One of the most recent and exciting developments in education is the idea that children need to be educated starting from an extremely early age. This is known as early childhood education. When a child receives early childhood education, it promotes brain development and puts them on the path of long-term academic success.
Early childhood education is a growing field, with more and more people becoming interested in this teaching career every single year. If you’re interested in a job in early childhood education, it’s important to learn about some of the requirements of this field and the best way to enter into the profession.
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The benefit of choosing a career in early childhood education is that you have several educational options. The degree that you choose will depend on what level of early childhood education you are pursuing. You can earn a degree at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral level, whichever you prefer.
Whatever degree you choose, you will need to meet the requirements for enrollment in a degree program. For instance, you may need to pass entrance exams, provide letters of recommendation and you may even need to be a certified teacher if you wish to pursue an advanced early childhood education degree.
Whatever degree you choose, it’s important that you attend an accredited program. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) maintains a list of accredited programs. These programs will teach you all the skills needed for early childhood education and will make it easier for you to find employment when your degree is complete.
What’s Involved in an Early Childhood Education Career?
An early childhood educator teaches children before they have received any formal school. While some early childhood educators may work with children at the kindergarten level, most will teach children at the pre-K level. This means that early childhood educators are focused on teaching children basic foundational concepts.
Certain pieces of knowledge that were once taught in kindergarten, like letters and numbers, are now taught in early childhood education settings. Learning these subjects at an earlier age increases a student’s chances of success when they enter a more formal educational institution.
Early Childhood Education Courses
No matter what degree level you choose, you will need to complete coursework most conducive to a career in early childhood education. These courses may be very different than courses you would take during other teaching degrees, as teaching young children is much different than teaching older children.
For example, an important part of early childhood education is instilling self-esteem in your student, which requires courses in child psychology. Other courses you may take during your degree can include early childhood nutrition, cognitive development and behavioral theories.
Early Childhood Education Salary According to the BLS
Many early childhood educators will work either in a kindergarten or a pre-school setting, both of which have their own salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median pay for a kindergarten teacher in 2015 was $54,550. The BLS reports that pre-K teachers made a median yearly salary of $28,570. Your specific salary can depend on a variety of factors, including the state where you work and the level of education that you have achieved.