Masters in Early Childhood Education

A Masters in early childhood education is a degree that can lead to greater job opportunities and increased salary.  The prerequisite for this degree is a Bachelor’s degree, and the Masters in early childhood education generally takes 2 years to complete.

Some degree programs are designed for currently licensed or certified teachers who want to enhance and improve their existing teaching skills. Other programs are designed for those who are not currently teaching.  Program offerings vary by institution, as do thesis requirements.  Degrees awarded are often a Master of Education (M. Ed.) or a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M. S).  Some institutions offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.).

Masters in Early Childhood Education:  Coursework

Coursework in a Masters in early childhood education program typically covers an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of pedagogy appropriate for very young children.  Childhood development is also emphasized.  Other courses may include early childhood education theory, diversity and multiculturalism in education, technology in early childhood education, child psychology, play theory, and courses in analysis and research.

What Skills are Developed in a Masters in Early Childhood Education Program?

For the student whose undergraduate degree is in early childhood education, the Master’s will build on existing classroom and communication skills, allowing the student to learn more about age-appropriate teaching skills in a variety of topics.  A Masters in early childhood education will improve the students’ abilities to communicate with parents and other administrators, to understand the research as it pertains to trends and issues in early childhood education, and to develop curricula for learning in early childhood.

Masters of Early Childhood Education:  Job Outlook

Many who earn a Masters of Early Childhood Education are currently employed in a public school system, and earning this degree can help them advance in their jobs salary-wise or to advance to new and specialized positions within the school system.  Some job titles that may be available are: educational specialist, behavioral therapist, early intervention specialist, or child care consultant.

Others who hold a Masters in early childhood education might find careers as a childcare or preschool administrator, which is a managerial and human resource position, managing the hiring of staff and helping to shape the curriculum within an early childhood education center.  A Masters of early childhood education may also prepare graduates for a career as a post-secondary education instructor, teaching others the theory behind and practical application of early childhood education.

Masters of Early Childhood Education:  Salaries

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010 the mean annual salary for preschool and childcare administrators was $50,410.  This is the national mean, so of course there will be fluctuations in this figure by region.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the May 2010 mean annual salary for post-secondary education teachers was $64,370.  Again, this is the national mean, so expect variations from this figure.

Healthcare benefits, paid vacations, sick leave, and other benefits are not included in these figures, and these benefits are all things to consider when assessing the salary range for any position.  The bottom line is that a Masters in early childhood education will create new job and salary opportunities for those who hold this degree.

 

Early Childhood Education Degrees

Employer requirements for a career in early childhood education vary by facility and state.  Whether hiring a daycare worker, preschool teacher, or elementary school teacher, though, most employers require at least an associate’s degree in early childhood education.

Teacher licensure requirements vary from state to state, but states typically require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree of early childhood education teachers.  Obtaining early childhood education degrees at the Master’s or Doctoral level will open up further career opportunities and the potential for increased income. More advanced early childhood education degrees can lead to careers outside of the classroom in policy and administration.

Early Childhood Education Degrees: Associate’s

An Associate’s degree, sometimes referred to as a two-year degree, is a course of study that requires at least a high school diploma or a GED as a prerequisite.  Typical coursework is in child growth and development and methodology in teaching of the young child.  Students who earn this degree may work in childcare facilities, day cares, or as teaching assistants.

Early Childhood Education Degrees: Bachelor’s

Public schools, and many private schools, require that those who teach have a bachelor’s degree at the minimum.  Regulations regarding licensure vary from state to state, though.  Early childhood education degrees at the bachelor’s level usually take 4 years to complete, and the prerequisite for this degree is a GED or a high school diploma.  Early childhood education bachelor’s degrees entail general education coursework (typically for the first 2 years of study) followed by courses in early childhood education.  Coursework generally covers classes in classroom issues, psychology, and pedagogy.  Instructional methods for pre-Kindergarten through grade 3 are usually the focus of these degrees.

Early Childhood Education Degrees:  Master’s

A bachelor’s degree is a necessary prerequisite for earning early childhood education degrees at the Master’s level.  Usually, the Master’s degree in early childhood education is an M. Ed. (Master of Education).  Some schools offer the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree as well.  Usually, with the Master’s degree comes a higher salary, and often increased career opportunities.  Coursework for the Master’s of Early Childhood Education develops an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of pedagogy appropriate for very young children.  Childhood development is also emphasized.  The thesis requirement varies by institution, but the degree generally takes about 2 years to earn.

Early Childhood Education Degrees: Doctorate

Following the completion of a Master’s degree, some students may opt to further their studies by earning a Ph. D. in Early Childhood Education.  Just as a Master’s degree opens more career opportunities, a Ph. D. may lead to career opportunities in postsecondary education or administration.  Generally, Ph. D. programs in early childhood education involve intensive and extensive research in the way children learn. Students in these programs study curriculum development and classroom methodology as well as facets of administration and psychology of the learner courses, to name a few.

This degree typically takes 3 to 5 years to complete.  Those who hold the Doctorate in early childhood education may pursue careers in leadership within early childhood education facilities or take jobs shaping policy as it pertains to early childhood education.

 

Early Childhood Education Classes

Coursework in early childhood education generally requires a variety of classes and practical experience. As with any other degree, the type of degree sought will dictate what classes one takes, and early childhood education classes move from the general to the specific as a student earns higher degrees.

Degrees at varying levels will require different early childhood education classes, and what classes are required or offered as electives vary depending on the degree-granting institution. While the requirements for teaching in a public school vary from state to state, all states have some form of licensure requirement that requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and experience in student teaching.

Early Childhood Education Classes:  Associate’s Level

This two year degree generally requires that the student take general classes in child growth and development and methodology in teaching of the young child.  Coursework may include early childhood education classes in child guidance; health, safety, and nutrition; creative activities; and educational technology.  While classes vary by institution, the early childhood education classes one takes for an Associate’s degree in early childhood education are the most general of those required for early childhood education degrees.

Early Childhood Education Classes: Bachelor’s Level

Students in a Bachelor’s of early childhood education program take classes that typically cover classroom issues, psychology, and pedagogy.  Requirements, of course, vary by institution, and requirements also depend upon what prerequisites a student may have completed.  Instructional methods for pre-Kindergarten through grade 3 are usually the focus of this degree, and early childhood education classes may include introduction to teaching; technology and education; teaching classes in specialized areas such as reading, play, arts; and teaching English language learners.

As part of the coursework for a Bachelor’s degree students are typically expected to perform hands-on teaching in the form of a student teaching position.

Early Childhood Education Classes:  Master’s Level

Early childhood education classes at the Master’s level develop an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of pedagogy appropriate for very young children.  Students take classes in childhood development as well as psychology, pedagogy, and often in specialized areas.  The thesis requirement varies by institution, but if the program requires a thesis, the student can expect to take classes that will help them prepare to write the thesis, such as research methodology, documentation, and writing classes.

Early childhood education classes at this level will vary depending upon whether the degree is designed for teachers who already have their certifications or for students who are not yet certified or licensed.

Early Childhood Education Classes:  Doctorate

Students in doctoral programs will take even more specialized early childhood education classes.  In addition to studying curriculum development and classroom methodology, students may also take classes that cover various facets of administration and psychology of the learner courses, to name a few. In preparation for writing a dissertation, early childhood education classes at this level may include statistics, research and methodology classes, writing classes, and classes devoted to special topics or specialized areas of interest that the student may want to include in his or her doctoral research.