Associate degree programs in child development are available in a hybrid format, with courses offered online and an in-person practicum required. Fully online associate degree programs are available in the related field of early childhood education. Kindergarten teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor's degree; educational and professional certification requirements for kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, and child care workers vary by employer and by state. Check for state-specific regulations when choosing an educational program.
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Associate Degree in Child Development
Students in a child development associate degree program receive instruction in the maturation, education of and care for children from birth through preschool. The field is a component of either of a school's arts or science department.
Program Information and Requirements
Most child development programs require two years of study but some can be completed in as little as 18 months. Practicums in a childcare center or preschool are a typical component of these programs. Except for practicum attendance, which must occur at the school or childcare facility, all coursework is delivered online.
Common Child Development Courses
These programs instruct students in the development process of a child and the best methods used to instruct children while being mindful of cultural, social and behavioral considerations.
This course focuses on satisfying a child's emotional and physical needs inside and outside of the classroom. Students learn how to create a productive and comforting learning environment to best facilitate learning. Behavioral management and motivation strategies are discussed.
Health, Safety and Nutrition of Young Children
Students in this course learn about the basic physical and emotional needs of a young child. Some courses contain instruction on intervening in suspected cases of abuse or developmental disorders.
This course discusses the stages of a child's physical and mental growth towards maturity. Students learn how to identify exceptional children and those children with learning disabilities, as well as how to manage these issues in the classroom. The roles of culture and the effect of a child's environment on learning are investigated in detail.
This course provides students with an introduction into the stages of intelligence, motivation and creativity of a child throughout the primary years. Students learn how to manage a child's mentality to facilitate learning.
Students in this course learn how gender, equality, and the environment can affect a child's ability to read and write. Issues such as the structure of child literature and word patterns are discussed. This course also provides students with an introduction into the basics of literature forms and patterns to enable better instruction.
Graduates of an associate degree program in child development can work as teachers, teaching assistants or child care workers. As of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), preschool teachers earned an average of $32,500 per year and kindergarten teachers earned an average salary of $54,510 per year. Child care workers include nannies, daycare workers and owners of in-home daycare facilities. As of May 2015, child care workers earned an average of $22,310 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Most states require teachers to be certified and offer certification programs to aspiring teachers. While these programs may permit a student to work as a teacher while pursuing certification, a student cannot continue to work without having been certified. Similarly, each state has regulations for child care workers and licensure of child care facilities that must be fulfilled prior to employment in the field.
While no additional education is required to work as a teacher, childcare worker or teacher's assistant, the National Association for the Education of Young Children offers voluntary continuing education programs. These programs teach child educators about recent developments in the education field specifically as it relates to young children.
Graduates of a child development associate degree program can continue their studies to earn a bachelor's degree in early child development. These programs typically require an additional two years of study, but may also be offered online.
Students can earn an associate degree in child development mostly online, but may need to complete an in-person practicum to prepare for a career as a childcare worker, preschool teacher or kindergarten teacher. These programs train students in child development, psychology and education, and graduates will likely need to obtain state certification for employment.