Career Opportunities in Early Childhood Education
Posted On Oct 26, 2023
If you love working with children, are creative, adaptable, energetic, organized, and empathetic, you are a great candidate for a career in early childhood education. While many think of early childhood education as simply working in a preschool or child care center, there are many more options for working as an early childhood educator.
Become a Preschool Teacher with a Degree in Early Childhood Education
A two-year associate degree in early childhood education will allow you to work as a preschool teacher in a variety of schools. As a preschool teacher, you will develop a curriculum for 3-5 year old students that will use hands-on, play-based activities to develop their fine motor, gross motor, and social skills, as well as building a foundation for early literacy and early numeracy skills, such as identifying letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Using games, books, art, music, and more, you will provide the educational foundation that students will build their educational experience on. Preschool teachers will track the progress of their students and keep their parents up to date.
Become a Head Start Teacher
Head Start provides education, healthcare, and nutritional services to children from low-income families. Head Start educators can really make a difference in the lives of their students. With a degree, you can supervise classrooms, plan lessons, and use your child development knowledge to help students succeed and set them on the right track for a lifetime of learning. Head Start teachers take an active role in communicating with students and their families to build a healthy, positive, and consistent environment.
Becoming a Child Life Specialist
A child life specialist often works in a hospital or other medical setting to help children who are either undergoing procedures themselves or dealing with the illness or serious injury of a family member. Child life specialists help these children cope with the challenges through books, play, and other techniques to break down complicated medical procedures into something they can understand. Providing support to both children and family members during a time of need can be a very fulfilling career.
Childcare Centers Need Dedicated Teachers
When most people think of childcare centers for infants and toddlers, we think of supervision and caring for basic needs, not “teaching”. However, as you will learn in your early childhood education degree program, infant and toddler teachers in childcare settings do much more than just meet basic childcare needs. As an infant or toddler teacher, you will create and implement a learning environment that will facilitate development in children from 3 months to 3 years of age. You can help children develop their gross and fine motor skills, their communication skills, and create an environment where they can interact with others, developing a foundation that will help them succeed in preschool and beyond.
With a degree in early childhood education, you will be prepared to own or operate a childcare facility. Many new parents feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their parenting journey and look to the experts for guidance. As a childcare director, you will have the opportunity to meet with different families and provide a safe, structured, and educationally rich space for their children to learn and grow. As childcare manager, you may not be as involved in the active day-to-day teaching, but you will be responsible for creating the overall structure, communicating with parents, and helping the center run smoothly. Some early childhood education graduates can also find work as a childcare consultant, guiding parents through the process of finding childcare or a preschool and offering resources.
Opportunities are Everywhere With the Right Degrees
One of the best things about a degree in early childhood education is that it will not block you into one career option. While many who have a degree in early childhood education do work in preschools and childcare centers, there are many other options. Early childhood education specialists can work on cruise ships in the childcare centers, as play specialists in clinics or medical facilities, as nannies, or as a family support specialist who is there to help families going through a crisis. Meeting children’s needs at the earliest stages of their life is an important job, and those with the right degree can be there to provide the support and education necessary for these young students to succeed now and later in life.
How to Get Started with a Career in Early Childhood Education
The first step to beginning a career in early childhood education is getting your degree. An associate’s degree in early childhood education is needed to work in nearly every early education setting. Look for a school that offers an associate degree program with a comprehensive curriculum of classes in early childhood development, along with the opportunity for a practicum or fieldwork experience. Most early childhood education programs are two-years, and financing options are available. For those who are pursuing their degree while working or caring for a family, day or evening classes make it easier to work toward a better career.
With the right degree and a passion for working with young children, a career in early childhood education can take you into many different settings and qualify you for many different roles. When you are ready for a new career in early childhood education, look for the right school to get you the education you need. Athena Career Academy offers a comprehensive early childhood education degree program with flexible class schedules and financial aid for those who qualify. Contact us to learn more.
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