How Long Is a Master's in Early Childhood Education Program?
Early childhood education programs are designed to train child educators to work with children ages one to eight. These programs generally take one to two years to complete.
Time to Complete a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education
A master's degree in early childhood education is designed to prepare certified teachers and other applicants interested in entering the field to work with children ages one to eight. Master's degree programs may offer different tracks that focus on various areas of teaching and specific age groups. Most programs require students to complete 30-36 semester hours.
Master's degrees in early childhood education vary in length depending upon the actual program chosen and the number of credit hours needed to fulfill degree requirements. Master's programs generally take two years to complete if the student attends full-time. It will take longer if a student decides to attend part-time.
Thesis vs. Non-thesis Programs
Another factor that may influence length of a program is whether the student chooses a thesis or non-thesis program. A student enrolled in a thesis program must conduct original research, write a thesis on the results and pass an oral defense as well as taking all required courses. A thesis master's may take longer to complete than a non-thesis master's due to problems with research and increase amount of work.
Various Types of Programs
A program leading to certification may take longer to complete (and require students to earn more credit hours). This may be due to having to take teacher education courses along with a student teaching experience.
It may be possible to complete a master's in early childhood education in less than two years by entering an accelerated program. An accelerated program can possibly be completed in one year, but certainly less than two years. Students may take classes at the same time as completing student teaching experiences, or they start courses at the beginning of the summer and work through to the end of the following summer.
Another option to completing the program faster is to take it online. Students are allowed to work at their own pace on their own schedule.
Some institutions offer combined bachelor's and master's program. Programs of this nature allow students to complete their undergraduate and graduate (master's degree) in five years, rather than six.
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