Early Childhood Education: Degree and Career Opportunities

The most critical time in a child's education comes during the years immediately before kindergarten. Early reading, Head Start, pre-school literacy, and special education programs help teachers and parents in the assessment of youngsters and implementation of educational services to ready children for school. You can play a vital role in helping children during these vital years by completing an online degree program in early childhood education.

Early Childhood Education: Making a Difference

Pre-school and kindergarten education programs were designed to support and build readiness for American children facing emotional, learning, physical, creative, or social difficulties during their formative years, typically between ages three and six. Early childhood education training programs prepare you to work in a variety of fields that leave a positive, lasting effect on young children.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, children must be prepared at a young age to pay attention, socialize with others in a positive manner, follow teacher's directions, and remember what they learn. Success depends on their home environment and children's nutrition, and their ability to see and hear. Graduates of early childhood education programs learn to identify student's learning disabilities or emotional problems caused at home.

Your Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program

Depending on your degree program and desire, you may specialize in assisting low-income populations, specific age groups, teaching, tutoring, assessments, curriculum development, childcare staffing or management, child psychology, or education administration. Online degrees are typically offered at the associate's, bachelor's, or post-graduate levels.

Online Early Childhood Education degree programs offer students comprehensive training in assessment and instructional skills, reading and literacy, classroom management, curriculum, childhood psychology, educational technology, and research skills. Classes may also cover types of learning disabilities--physical and emotional--as well as methods for assisting students to enter school with confidence.

All states have their own specific licensing or certification requirements for early childhood education professionals. You may need at least an associate's degree to work in administrative roles at a daycare or childcare center. With a bachelor's degree, you may be qualified to teach in private schools and, with a post-graduate teaching certificate, staff a public school's early childhood education department. Master's degree programs in early childhood education can prepare you for work in curriculum development, assessments, and testing. A PhD degree in early childhood education can qualify you for work as a school district administrator or post-secondary teacher of early childhood education.

Early Childhood Education Carerer Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for special education teachers at public schools should continue to see growth during the 2006-2016 decade. The U.S. Department of Education reports that there should be an emphasis on Even Start programs that provide early childhood education to low-income families with children from birth to age seven, with new grants offered to preschool programs throughout the country.

According to the BLS, the most pre-school teaching jobs should be in demand in the West, South, and Southwest where school districts are facing increasing enrollment. Median annual wages in 2008 for special education teachers was $50,020, with top-of-scale earnings of $78,980.