What Jobs Can I Get with an Early Childhood Education Associate Degree?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with an early childhood education associate degree. Read on to learn more about career options, job responsibilities and salary information. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Possible With an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

An associate degree in early childhood education is an ideal foundation for a career as a preschool teacher or preschool and child care center director. Preschool teachers prepare lessons, teach students, plan activities and monitor student progress. They work with students who are three to five years of age, and they focus on age-appropriate concepts and skills in their planning. They prepare young children to enter kindergarten. Preschool and child care center directors perform administrative tasks, such as registering children and purchasing supplies, and they also ensure that their staff are performing their duties as required.

Preschool Teacher Preschool and Child Care Center Director
Degree Required Associate degree Associate degree
Education Field of Study Early childhood education Early childhood education
Key Responsibilities Manage groups of children; maintain safe and clean spaces; plan curriculum and activities Train staff; resolve conflicts; develop programs; establish program fees
Licensure/Certification Public school teachers must be licensed Certification may be required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* 7%*
Average Salary (2015) $32,500* $52,760*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Can I Work With an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Completing an associate degree program in early childhood education will help you develop your skills and knowledge needed to work with children under the age of five. You'll have learned about managing, supervising and teaching in a preschool or childcare environment. You'll be trained in child development, child behavior and learning styles. Programs train you to manage a group of children and plan a safe environment for them. Your education allows you to take a job as a preschool teacher, assistant teacher, childcare manager or provider.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

If you choose to work as a preschool teacher or in a school setting, you provide education to children ages 3-5. You might teach in groups or tutor one-on-one. You use teaching strategies designed to capture the attention of the children and keep them interested in learning. Developing the curriculum and designing the teaching methods are among your duties. Your focus will be on teaching children topics relative to their developmental stage. You may work with a child to teach him or her to hold a pencil correctly, encourage creativity through an art project or introduce your students to games played as a group. These activities help with motor skills, social development and creative stimulation. You also teach students basic concepts of reading, writing, mathematics and science.

If you choose to work in childcare, your main responsibility is to provide supervision of children in a safe environment. You might work in a childcare center or your own home. Childcare doesn't only involve watching over children. Most childcare providers also provide activities for children to help teach them skills. Your duties also include providing healthy meals, changing diapers, preparing bottles and managing multiple children of different ages at the same time. You ensure that children get along with each other, prevent fighting and encourage social interaction. You may have to provide special foods for children on restricted diets, handle children with behavioral issues or care for a sick child.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for preschool and childcare center education administrators as of May 2015 was $52,760, and the average annual salary for a preschool teacher was $32,500 (bls.gov)

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The work that teacher assistants and childcare workers do is similar to the work of preschool teachers. These professionals do not necessarily need an associate degree, but typically do complete some postsecondary training. Childcare workers prepare activities and ensure the children they work with have access to books, toys and other items that are safe and appropriate for them. Teacher assistants need to be familiar with developmental milestones for children so that they can identify students who may not have mastered age-appropriate skills or concepts and provide extra assistance to those students. They also help teachers perform administrative tasks and prepare lesson plans.

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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