24 Online Bachelor Degree Programs Available in Early Childhood Education

Why Pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education?

The early years of a child's education are paramount in laying the foundation for the years of schooling to come. People who want to take part in this special time during children's lives may want to consider earning a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.

The right track toward early education... positions
This field of study is rather specific to the realm of academia. It generally encompasses any form of education for children as old as 8. People who choose to enter this field are generally looking to teach children or an administrative role, such as a child care director, counselor or administrator.

While this field encompasses a relatively small range of ages, the degree and licensing required to become a teacher depends on the age or needs of the children you want to work with, as well as the type of school and state in which one teaches. Generally, though, earning a bachelor's degree is essential to becoming an early education teacher.

In all states, Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to hold a bachelor's degree in elementary education, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[i] Additionally, the BLS states that public school teachers need to have a state-issued certification or license. There are even states that require a master's degree on top of a teaching certification.

Private schools, meanwhile, do not demand certification or license from the state, though they typically desire teachers with a bachelor's degree in the field, according to the BLS.i] Special education teachers in public schools are similarly required to have a bachelor's degree as well as state-issued certification, and may choose to receive a focus on special education.[ii]

Preschool teachers, on the other hand, don't always need a bachelor's degree, the BLS states[iii]. Childcare centers may only require a high school diploma and certification to teach early childhood education. Yet, half of Head Start programs require preschool teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field - as do all public schools - and all Head Start programs demand at least an associate's degree of its teachers.

Early childhood education careers
Teaching is the main profession associated with a degree in early childhood education. People who earn a bachelor's degree may be qualified to teach at the preschool, kindergarten or elementary school level. Preschool or childcare center directors often hold bachelor's degrees in this field, though it's not always required. They may also need a Child Development Associate certification, as well as prior experience teaching. From these positions it may be possible to advance to administrative or counseling work.

The pay for jobs in early childhood education
Salaries and job outlook for related positions vary depending on a candidates field of interest and level of education. Generally, though, the field has a positive job outlook. The BLS provides further details:

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teachers: $53,090 (12 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[i]

  • Special education teachers: $55,060 (6 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[ii]

  • Preschool teachers: $27,130 (17 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iii]

  • Preschool and childcare center directors: $43,950 (17 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]

Skills required for early childhood education careers
Teachers and childcare directors generally need to be comfortable interacting with children on a daily basis. That requirement includes patience, an ability to communicate with kids, and the organizational skills to plan lessons and design activities to engage young minds. Additionally, people in these positions must be able to coordinate and communicate effectively with other teachers, administrators and parents.  

[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-1
[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-1
[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm#tab-1
[iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm#tab-1

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