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Online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Resource

Earning an early childhood education degree will prepare you for a rewarding career teaching young children, ranging in age from birth to eight or nine years old, which is traditionally about 3rd grade. Early childhood educators play a critical role in their students’ lives; they lay the foundation for a lifetime love of learning. They may also be expected to identify and instruct children with special needs, learning disabilities or developmental delays. The ideal candidate for an early childhood education job will be service oriented, with good communication and active listening skills. The job requires dependability, integrity and adaptability. Many schools offer an early childhood education degree online, which allow a student to study on their own time and at their own pace, often while maintaining regular employment.

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How to Become an Early Childhood Teacher

Each state requires early childhood educators to have a bachelor’s degree and certification from a traditional or alternative teacher preparation program, and certification requirements vary from state to state. Some new teachers receive support from a mentoring program during their first year on the job.

Teacher Quote: “You should only choose education as your career if you are willing to put your whole self into it; don’t do it if you are just halfway in. You will have a classroom full of children depending on you to teach and care for them. For some, you will be all they have. You must be willing to go the extra mile for them and you must love what you do in order to make that happen.” -April Larremore, Texas Kindergarten Teacher

Early Childhood Education Degree Requirements and Coursework

Coursework for a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education may include classes in language and literacy, child growth and development, equity and cultural diversity, curriculum design and theories in instruction. Most early childhood education programs will also require some student teaching.

Early childhood education degree programs are typically formatted to give pre-service teachers a specialist education in working with Pre-K to Grade 6. This degree is a good fit for students who wish to teach at these grade levels and achieve state-level certification. Many programs offer coursework leading to specialist endorsements in such areas as reading, English as a second language, and special education.

Typical classes in a early education degree program may include:

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Language Development in Early Childhood
  • Beginning Literacy
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Education
  • Language Arts and Reading for Early Childhood
  • Science for Young Children
  • Child Health and Safety
  • Student Teaching and Professional Practicum

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Early Childhood Education Degrees and Certification

Completing an early childhood education degree program will qualify you to seek a number of positions in both public and private schools. Daycare centers, preschools or kindergartens are the most common places of employment for those with a degree in early childhood education. Salary ranges widely, depending upon what kind of setting an educator works in. The median annual wage for preschool teachers is $23,870, while daycare workers earn a median salary of $33,300. The median annual salary for kindergarten teachers is $50,380.

Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education prepares an instructor to teach small children, including infants and small children up to the third grade. They help children develop social, personal and academic skills to properly prepare them for upper levels of education. These teachers must prepare children for higher educational standards which are constantly changing and improving. These teachers are not only educators, but are also caregivers who care for small children in their parents’ absence and must have a natural affection for working with children. Self-motivation, creativity, patience, a love of teaching and the ability to demonstrate cooperation are attributes that complement this career. Teachers learn how to create a safe, educational and caring environment where children are able to maximize potential and achieve or surpass learning milestones and set goals.

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Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Students graduating with a master’s degree in early childhood education are prepared to work as a teacher in elementary school settings, teaching Pre-K through third grade. These candidates will have completed a bachelor’s degree, which does not necessarily have to be in an educational field; however, many universities only offer early childhood education degree programs to graduate students who are certified to teach in either elementary or secondary school. Many online degree programs offer master’s degrees in early childhood education. An early childhood education career requires a love of learning, a passion for teaching and children, patience to work with small children, and the subject matter knowledge required to complete the coursework and teach at the Pre-K-3 level.

Early Childhood Education Degree Online

Students can also pursue an online degree in early childhood education. An online early childhood education degree program can offer additional flexibility of time and place for individuals who prefer this option. Online education continues to improve with innovations like live streaming virtual classrooms with video conferencing and use of interactive social technologies that allow collaboration and discussion with classmates.

Profiles of Early Childhood Education Programs

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University offers an Early Childhood generalist certification program for teacher certification in elementary school to Grade 6. An intensive series of field placements that give students an active role in actual classrooms are built around blocks of methods-based learning for classroom and learning management. Students admitted to the program receive personalized advising throughout the program, with one-on-one advising sessions scheduled at least once per semester. All College of Education students have access to financial assistance packages, global education experiences, and personalized learning communities, including an undergraduate peer mentor program for academically talented pre-service teachers. An Education Career Fair is held once per semester to give students the opportunity to network with potential employers. As the largest producer of teachers in high-demand fields in the state of Texas, Texas A&M University can give “Aggie” graduates a competitive edge in the career marketplace.

University of Central Florida
The College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development and Education that leads to teacher certification for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3. The program track includes the ESOL and Reading Endorsements in line with the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP). Field experiences begin early in the course sequencing, integrating theory and practice learned in the classroom in real school settings. Student reflection is encouraged through a continuously faculty-reviewed personal Professional Portfolio. The program curriculum emphasizes the creation of safe and nurturing environments for all young children in education partnerships with family and the community. Although this degree is not a fully online degree, many classes are offered in hybrid classroom/online formats, and select courses are delivered through online instruction. In addition to school-wide scholarships, the College of Education and Human Performance offers several scholarships that are only available to Early Childhood Development and Education students.

Kent State University
Kent State University’s Early Childhood Education program leads to the award of a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (ECED). Field experience is heavily emphasized in the curriculum, with field placements and teaching experiences occurring in classroom settings at the Pre-K and K-3 levels. The ECED program holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Ohio State Department of Education. The College of Education, Health, and Human Services at Kent State is also a member of the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching, which offers overseas student teaching placements to qualified students. Program graduates may be interested in earning a second license or endorsement through one of Kent State University’s numerous other education programs. An Early Childhood Generalist Endorsement for Grades 4-5 may be added to the P-3 Teaching License after Block IV of the ECED program is completed; the Grades 4-5 endorsement is an online program.

Top 50 Early Childhood Education Blogs

See our list with reviews of over 50 top early childhood education blogs that provide an inside look into the classrooms and thoughts of current early childhood education teachers.

Interviews with Early Childhood Education Teachers

See our teacher career interview series to read our interviews with current teachers who share their experiences, insights, and advice for early childhood education teachers.

Early Childhood Development Degrees and Programs

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Early Childhood Education Program Student Reviews

Student Review: “The Teacher Education Program at Auburn University gave me a wonderful and very rewarding college experience. All of the classes leading up to being accepted in the program taught me so much about the teaching field and the classes taken after being accepted into the Early Childhood Education program gave me a plethora of classroom experience. I enjoyed being in a Cohort. This Cohort gave me the opportunity to go through my college experience with other students my age who had the same career goals as I did. Auburn University will not allow a student to graduate from the College of Education unless they have a certain number of hours in a public school classroom setting. I believe this is a great policy because I learned more from my student teaching than I did from my university classes. The supervisors were always helpful to me and my fellow students. Overall, Auburn University has made me very confident in my abilities to succeed as a classroom teacher. The only thing that could have been better was the communication between my adviser and myself. Sometimes there would be confusion and often the adviser would not clear the confusion.” -Jessica W., Early Childhood Education student at Auburn University

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How long does it take to complete an early childhood education degree program?

Answer: Most early childhood education degree programs are four year undergraduate degrees that lead to teaching certification. In most cases, these programs can be completed in 4 to 6 years. Students that already hold an associate’s degree in another field may be able to complete the degree in less time under a transfer program.

Question: Can I earn an early childhood education degree online?

Answer: Early childhood education degrees typically involve intensive field work to qualify students for state-level teacher education, but in many cases the required courses are offered in online or hybrid formats to give flexibility to working professionals.

Question: What are the typical admission requirements for a degree in early childhood education?

Answer: Students are usually admitted to early childhood education programs after completing one to two years of general coursework in the liberal arts and maintaining a minimum GPA. You can check with schools in your area and online for the best fit based on your past education and experience.

Question: Is teacher certification automatically awarded with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education?

Answer: In most cases, teacher certification is based on passing state-level certification exams after earning a bachelor’s degree. However, there are alternative pathways to certification. The State Board of Education in your state can provide answers on the best way to become certified in your circumstances.