Overview of Online Early Childhood Education Assistant Certificate Programs
Students interested in working with younger children, such as from birth through age 8, can pursue an online early childhood assistant educator certificate or a closely related online certificate, like a teaching assistant certificate with a specialization in early childhood/childhood or an early childhood education certificate. These online certificate programs help equip students with basic teaching concepts and caregiving techniques needed for working with young children. Depending on the certificate program, some may help prepare students for specific state-required teacher assistant certificates and/or professional credentials, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Some programs may enable students to accumulate as much as 120 education hours towards their CDA. Most early childhood education assistant certificate programs can be counted towards an associate's degree in the field.
Some online early childhood education assistant certificate programs may be available fully online and may offer full- and part-time formats. Typically, students can complete instruction in 2 semesters, but some related certificates, like one in early childhood education, may be self-paced and allow students to finish in as little as 1 semester. Students interested in applying to these online certificate programs may need to meet specific requirements, such as obtaining a fingerprint clearance card, having a negative tuberculosis (TB) test, and/or taking prior coursework in algebra.
Requirements for Early Childhood Education Assistant Certificates
Online early childhood education assistant certificate programs help prepare students with the technical skills needed to care for and help educate young children, as well as with the skills needed for professional growth in the field and a foundation in the sciences and liberal arts. Explore the requirements for these certificate programs below.
Online certificate programs in early childhood education assistant generally require between 26 and 33 credits with most, if not all, coursework available completely online. Students usually complete core courses, with some programs offering different course options within the core, and/or some elective courses. Typically, students do take some science, math, and/or English courses along with courses focused on early childhood education. Some programs may also include career-focused courses to help students prepare for their future.
Child development courses examine the normal growth and development of children at each stage from birth through a particular age, such as age 8. Students may discuss different child development theories and assessments, as well as explore topics in the health, physical, and social influences on cognitive development and learning.
Some courses in children's literature may also provide students with an overview of social studies for children, but in general, these courses explore a range of children's literature and techniques for presenting pieces to students. Students in these courses may examine the connection between different literature techniques and materials with language development at different stages, as well as how to meet educational objectives.
Nutrition, Health, and Safety
Courses in nutrition, health, and safety are usually focused on equipping students with the necessary caregiving skills needed to work with young children. Topics for these courses may include recordkeeping, handling food allergies, preventing injuries and illnesses, proper nutrition, and more.
Career Outcomes with a Certificate in Early Childhood Education Assistant
Students who go on to pursue an associate's degree in early childhood education may become preschool teachers, but those with a certificate in the field may be able to work as a teacher assistant or a childcare worker. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), teacher assistants typically need two years of college, but not necessarily a degree. These assistants made a median annual salary of $27,920 as of 2019 and had a job outlook of 4% growth from 2018 to 2028, which was as fast as average, per the BLS. These assistants help lead teachers by enforcing class rules, handling recordkeeping, preparing lessons, and helping children as needed.
Childcare workers are a broader group of professionals that include nannies, childcare center workers, and more. These workers must meet their employer's and state's requirements for working with young children, but in general may need only a minimum of a high school diploma. The BLS reported that as of 2019, childcare workers made a median salary of $24,230 and had a job outlook of 2% from 2018 to 2028, which was slower than average. Childcare workers care for children of various ages, which may include assisting with school work, feeding kids, planning activities, changing diapers, and more.
Online certificate programs in early childhood education assistant can be completed in 2 semesters or less and help prepare students for working with young children. These programs can be completed fully online and may help students prepare for professional certifications/credentials.