Associate in Child Development Program Guide

April 15, 2021

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For individuals interested in fostering children's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development, an associate degree in child development can pave the way.

During these programs, students learn to recognize normal developmental stages and key milestones as well as the delays, which can lead to early detection and treatment. Supporting children and families during this critical development stage can make the difference between long-term success and behavioral challenges.

Associate in child development programs prepare students to work with children as preschool teachers, teacher assistants, and childcare workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for teacher assistants to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029.

Should I Get an Associate in Child Development?

An on-campus or online associate degree in child development typically requires 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete.

For those interested in nurturing children and positively impacting their lives, an associate degree in child development can lead to a fulfilling career.

Graduates may enter the workforce as preschool teachers or childcare workers. Others use this degree as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree in child development or education, which can lead to roles like elementary or special education school teacher, social worker, or child life specialist.

The BLS projects jobs for teacher assistants to grow at the same rate as all occupations between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS projects 2% job growth for both childcare workers and preschool teachers.

Candidates with experience working with young children may find better job prospects. Most programs provide opportunities for supervised field experience with children, allowing applicants to obtain this experience.

While requirements vary, some states require preschool teachers to obtain the child development associate credential or a teaching license. Many programs meet the licensure requirements for pre-K education in their state.

An on-campus or online associate degree in child development typically requires 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete. Some schools offer accelerated tracks, which can shorten completion times.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Child Development Programs

What Will I Learn in a Child Development Associate Program?

Students pursuing an on-campus or online associate degree in child development learn about the physical, behavioral, mental, and emotional development of children as they age. Coursework covers how to assess a child's progress and recognize development or behavioral delays.

These programs also cover influencing factors inherent in a child's progression, such as family, community, and biology. Students learn how to communicate and partner with parents to promote positive growth as well as techniques for encouraging constructive behaviors and guiding children in a classroom setting.

Some schools offer specializations like special education, language development, and administration that enable students to focus their education on specific interests.

While curricula vary, typical classes in an associate in child development program include children's nutrition, family and community dynamics, curriculum planning, methods of teaching, child development, and working with children with special needs. Most programs culminate in a practicum, enabling students to apply their learned skills. Learners must also complete general education requirements.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Child Development?

An associate degree in child development prepares graduates to work in several industries, including education, social assistance, and childcare services. Graduates can pursue careers in schools, childcare centers, and community service organizations. They may also work in a child's home or start their own business caring for preschool children.

Some graduates continue their education and pursue a bachelor's or graduate degree in child development or early childhood education. These advanced degrees lead to increased earning potential and additional job opportunities.

Learn about the many career opportunities in our child development career guide.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Child Development Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Child Development?

Salary potential varies based on employer, position, experience, and location. The BLS reports that teacher assistants earned a median annual salary of $28,900 in 2020, while social and human service assistants made $35,960. Preschool teachers who work in elementary schools boast some of the highest earnings with a median annual salary of $59,410.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Child Development Programs

Are child development majors in high demand?

Yes. The BLS projects 2% job growth for preschool teachers between 2019 and 2029, resulting in approximately 13,500 new jobs. Social and human service assistants should experience much greater demand, with a projected 17% growth rate during this same time period.

What kind of jobs can I get with an associate in child development?

Graduates with an associate in child development work in schools, childcare centers, and community service organizations. Common career paths include preschool teacher, social and human service assistant, childcare worker, and teacher assistant.

How much does it cost to get an associate in child development?

The cost of an associate degree in child development varies based on each student's residency status and the program. Most programs cost $5,000-$28,000 in total tuition. Online students can find programs that disregard residency. Many schools also offer grants and scholarships that can reduce total education costs.

Is an associate in child development worth it?

For students with a strong desire to make a difference in a child's life, an associate in child development can lead to a rewarding career. Some graduates enter the workforce as preschool teachers or teacher assistants, while others go on to pursue a bachelor's degree in child development or education.

How long does it take to get an associate in child development?

An on-campus or online associate in child development degree requires approximately 60 credits and takes full-time enrollees about two years to complete. Programs offering accelerated tracks can reduce completion times. Working students may consider part-time or online programs.

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