Master of Education (M.Ed): Early Childhood Education Degree Overview

May 03, 2021

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in early childhood education might expand students' knowledge of constructivist philosophies, educational policies, learning environments and educational materials. Most programs engage students with coursework focused around theories in child development and learning. Internships are required for some programs and students must typically complete a thesis for graduation.

Applicants to M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education programs must typically have a bachelor's degree. Some programs prefer that applicants have experience in child development or other previous work experience with young children. Additionally, online programs are available at some schools.

Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

Throughout a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education program, students may explore educational issues and trends, as well as come to understand the needs of learners. Students delve into areas related to early childhood education, including mathematics, science, social studies, reading and arts. They may also study topics such as:

  • Education foundations
  • Child development
  • Childhood disabilities
  • Assessment
  • Children's literature

Popular Career Options

A Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.) program can prepare a classroom teacher for an advanced role, such as lead or mentor teacher, or for transition to an administrative position, such as curriculum specialist. These programs are geared toward those who work with prekindergarten students through second-graders in education, childcare and family support. Individuals might also seek advanced careers like the following:

  • Childcare center director
  • Community college instructor
  • Head Start specialist
  • Parent educator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates job growth from 2019-2029 to be 2% for preschool teachers, 4% for kindergarten teachers and 4% for elementary school teachers ( Preschool and childcare center director growth is estimated to be 1% from 2019-2029.

The mean annual wage for preschool teachers (excluding special education) in May 2020 was $36,550; $61,170 for kindergarten teachers and $65,420 for elementary school teachers, reported the BLS. The mean annual wage for preschool and childcare center administrators was $54,940.

Continuing Education

Graduates of Master of Education in Early Childhood Education programs might choose to continue their education by pursing a doctoral degree. Doctorate programs are generally focused on research in the field of early education. These programs usually prepare individuals to be advocates, scholars and researchers.

Students who earn a master of education in early childhood education typically have experience working with children or in education before entering this program. Graduates can choose to go on to pursue their doctorate if they are more interested in a research profession.

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