Several schools offer fully online bachelor's degree programs in child development, which can prepare graduates to work in child care management. These programs can prepare graduates to work in the field of child care management. This is not a teacher preparation program, although graduates can enroll in teacher preparation programs afterward.
Students complete general education course requirements and study topics such as family relationships, cultural differences, child advocacy and child and adolescent development. Some programs offer a concentration in administration and management, which teaches students how to start or operate a child care center. Courses cover creating a curriculum and developing a positive atmosphere for learning, as well as business skills such as human resources management and budgets.
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Bachelor's Degree in Child Development
A bachelor's degree program in child development provides a solid foundation of knowledge and practical skills for individuals looking to work with children and adolescents in an educational setting. An education in child development prepares students for a number of career paths, including education, social work, child and adolescent advocacy, child care or special education. Child development professionals work with children and families dealing with developmental issues and educational issues associated with differences in culture, language, gender and socioeconomic status.
Program Information and Requirements
Students should expect to devote four years toward the completion of a bachelor's degree program. Online degree programs are available for students interested in distance learning. Course assignments and materials are maintained through a course management system. Classes may be synchronous, where students are required to sign in at a specified time, or asynchronous, where the materials are available for access according to the student's schedule. Audio, transcripts or videos of classroom formats might be part of the mix, as well as online dialogues, tests, grades and feedback. Communication with instructors and classmates is conducted by methods including e-mail and chat rooms.
A broadband Internet connection, sufficient hard drive space and email memory, plug-ins such as Java and Flash player, plus specific versions of certain software are possible requirements for an online degree program. Having the correct equipment from the outset, including up-to-date video cards and monitors, prevents complications that could interfere with online studies.
In addition to core requirements, students take introductory and advanced courses in the child development major. The curriculum covers pertinent topics, such as developmental stages, the role of family and community, diversity and modern educational practices and philosophies.
Basic Adolescent and Child Development
Students get a comprehensive overview of basic developmental stages occurring from birth through the teenage years. Focus is on analysis of physical motor, emotional, moral, language, cognitive and aesthetic development. Students learn to distinguish between normal and abnormal development.
Relationship Dynamics of Child, Family and Community
This course introduces students to various communication methods, family education, advocacy for family and family participation within the community. Students are taught about the influence of community and family on children's development and learning. Special topics include child abuse and neglect, divorce and death of family members.
Language and Cultural Differences
Supporting educational development of students from various cultural backgrounds is the main focus of this course. The definition of culture is expanded to include gender, family configuration, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language and other individual differences.
A degree program in child development allows graduates to pursue a number of career opportunities in education, social work or child care. According to a 2014 report by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), a little over 25% of child care workers were self-employed, while child day care services employed 24%. Another popular career choice for graduates with a degree in child development is education. Every state requires aspiring public school teachers to complete a teacher education program and be licensed. A six percent growth in employment for kindergarten and elementary teachers between 2014 and 2024 was expected by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
Many other occupations, such as social worker, also require licensing and have specific education requirements. Some states require that child care center directors be licensed, and some say they should hold national certification.
Students who want to work in the field of child care management have the option of enrolling in an online bachelor's degree program in child development. Those who intend to become teachers or social workers will need to seek the relevant licensing and certification requirements after graduating.