Schools and Programs
Some schools and programs for young children might require only a high school diploma or some college education, such as an associate degree. However, public schools typically require a bachelor's degree in early childhood development. In a bachelor's program, students participate in coursework and supervised classroom practicums. Some schools also offer completion programs online for students who have taken general education and prerequisite courses. Many of these programs (both on-campus and online) include coursework that fulfills requirements for mandatory state licensure. Within the program types outlined below, students can find tracks focusing on pre-k and kindergarten teaching, as well as preparation for careers outside of teaching.
Programs At a Glance
|Programs||Program Levels||Prerequisites||Class Format|
|Early Childhood Development||Bachelor's degree completion||120 quarter credits from a community college||Online|
|Early Childhood Development and Education||Bachelor's, master's and doctorate||Undergraduate degree is required for graduate degree programs||On-campus|
Adult Education in Early Childhood Development Program Courses
Early childhood development bachelor's degree programs usually include several early childhood education courses. Others offer specializations for prospective teachers and those interested in working with children in a non-academic field, such as counseling or social work. Some programs additionally prepare graduates to work in special education. Some sample courses students may encounter in a program include child psychology, child observation, children's literature, elementary math, science, language arts and social studies, special education, early childhood assessment, child and family development theory, curriculum development, cultural diversity, and health, safety and nutrition.
All programs designed to prepare graduates for licensure include classroom practicums. This work takes place in a real educational setting where the student, under the supervision of a mentor teacher, helps lead a preschool or kindergarten class. The time spent in these environments helps meet the state requirements for a teaching license.
Most early childhood development teachers have a bachelor's degree, and some schools might require it. In addition, every state mandates licensure, which typically requires several hours of practical teaching experience. Some common careers for graduates include teachers, social workers, child program workers, and childcare specialists.
Preschool teachers work with children who are at the age before kindergarten. Children have this opportunity to learn basic skills needed for further education. For example, the teacher may introduce concepts which help the children count by using blocks. In addition, they encourage language skills and group participation through story-telling and spoken word group games. Graduates may also pursue careers teaching kindergarten through the third grade.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 7% job growth for preschool teachers over the decade spanning 2014 through 2024, while kindergarten and elementary school teachers will experience similar, average growth of 6% during that period. As of May 2014, median annual earnings for preschool teachers (except special education) was $28,120, while kindergarten teachers (except special education) earned a much higher median wage of $50,600. Elementary school teachers (except special education) made a median wage of $54,120 according to the BLS.