College Degree Programs for Early Childhood Education
People who specialize in early childhood education teach children between 3-6 years of age; early childhood is usually considered to last from preschool through third grade. Degrees in early childhood education are available from the associate's through the doctoral levels.
Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education and Care
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs combine coursework in early childhood education with instruction in childcare methods. Programs emphasize practical skills related to planning lessons, helping students develop language and communication skills, encouraging literacy and developing healthy habits. Students in these programs often specialize in family childcare, infant care, special education care, program management or toddler care.
To be admitted to an AAS program in early childhood care and education, applicants must first complete high school or earn a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Many programs also require entering students to take placement tests in English and mathematics to see which prerequisites they need to complete.
The coursework in early childhood care and education AAS programs covers topics related to teaching preschool-aged children. Students learn to create educational foundations in preschoolers, preparing them to learn to read, write and understand math when they enter first grade. The classes noted below are often required:
- Human development
- Introductory special education theory
- Caring for young children
- Introductory curriculum design
Popular Career Options
Since most states require that teachers have at least a bachelor's degree and state certification, people who hold an AAS in early childhood care and education fill other positions. People who enter the workforce after earning an AAS often choose the following careers:
- Group childcare worker
- Family childcare worker
- Preschool teacher's assistant
Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in early childhood education teach students to understand the overall effect of early childhood education on society as a whole. Students learn to relate early childhood education to topics taught in elementary education and to overall community standards. These programs also discuss early childhood education administration, educational public policy and educational technology. Students usually complete supervised teaching assignments prior to graduation.
Typically, applicants to B.A. programs in early childhood education need to submit their high school transcripts and college entrance examination scores. Many schools also request that applicants submit letters of recommendation and an original personal statement.
The coursework in early childhood education B.A. programs teaches students to design curricula for schoolchildren in preschool through third grade. Students learn to integrate technology into their lessons and adjust the material taught to match the children's individual abilities. Students are often required to take the courses noted below:
- Developmental psychology
- Mathematics instruction
- Emerging literacy instruction
- Educational assessment techniques
- Socialization in early childhood education
Popular Career Options
Many early childhood education B.A. programs meet state teaching certification requirements, meaning that graduates can hold teaching positions. People who don't enter teaching have several career options as well. The careers noted below are common options:
- Elementary school teacher
- Afterschool program coordinator
- Private school administrator
Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in early childhood education focus on the research methods and statistical analyses used to measure the effectiveness of early childhood education. Students also learn advanced theories of teaching and curriculum design. While some programs terminate in a master's degree, most prepare graduates for study at the doctoral level.
M.A. programs in early childhood education generally require applicants to submit a resume, personal statement and up to three letters of reference as part of the admissions process. Additionally, applicants must provide the program with their undergraduate transcripts and scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Some programs require incoming students to have previous work experience in early childhood education.
Students in early childhood education M.A. programs learn both practical skills used to instruct young children and the theoretical foundations behind educational research. M.A. programs often include extensive research and writing requirements prior to graduation. The classes mentioned below are commonly offered:
- Advanced child psychology
- Curriculum design for young special education students
- Infant and toddler teaching methods
- Creative activities for young children
- Cognitive development
Popular Career Options
People who earn a master's degree in early childhood education qualify for teaching positions, as well as careers in research and administration. Graduates often choose the careers listed below:
- Early childhood curricula design specialist
- Consultant in early childhood instruction
- Preschool program administrator
Doctor of Philosophy in Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs cover advanced research and analytical techniques as well as new teaching theories. Programs emphasize critical thinking and problem solving skills and often place less emphasis on practical instruction in teaching methods. Students learn how different students' social and ethnic backgrounds may affect how they view education. Students must complete and present a dissertation before earning their degree.
Ph.D. programs in early childhood education seek students who have already earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field. In addition to a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and a resume, many schools also require students to submit an original writing sample relevant to early childhood education.
The coursework in early childhood education Ph.D. programs teaches students how to conduct and evaluate educational research. Courses also emphasize child advocacy and the social aspects of early childhood education. Students often complete classes on the subjects noted below:
- Literacy development theory
- Contemporary issues in early childhood education
- Advanced research methodology in early childhood education
- Advanced educational statistics
- Professional development for early childhood educators
Popular Career Options
While people who earn a Ph.D. in early childhood education can become teachers, most enter careers in research or academia after earning a Ph.D. Graduates can work for individual schools, school districts, governmental agencies or private consulting firms. Graduates often pursue one of the careers mentioned below:
- Curricula design consultant
- Early childhood education researcher
- Advocate for disadvantaged children
Continuing Education Options
Teachers at any level need to earn state certification before they can legally work. The standards vary, but most states require teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree and to pass a written content test. Teachers can become certified by completing an approved degree program in education or by enrolling in an alternative certification program.
Related to College Early Childhood Education Degree
- Recently Updated
Early childhood education focuses on the education of children from birth to eight years old. Much of the instruction...
Bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education train students in the pedagogical techniques and broad...
All individuals who seek to become early childhood educators for the public school system must earn at least a...
All early childhood educators must complete a formal postsecondary program before they can begin teaching in the state...
- Master of Education (M.Ed): Early Childhood Education Degree Overview
- Associate of Early Childhood Education: Online Degree
- Associate of Science (AS): Early Childhood Education Degree Overview
- List of Free Online Pathology Courses and Classes
- Top Degree Programs for Administrative Assisting - Chicago, IL
- Animal and Pet Health Technician: Job Duties and Requirements for a Career in Animal and Pet Medicine
- YouCollege: Video Becomes the Next Big Thing in College Applications
- Associate of Early Childhood Education (AECE): Degree Overview
- Top Rated University with Courses in Early Childhood Education - Harrisburg, PA
- List of Free Online Spanish Courses and Classes
- List of Free Online Commercial Art and Design Courses and Learning Materials
- New Study Connects Fiction With Empathy