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What Are Emerging Career Options in Early Childhood Development?

Early childhood development educators have recently been increasing in demand. This article discusses some emerging career opportunities in early childhood development.

Early Childhood Development Overview

Demand for early childhood educators has recently been steadily increasing as more and more people realize the critical importance a child's early years has on his or her later development and learning. Because of this, many new career opportunities have emerged.

Earlychildhood.org is a resource from the New York State Council on Children and Families that offers a career development resource guide for people seeking looking for career options in early childhood development. The site lists 18 categories with job opportunities for various work settings. Some of these are listed here.

Important Facts about this Occupation

ResearcherHead of GroupParent Educator
Required Education Ph.D. or Ed.D Associate degree Varies; minimum of associate - master's degree
Licensure None required Teaching certification; may require continuing education training Varies according to sponsoring agency and purpose of program
Work Environment Universities, private agencies, public organizations; may work as a consultant Nursery schools, center-based group child care, Head Start programs Public schools, private schools, child care programs, Head Start programs
Similar Occupations Education Administrator Childcare Worker, Tutor, In-Home Caregiver Social Worker, Family Therapist/Counselor, Public Speaker

Researcher

A researcher studies and evaluates children in school settings. A person seeking a position as a researcher should have advanced education in early childhood development research. This person should have strong analytical skills and the ability to clearly communicate their findings.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2020 that the annual median salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $79,820. A 3% growth in employment opportunities is expected for these workers between 2019-2029, the BLS states.

Head of Group

A head of group is a lead teacher in childcare and education programs. The head of group is responsible for curriculum planning, supervision, evaluation of each child and supervision of other staff, including volunteers and assistants.

Preschool teachers, except those in special education, earn a median annual salary of $31,930, says the BLS in 2020. Job growth over the 2019-2029 decade is expected to be 2%, the BLS further reports.

Assistant to Head of Group

In this position, a person assists the head of group in childcare and early childhood development programs. Often called the assistant teacher, they may work in the Head Start program or similar early childhood education programs. An assistant to head of group should have some knowledge of early childhood development and be skilled at managing children's behavior.

As reported by the BLS in May 2020, the median annual salary for teacher assistants is $28,900, and those in this profession can expect a 4% job growth from 2019-2029.

Parent Educator

Parent educators provide information in early childhood development and parenting techniques to new and struggling parents. Parent educators may help families and children cope in stressful times. Parent educators should have some knowledge of child development, parenting techniques and counseling and should practice discretion with confidential information.

In May 2020, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for social workers was $51,760. It is expected that those in this profession will experience a 13% increase in job opportunities between 2019-2029.