Educators provide instruction and guidance to children beginning with preschool and continuing through high school. Both in and out of the classroom, educators serve as important sources of social and emotional support for children.
Bachelor's degree programs for teachers are typically divided into early childhood, primary and secondary education. Upon completing an accredited program, students can pursue Teacher Certification, which is required of all teachers in public schools.
While obtaining a bachelor's degree in education is the most common route for teachers, some states also have alternative licensing programs meant to address teacher shortages. An individual with a bachelor's degree in math, for example, might attend a master's program that qualifies him or her to teach that subject to students.
Working with kids in education is not limited to teaching. Other areas to consider are speech and language pathology, school counseling, and library science.
There are a variety of specialties in the field of psychology. Two areas that focus on kids include child psychology and school psychology. A child psychologist provides services related to the behavioral, emotional and cognitive development of children and adolescents. These professionals may work in schools, hospitals, private practices and other environments where there are children in need of evaluation or care. A school psychologist primarily works in schools assisting students with personal, social or academic needs.
Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology is a good first step towards becoming a psychologist. In order to become a child psychologist, one must earn a doctorate, complete an internship and pass a licensing exam. School psychologists need a minimum of a master's degree, but they can also continue their education and get a specialist or doctoral degree. Licensure is required for school psychologists as well.
For those who want to work with children in the healthcare field, becoming a pediatric nurse may be an excellent option. Pediatric nurses help to provide medical care for the youngest patients while also providing families with information and support. In addition to regular nursing activities, pediatric nurses assist doctors by performing tests, comforting sick or hurt patients, advising parents about health decisions and more.
Aspiring pediatric nurses may complete a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, though shorter associate's degree and diploma programs are available. These programs prepare students for registered nursing (RN) licensure, which is required for all nurses regardless of specialty. RNs who want to specialize in caring for children may look for undergraduate programs that offer pediatric practicums or internships; they can also seek jobs in hospital pediatric wards or pediatricians' offices after graduation.
RNs who meet education and experience requirements can pursue voluntary pediatric nursing certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Some RNs go on to pursue pediatric nurse practitioner or pediatric clinical nurse specialist master's degrees. These programs usually lead to pediatric nursing certification as well.
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A career in social work represents another great way to help children. Social workers provide services aimed at promoting the health and welfare of kids and their families. These professionals are often employed in public agencies and schools. They typically help children affected by disabilities, behavior problems, substance abuse and other family challenges.
Students interested in this career area generally earn a bachelor's degree in social work. A Social Work bachelor's degree, though, usually only qualifies individuals for lower-level positions. People interested in working within school or health settings, for example, must also complete a master's program.
State licensure is often necessary for social workers, though requirements may vary. In many states, clinical social workers must hold a master's degree, complete two years of supervised experience and pass an exam in order to be licensed.
Childcare managers or directors fill a vital role in the development of kids who have working parents. These professionals oversee childcare facilities to ensure that children are being well taken care of by staff members. Childcare managers also implement teaching and behavior strategies that allow children to develop intellectually and socially in care environments. Additional duties may include budget oversight and regular meetings with parents.
Aspiring childcare managers may complete post-secondary programs in early childhood development or early childhood education. Both two-year associate programs and four-year bachelor's programs are available; some schools offer undergraduate certificates in these fields as well. Childcare managers or directors must be certified in some states. Organizations offering recognized certifications include the Council for Professional Recognition and National Early Childhood Program Accreditation.
Whether you're pursing a degree in one of these fields or in a different field, you may want to get a head start on getting college credit. Find out how you can earn college credit and find Study.com courses that lead to credit.