education and licensing requirements vary by state, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many public schools look for preschool teachers who have bachelor's degrees in early childhood education or an equivalent degree, as well as a license to teach early childhood education.

A bachelor's degree is typically also sufficient to become a director of a preschool or childcare center. Directors of early childhood education programs oversee the many facets of that program, including staff, facilities and curricula. It is also their responsibility to ensure that their preschool facilities adhere to state laws.

Master's Degree

A master's degree in early childhood education can prepare students for teaching and administrator job opportunities. Some states and employers might require early childhood education teachers to hold master's degrees. Teachers who earn such higher credentials might also qualify for raises.

Preschool and elementary school principals must typically have master's degrees as well as teaching certifications and professional experience. Often, schools will look to hire principals that have previous teaching experience.

Doctorate Degree

Individuals who earn doctorate degrees in early childhood education might work as researchers or professors. Early childhood education researchers conduct studies and research education methodologies. For example, they might conduct research on effective teaching methods in early childhood education and then pass their findings on to teachers and preschool directors. It is possible to enter a career in research with a master's degree, but a doctorate degree can help towards advancement. Alternatively, professors of early childhood education might teach at colleges or universities and prepare prospective educators for jobs in early childhood education.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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