Master of Arts in Education: Online Early Childhood Education Degree

Learn about online Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) programs in early childhood education. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

There are a fairly wide variety of online MAEd programs available in early childhood education. These programs include core courses in early childhood instruction, teaching trends and early childhood supervision. MAEd programs may require that students already have a bachelor's degree in education. Some programs also require that the student holds a teaching license and has experience working with young children. Classes can be completed entirely online; however, in-person supervised student teaching is needed for those seeking certification. Before enrolling, students may need to have specific computer hardware such as a web camera, a microphone and speakers.

Master of Arts in Education - Early Childhood Education

These programs prepare teachers to work with children from birth through age five, as well as their families, to create age-appropriate curriculum and environments that work in cohesion with the developmental stages and abilities of young children. This type of degree program is often offered as a concentration within a curriculum and instruction master's degree program. Some programs may also include a certification option for those without previous teaching experience.

Program Information and Requirements

Masters of Arts in Education (MAEd) programs usually consist of around 35 credit hours. Course content is delivered through an online classroom experience, as well as through print materials, CDs and DVDs. Video conferencing with professors may be an option at some schools as well.

To be able to fully experience the online program, schools often have certain technical requirements in place. High-speed Internet is typically one of them, as are software requirements and updated operating systems. There may be hardware requirements as well, such as a web camera, a microphone and speakers.

List of Common MAEd in Early Childhood Education Courses

The classes for an early childhood education (ECE)-focused MAEd program touch on both theory and practice in regards to working with young children. Subjects such as psychological and physical development, classroom management and connections with the community may be touched on in the courses. Below are examples of some classes that a student might encounter in this type of program.

ECE Issues

This type of class may look at social and political trends that affect the ECE field, as well as at events in history that changed the way ECE is approached. Students may also study and evaluate different approaches to ECE.

Art

Art classes often mix theory and application. Students may study children's artistic development and learn how to implement art projects into an ECE curriculum. A research project may also be a part of this class.

Curriculum

This type of class teaches students how to create an effective curriculum for young children. Subjects such as equity for different types of learners and curriculum implementation may be discussed.


Career Information

Graduates from these programs usually go on to teach in a school or work in a daycare setting. Individuals can also take an administrator position in a school or center that works with young children. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this field is expected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).

Preschool and kindergarten positions were projected to have a 7% rate of growth, while childcare workers were expected to see 5% growth from 2014-2024. The BLS stated that childcare workers earned an average annual wage of about $22,310 in 2015. That same year, preschool teachers (except special education) made an annual average of about $32,500, while administrators made about $52,760 and kindergarten teachers (except special education) made about $54,510.

Continuing Education Information

If a program includes a certification option, graduates will need to check their state's department of education to determine the course of action for obtaining that state's teaching license. This typically requires being fingerprinted and submitting verification of having completed a teacher preparation program, along with other paperwork.

Students who wish to take their education beyond the master's degree level have a few online Ph.D. program options. Students should note that these programs are usually offered by private, for-profit universities.

For teachers who want to work with preschool-aged children and kindergartners, an MAEd in Early Childhood Education can help them gain advanced instructional skills and develop curricula specific to the needs of the young students they work with. These master's degree programs also prepare graduates for administrative positions within schools and childcare facilities.


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