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Early childhood education

People who like to work with young children have a number of career options available to them. They may decide to become social workers and work to place children with foster families and adoptive parents. They may work at hospitals and clinics and help young children cope with illness and surgery. Many of them decide they want to become preschool teachers so they can work with a group of young children on a daily basis. Anyone who wants to work with young children as a career would benefit from enrolling in an early childhood education program at a college or university.

Types of early childhood education programs
There are several types of early childhood education programs you can enroll in. The right program for you will depend on your educational goals and objectives, the amount of money you have available to spend on education, and the components of the program. Early childhood education certificate programs are usually several months to one year long and give students instruction in basic early childhood education concepts. This type of program is ideal for someone who wants to start working in a daycare or similar setting. An associate's degree in early childhood education typically involves a two-year program with courses in child development and educational methods. If you want to become a teacher, a bachelor's degree in early childhood education is the right choice. Bachelor's degrees are usually four years long and include coursework in educational methods, curriculum planning, child psychology, and child development. You will need a bachelor's degree if you want to get a teaching license.

If you want to advance in the early childhood education field, you may need to complete a master's degree in early childhood education. Master's degrees are advanced programs that include advanced coursework in pedagogy and child development. You will be expected to complete a master's thesis during this program. Some school systems require that teachers complete a master's degree, while other school systems have pay incentives for completing a master's degree. Finally, a doctoral degree in early childhood education is an advanced program that can lead you to a career as a school director or principal. Students in doctoral programs are expected to complete original research and write a dissertation on an advanced topic.

Applying to early childhood education programs
If you plan on applying to an early childhood education program, the requirements will depend on your level of education. If you want to enter a program right out of high school, admissions committees will review your high school academic record and extracurricular activities that you were involved in. It may help your case if you have experience working with children as a babysitter or camp counselor. Volunteer work is also looked upon favorably by college admissions professionals. If you are entering an advanced degree program in early childhood education, the focus of the admissions committee will be on your professional experience. You may have to submit a resume and recommendations from your employer before you can be considered for one of these early childhood education programs.

Early childhood education programs
Once you've been accepted into an early childhood education program, you'll be required to complete classroom work as well as work in the field. Classroom work often centers around developing lesson plans, working with children, and identifying behavioral and educational issues in children. Field work gives early childhood education students the opportunity to work with teachers and other education professionals in a real educational setting. Students may complete internships or volunteer hours at daycare centers, preschools, or elementary schools in order to fulfill their field work requirements. This gives students the opportunity to work with children and better understand how they learn. The supervisor of a field experience usually completes an evaluation of the student so that opportunities for improvement can be identified and worked on in the classroom.

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