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Masters Degree in Early Childhood Development: Program Info

If you want to study early childhood development in graduate school, a master's degree program in the field is a great place to start. Find out what this program entails and how graduates use the skills they gain in their careers.

Essential Information

Master of Science programs in Early Childhood Development are designed to provide graduate students with a broad overview of the social, mental and emotional development of children. Students can expect to engage in on-site research projects and participate in seminars. Prior to graduation, students may be required to submit a thesis that explores a particular aspect of childhood development. Most programs can be completed in three or four semesters.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree. Other required application materials include letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, previous transcripts, and GRE scores.


Master's Degree in Early Childhood Development

Many of the courses found within a master's degree program in early childhood development cover the psychological and emotional development of children under the age of 12. In these programs, students learn about the stages of childhood development and the historical, philosophical and social foundations of childhood education in order to better develop and execute effective curriculum plans at the elementary school level. Core course examples include:

  • Foundations of early childhood education
  • Curriculum development for early childhood education
  • Educational research
  • Young children and community relationships
  • Children in a diverse society
  • Child abuse prevention

Popular Career Options

There are several potential career opportunities for graduates of master's degree programs in early childhood development, mostly in the academic sphere. Some of these include:

  • Elementary school teacher
  • Elementary school administrator
  • Elementary school counselor
  • Social worker
  • Youth counselor
  • Family counselor
  • Child development research associate

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide information specifically for early child development specialists, it does provide information for the closely related professions of elementary and preschool teachers. Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS predicts that elementary school teachers will see a 6% growth in employment, while preschool teachers are expected to see a 7% growth in employment. The mean annual wage for elementary teachers was $57,730 in May 2015. Preschool teachers earned an average annual wage of $32,500 that same year.

Continuing Education Options

Doctoral degree programs that might appeal to graduates of a master's degree program in early childhood development include a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education or Ph.D. in Early Childhood Intervention and Literacy. Such programs typically take about 5-7 years to complete, and they require the completion of a publishable dissertation. Many doctorate-holders go to on to work as professors at universities or for public and private research agencies.

Overall, there are many professions that can benefit from a master's degree in early childhood development, including elementary educators and administrators, family counselors and social workers. Jobs are predicted to grow steadily from 2014-2024 for elementary and preschool teachers.


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