What Can You Do With An Early Childhood Education Degree

Those considering a career in education who enjoy working with younger children should consider pursuing an early childhood education degree. As we researched the career prospects of early childhood education degree holders, we found a multitude of opportunities at the entry level in addition to multiple avenues for substantial advancement over the course of a career in early childhood education.

Degrees in early childhood education are offered at universities around the country as both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. The coursework required to earn a degree in this field covers a variety of instructional practices based on formal education for young learners as well as psychological and nutritional courses which enable degree holders to assess other aspects of a child's development accurately. Careers for graduates from early childhood education programs are widely available throughout the country and are expected to proliferate in the coming years.

What Is an Early Childhood Education Degree?

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Early childhood education degrees aim to provide graduates with the tools they need to perform a holistic assessment of a young learner's progress and needs both in and outside the classroom and take or recommend a productive course of action thereafter.


A professional in early childhood education will typically focus on the overall development of children from the time of birth until roughly the age of eight. Because early childhood education as a field integrates educational, physical, and social development,

 

professionals in this field will assess the nutrition, peer interaction, and educational attainment of all children with whom they work.

Is There a Need for Professionals With Early Childhood Education Degrees?

There is a widespread and growing demand for childcare professionals throughout the United States. Demand for childcare workers with desirable degrees, like a degree in early childhood education, is projected to grow at an above-average rate for at least another decade. Demand is fairly consistent throughout the country with the most opportunities in low-income urban areas and rural areas.

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The Teacher Shortage


At present, the United States is experiencing a massive teacher shortage in many public schools in almost every state and major city in the country. This being the case, public schools across the country are eager to find and hire professionals with early childhood education degrees to fill teaching positions and other positions in elementary schools. Furthermore, almost half of teachers in American public schools leave the profession within five years, which leaves competent and dedicated teachers in an excellent position for advancement.

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Bilingualism


Demand for bilingual early childhood educators, particularly those who speak Spanish with a reasonable degree of fluency, is on the rise in many parts of the country, especially in California, Texas, Florida,

 and New York. This niche within the early childhood education field is only expected to grow in the coming years; therefore, it would benefit any student pursuing an early childhood education degree to pursue an education in Spanish language and linguistics concurrently.

What Jobs Can I Get With an Early Childhood Education Degree?

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There are numerous careers available for early childhood education professionals in both the public and private sectors. As is the case with most career fields, private sector opportunities tend to offer higher salaries while public sector opportunities are widely available and offer comprehensive benefits and long-term stability. In either sector, there's plenty of room for advancement. We've included a succinct summary of the most common opportunities below.

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Preschool Teacher


Preschool teaching positions are available through private childcare centers and public facilities throughout the country. Preschool teachers often begin by working as a teacher's aide or paraprofessional under the supervision of an experienced teacher who will serve as a mentor while new preschool teachers learn how to organize activities to ensure students are sufficiently prepared to begin kindergarten at the age of five.


Qualification requirements for preschool teachers vary from state to state, but degree holders should qualify for a position in a preschool without issue. Salaries are highly dependent on location but typically fall between $35,000 and $47,000 annually. Education positions in preschools are growing more rapidly than almost any other area in early childhood education.

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Elementary School Teacher


Elementary school teachers with degrees in early childhood education can expect to teach students at any level between kindergarten and fourth grade. In some states, a degree in early childhood education is sufficient to qualify for a teaching license while others may have additional ancillary requirements. Regardless of where in the country a teacher works, his or her responsibilities will include planning lessons, grading assignments, liaising with parents, and contributing to curriculum development.

The demand for teachers in the United States is growing at an above-average rate. Successful applicants to elementary school teaching positions can expect a salary of around $50,000; however, teachers who stick with the profession can ultimately earn upwards of $80,000 later in their careers.

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Educational Administrator


For early childhood education professionals with a greater affinity for the theoretical aspects of the field, administrative positions are a great chance to apply knowledge to the development of an efficacious curriculum for young learners without necessarily spending much time teaching. Administrative positions often require experience in the classroom; however, there are limited administrative positions for which an entry-level applicant may qualify.


Administrative positions with preschools, whether public or private, typically pay less than those at elementary schools. Due to the desirability and profitability of administrative roles in elementary schools, the required qualifications are more rigorous and positions are most often offered to experienced and effective classroom teachers.

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In-Home Service Provider


In-home early education service providers work with an individual or small groups of students in a home environment. Whether that environment is the home of the child or of the service provider is dependent on the business model preferred by the professional in question. Many in-home service providers work through agencies that place them in homes while others essentially operate their own businesses. The services provided generally take the form of projects that cultivate academic skills or promote overall well-being.

Income potential is limited for in-home service providers as children are usually only available during after-school or evening hours. In-home services are more practical as a means of supplementing extant income as annual income rarely exceeds $30,000.

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In-Home Service Provider


In-home early education service providers work with an individual or small groups of students in a home environment. Whether that environment is the home of the child or of the service provider is dependent on the business model preferred by the professional in question. Many in-home service providers work through agencies that place them in homes while others essentially operate their own businesses. The services provided generally take the form of projects that cultivate academic skills or promote overall well-being.

Income potential is limited for in-home service providers as children are usually only available during after-school or evening hours. In-home services are more practical as a means of supplementing extant income as annual income rarely exceeds $30,000.

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Family Support Specialist


Family support specialists are essential liaisons between families experiencing challenges for myriad reasons and the social services available to those families. When a child has a developmental challenge regardless of what spawned that challenge, family support specialists with meet with the family, assess the situation, and suggest a course of action. This process often involves connecting families with resources available through government agencies of which the families were previously unaware.


This type of work typically falls into the purview of social services for a municipal or state government, although some support specialists are employed by private businesses. Salaries are usually between $50,000 and $60,000 annually.

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Sales Representative


Early childhood education degree holders are uniquely qualified to create, improve, and market products that help children improve their skills in numerous areas. Early childhood education sales representatives may work with publishing companies, toy manufacturers, nutritionists, or art supply vendors to propagate products that contribute to the development of young learners in a wide variety of ways.


Professionals with a background in both sales or marketing and education are viable candidates for sales positions of this variety which may offer salaries as high as $70,000.

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Educational Consultant


Experienced professionals in the early childhood education field will frequently have the opportunity to become an educational consultant. Consultants are hired by firms across the country, but many consultants start their own consulting firms and hire subordinates as needed. Some consultants travel to different schools and childcare centers to assess the practices used in the relevant environment and make recommendations to improve the environment or the procedural approach to education. Others advise on potential alterations to curricula or other materials that govern the administration of education.


The average income of an educational consultant depends largely on the experience of the aspirational consultant and the nature of employment. Consultants employed by firms can make as much as $80,000 per year. Self-employed consultants can generate as much revenue as their businesses can handle.

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Researcher


Experienced professionals in the early childhood education field will frequently have the opportunity to become an educational consultant. Consultants are hired by firms across the country, but many consultants start their own consulting firms and hire subordinates as needed. Some consultants travel to different schools and childcare centers to assess the practices used in the relevant environment and make recommendations to improve the environment or the procedural approach to education. Others advise on potential alterations to curricula or other materials that govern the administration of education.


The average income of an educational consultant depends largely on the experience of the aspirational consultant and the nature of employment. Consultants employed by firms can make as much as $80,000 per year. Self-employed consultants can generate as much revenue as their businesses can handle.

Conclusion

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An early childhood education degree, regardless of whether it's a bachelor's or a master's, enables the degree holder to pursue a variety of careers, all of which offer room to grow in the long-term.


The most attractive aspect of early childhood education is the ability professionals have to gain experience in the classroom which can facilitate a mid-career transition to more lucrative careers outside the classroom should the educator prefer to begin a new chapter. However, those committed to their prowess in the classroom stand to increase their salaries substantially as they hone their skills and gain seniority.


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Author: Sandy Mayberry

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