Positions to Target with an Early Childhood Education Degree

Janelle Cox
Janelle Cox
M.S. in Education
A kindergarten teacher sits on the floor teaching children in a classroom.

If you enjoy working with children and want to make a lasting impact on their lives, then you may find pursuing a degree in early childhood education a rewarding career choice. An early childhood education degree will prepare you with the skills necessary to contribute to the success of young children. A degree in this field can qualify you for a variety of positions depending upon the type of education degree you earn (associates or bachelor’s). Here are some positions that your early childhood education degree can prepare you to fulfill.

Assistant Teacher

As associates degree in early childhood education can help you land a position as an assistant teacher. An assistant teacher works under the supervision of a licensed teacher usually in a daycare, preschool, or elementary school setting. The typical duties assistants perform are helping teachers prepare lessons, grade papers, reinforce rules, and work with small groups of children.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median wage for assistant teachers is around $28,900 with the lowest ten percent earning about $19,600 and the highest ten percent earning more than approximately $44,000. As far as the projected job outlook, teacher assistant positions are expected to grow about nine percent over the next decade which indicates that opportunities are on the rise.

Childcare Center Director

Teaching isn’t the only job to consider when you have an early childhood degree, childcare and preschool center directors are another option to ponder. As a director you would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the center as well as managing staff, establishing the center’s goals, the curriculum and daily routine, as well as meeting with students and families. Directors also take an active role in preparing budgets, monitoring teacher and student progress, and ensuring policies and state regulations are being followed.

Educational requirements vary but most require a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education as well as a certification in childhood development. The median salary is $49,000 with the top 10 percent earning more than $86,000. Employment is projected to grow 11 percent over the next decade.

Educational Consultant

An early childhood degree can take you to a career outside of the classroom as an educational consultant. Consultants help develop programs, regulations and policies as well as develop tools and strategies to help parents and students. With a bachelor’s degree you can advise public or private school districts or as an independent contractor you can provide services to educational institutions on a contractual basis. The average salary is $61,000 but earning potential increases with your level of educational and experience.

Elementary School Teacher

Earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education as well as obtaining state certification will qualify you to teach preschool age children through second grade or third grade. Elementary teachers are responsible for helping children learn and apply concepts. Some of their duties include creating lesson plans, class schedules, grading assignments, developing and enforcing rules, and supervising children. The BLS puts the median pay rate of elementary teachers at $60,940 as of May 2020, and anticipates the job market to grow seven percent over the next 10 years. A typical elementary school teacher works ten months out of the school year averaging 180 school days with two months off for the summer.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers educate and care for children under the age of five. They teach basic skills, organize activities, develop schedules and routines, as well as help children develop skills through play, problem solving and exploring interests. The educational requirement is typically an associate’s degree with some states also requiring additional license and certifications. They work at public or private schools as well as Head Start or similar programs.

As of 2020, the median wage for a preschool teacher was approximately $31,900. The job outlook for individuals looking to become a preschool teacher is stronger than average, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipating over 50,000 new jobs each year over the next decade as a result for the need to replace teachers who are expected to retire.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a range of learning, social, physical, or emotional delays or disabilities. In this role teachers have an array of responsibilities, such as developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), planning activities that are specific to the students’ abilities, as well as modifying lessons to meet the learners needs. They also work with teachers, specialists, administrators, and parents to discuss updates and change IEP’s.

Early childhood special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and state certification. Some colleges offer dual degrees which combines the specializations of early childhood education and special education. As of May 2020, the median salary for a special education teacher was $61,500 with the projected job outlook to grow eight percent over the next ten years.

Pursuit of a career in early childhood education takes patience and a love for helping young children learn and succeed. Candidates that qualify to teach young children have a range of career opportunities to choose from. Choosing between these varying opportunities will depend upon the individual’s goals and expectations. Nevertheless, prospective candidates will make a difference in the knowledge and education of young children regardless of the position they choose.

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