Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Program Guide

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May 26, 2021

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A bachelor's degree in early childhood education can lead to a variety of careers. Students earn a bachelor's in early childhood education to pursue licensure and become kindergarten or elementary school teachers; however, they also qualify for jobs in preschool education, childcare management, and education administration.

Resourceful, patient, and communicative students make the best educators and administrators. Bachelor's programs in early childhood education offer specializations in diverse areas, such as special education, education leadership, and infant and toddler care.

Early childhood educators enjoy favorable job growth and high salaries among comparable education occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% increase in jobs for kindergarten and elementary school teachers between 2019 and 2029. Additionally, elementary school teachers, except special education, earn a median annual salary of nearly $61,000, well above the median annual wage for all occupations.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education?

The world needs qualified educators, especially in early childhood education, which focuses on students from birth to age eight.

The world needs qualified educators, especially in early childhood education, which focuses on students from birth to age eight. The BLS projects increased enrollment in this age group over the next decade will drive demand for public kindergarten and elementary school teachers, though job prospects vary depending on each school and district's budget.

Most bachelor's degrees take four years to complete, though some online bachelor's degrees in early childhood education offer accelerated timelines. Students may prefer a full- or part-time program to maintain work or family obligations while earning their degree. Some learners go on to earn a master's degree to qualify for positions, such as principal, specialist, and instructional coordinator.

Prospective teachers with a bachelor's in early childhood education must earn a state-issued license to teach in public schools. This degree can also prepare graduates for a variety of non-teaching careers in education, including childcare worker, preschool and childcare center director, and elementary school principal.

What Will I Learn in an Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Program?

Schools may offer a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA) in early childhood education. While both programs cover similar material, the BS commonly features curriculum that leads to teaching licensure, while the BA may include liberal arts coursework better suited to aspiring administrators and specialists.

All programs emphasize the psychological development of children up to eight years old. Bachelor's degrees in early childhood education also prepare students to effectively teach basic subjects like reading and math. Most bachelor's programs, especially those leading to teaching licensure, include embedded practicum experiences.

Early childhood education programs also stress career skills for educators. Degrees usually develop skills for teachers, such as classroom management; diversity and inclusion, curriculum, and behavior management techniques; and general competencies like critical thinking, global awareness, and active listening skills.

Concentrations

Administration and Leadership

Prospective elementary school principals and preschool directors benefit from this concentration. An early childhood education degree focused in administration and leadership provides graduates with the financial management and HR skills required to lead schools and childcare facilities.

Special Education

Special education concentrations prepare teachers to work with students affected by learning, developmental, or physical disabilities. The most common special needs among young learners include autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, and genetic disorders.

English as a Second Language

Early childhood education teachers who specialize in English as a second language help students from foreign countries develop the same English language skills as their native English-speaking peers.

Infants and Toddlers

Teachers of infants and toddlers focus on the youngest of students in the early childhood education age range. These teachers are trained in support, assessment, and interaction methods specific to children from birth to age five.

Child Nutrition

Educators know the impact that proper nutrition and food security can make on a young student's development. A concentration in child nutrition explores topics, such as eating disorders, childhood obesity, and food allergens, ideal for aspiring school, cafeteria, or food program directors.

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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education?

A bachelor's in early childhood education is a popular choice among aspiring kindergarten and elementary school teachers. This degree prepares graduates to pursue a teaching license, which is required for all public schools in all states. Some states require teachers to hold additional licensure in one or more content areas.

Many graduates also pursue careers as preschool teachers, childcare workers, and childcare facilities directors. While these occupations do not require a teaching license, some offer professional certifications that can enhance job prospects, such as the child development associate credential.

Graduates may also become elementary school principals, though many positions require a master's degree. Others may eventually pursue a master's degree in early childhood education or a related field, required for specialized careers in fields like curriculum and instruction, education administration, and gifted and talented education.

Popular Career Paths

Preschool Teacher Kindergarten or Elementary Teacher Childcare Worker Preschool or Childcare Center Director Elementary School Principal

Popular Continued Education Paths

Master's in Early Childhood Education Master's in Child Development Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Master's in Education Administration Master's in Gifted and Talented Education

How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education?

Salary potential for early childhood education professionals varies by occupation. With minimal formal education and no license required, preschool teachers and childcare workers earn salaries on the low end of the spectrum for graduates of this program. Students who complete a bachelor's in early childhood education often pursue careers as kindergarten or elementary school teachers, earning a median annual salary of $60,660.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs

What is early childhood education?

Early childhood education describes the period of learning and development of young children, from birth to eight years old. These educators teach preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students.

How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in early childhood education?

Traditional undergraduate degrees cost $9,000-$36,000 in 2018-2019. Online programs may offer accelerated paths to graduation and set or in-state tuition rates.

Are early childhood educators in high demand?

Due to increased enrollment of students in this age group, the BLS projects 4% job growth for kindergarten and elementary school teachers between 2019 and 2029.

Is a bachelor's in early childhood education worth it?

This major offers some of the most flexible and impactful career pathways in all fields of education. Graduates can become teachers of young children, childcare workers, and childcare center administrators.

What's the difference between a bachelor's in early childhood education and a bachelor's in education?

Early childhood education is a specialization of broader general education programs. Students pursuing a bachelor's in education can choose from multiple concentration options, while those earning an early childhood education degree focus on children from birth to age eight.

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