Becoming an Early Childhood Education Teacher

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education Teacher

Teachers are some of the most important people in anyone's life. The teachers that you grow up with can shape your entire future, helping you find a dream to chase and teaching you about the wonders of the world. This is why early childhood education teachers are arguably some of the most important teachers out there. While it's difficult to nail down the exact age range that constitutes early childhood, these specialist educators work with students elementary-school-aged and younger. Because the students are so young, teachers have to make sure schedules include enough time for physical activity, rest and play in addition to the time needed for instruction. The children are taught a wide range of concepts with lessons tailored for their age. Early childhood education teachers must also promote proper behavior and socialization between students and watch for students showing signs of burgeoning developmental issues, catching any problems early. Keeping track of a classroom (or entire playground) full of active children takes a lot of energy − and patience − two qualities early childhood educators must have in good supply.

How to Become an Early Childhood Education Teacher

Apart from energy, the exact early childhood education teacher requirements vary depending on the age and grade level of the students, educational setting and state requirements. Early childhood education positions require teachers to have earned anything from a high school diploma up to a bachelor's degree in the subject with every combination in between. For example:

  • Childcare professionals typically need a high school diploma and certification in early childhood education
  • Preschool teachers in a Head Start program must have at least an associate degree
  • Public school teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or closely related field

Positions sometimes also require teachers to have a nationally recognized certification like the Council for Professional Recognition's Child Development Associate (CDA) or the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation's Child Care Professional (CCP) designation. In the case of an educator having a degree in a related field, relevant work experience may be required in lieu of early childhood teacher education to prove proficiency.

Career Earnings

Early childhood education teacher salary can vary dramatically based on schooling, experience and career path within the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the bottom end of the pay scale for early childhood educators, childcare workers made a mean annual salary of $21,310 in 2012. Preschool and kindergarten teachers earned annual mean wages of $30,750 and $53,030, respectively the same year. Elementary school teachers earned $56,130 nationwide, according to May 2012 data. The BLS reports that the demand for early childhood educators is growing, with an expected 25 percent increase nationwide in positions for preschool teachers, 18 percent increase for kindergarten teachers and 17 percent increase for elementary school teachers between 2010 and 2020.

If you'd like to learn more about the various educational options that have potential for this career, click on one of the schools below. Someone should contact you with more information and answer any questions you might have.

Sources:

  1. Childcare Workers, Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012), http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm
  2. Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education, Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012), http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
  3. Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm
  4. Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education, Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012), http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
  5. Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education, Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012), http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
  6. Preschool Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm

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B.S. in Early Childhood
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MS Ed - Early Childhood Education Studies
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PhD in Education - Early Childhood Special Education
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Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education*
  • Topped the list as Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report in 2019.
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BA: Elementary Education
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  • Saint Leo offers a 14:1 Student-Teacher Ratio to ensure you get the personal attention you deserve.
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