Associate Degree in Child Development: Program Summary
Child development education programs include the study of the physical, emotional, language and behavioral development of infants, toddlers and school-aged children. Designed for future child care workers and educators, this 2-year degree program includes a practicum where students gain hands-on experience working with children of a variety of ages and educational needs. Graduates of the program may obtain the Council for Professional Recognition's Child Development Associate credential.
Associate's Degree in Child Development
Designed with standards developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the curriculum in this associate's degree program prepares students for entry-level careers or entrance into a bachelor's degree programs in early childhood development. Studies in this child development program examine the physical and emotional growth of children from birth to adolescence, including a survey of behavior, child nutrition and family dynamics.
The curriculum prepares students to develop age-appropriate education plans and utilize creative arts to foster learning. This associate's degree program typically culminates in a child development practicum where students work with children in an educational setting. Admittance requires a high school diploma or GED certificate; prospective students may also need to submit to a criminal background and child abuse screening before being admitted into the practicum phase of the program.
Coursework prepares students to work with infant, toddler and school-aged children through studies in language development, special needs, assessment and more. Topics of discussion typically include:
- Child safety
- Child development theories
- Cognitive development
- Exceptional children
- Behavior management
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a child development associate's degree program are prepared to work with children in settings like day cares, child enrichment centers, preschools and more. Job titles of graduates may include:
- Teaching assistant
- Preschool teacher
- Head Start teacher
- Daycare provider
Voluntary certification is also available for individuals looking to advance in this field. Graduates may obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, offered through the CDA National Credentialing Program of the Council for Professional Recognition. CDAs can obtain the Center-Based, Family Child Care or Home Visitor endorsements. CDA certification requires 480 hours of experience working with children, a professional resource file, parent opinion questionnaires and a lead teacher assessment.
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