What Is an EC Teacher?

Research what it takes to become an EC teacher. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an EC Teacher?

Early childhood (EC) teachers work with preschool-aged children. It is their goal to teach young children basic knowledge, like number and letter recognition. They often work with children in groups though they may do some one-on-one instruction to meet a child's individual needs. A large part of a teacher's success comes from their ability to plan out schedules and lay out lesson plans that cover target curriculum. They organize activities according to these lesson plans and develop a routine that allows children to have a balance of lesson time, physical activity and rest. As a professional who spends a lot of time with a child it is also their responsibility to monitor a child's social, emotional and cognitive development. If they notice any issues in development they are required to bring it up with parents.

The table below provides detailed information for this career:

Degree Required Varies by state; minimum high school diploma; associate degree for some programs; minimum bachelor's for all public schools.
Education Field of Study Early childhood development
Key Responsibilities Care for and teach young children ages 3-5, implement curricula designed to develop basic skills
Licensure/Certification Teaching license for all public schools; may require Child Development Associate (CDA) certification, CPR and first-aid certification
Job Growth (2014-24) 7% (for preschool teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $28,570 (for preschool teachers except special education)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Job Duties As an EC Teacher?

As an early childhood (EC) teacher, you care for and teach children between the ages of three and five in a preschool or daycare setting. You implement curricula in order to help children develop their social, motor, language and early writing skills. Games, creative activities and music are often used to help introduce children to reading, math and science concepts.

What Education Do I Need?

The requirements to become an early childhood teacher differ by state and program; you might simply need a high school diploma, or you might be required to complete a certain number of courses in early childhood development. Some programs require that you complete a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in early childhood development.

Prekindergarten programs may have more stringent educational requirements than those of a traditional preschool. Head Start, a national child development program aimed at low-income children and families, requires teachers to have a minimum of an associate's degree in early childhood education.

What Are My Job Prospects?

Since early childhood education has received more national attention, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated the number of preschool teaching positions to grow approximately 7% during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Also, such positions experience high turnover, which makes openings common. However, the population of preschool aged children is growing more slowly and may hinder growth. Also, assistant and aide positions have become more common due to the lower pay required for workers at that level.

More than 245,640 early childhood teachers are employed at child day care services; elementary and secondary schools have approximately 74,240 professionals on staff. Other frequent employers include family services, and civic and religious organizations.

What Could I Earn?

Early childhood teachers have variable salaries depending upon the type of organization they join, the location and their credentials. In May 2015, the BLS reported that professionals in the 25th-75th percentile earned a median salary between $22,440 and $38,200 per year. Those employed in child day care services earned the least, with an annual average wage of $28,380. There was a significant difference in salary depending upon location; the annual average wage for an early childhood teacher in New York was $38,010, while preschool teachers in Delaware earned $26,570 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Childcare workers may not be responsible for putting together lessons and teaching children, but they are hired to watch over children and care for them when parents are not around. This includes tending to children's basic needs and ensuring their safety. In some cases they may even serve as a after school tutors. There is no set education requirement for this job, though many have a high-school diploma. Teacher assistants help teachers oversee classroom activities and provide extra help to students who need it. Many of these paraprofessionals have some college education but no degree.

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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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Towson University

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  • Vanderbilt University

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    • Tennessee: Nashville
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