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Early childhood education is a critical intervention for children of all backgrounds. Many experts in child development would argue that the earliest years of life are the most crucial for intellectual, social, and emotional development, particularly for students from disadvantaged homes, underserved populations, or with disabilities and special needs. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, preschool teacher employment is expected to grow by 10%, and preschool and childcare center directors by 11%, between 2010 and 2020, due to the critical need for experienced, well-trained teachers for a growing population.

Those who graduate from early childhood education colleges with an ECE degree have career outcomes including employment as childcare center directors, in preschools, and in the family services sector. Those who graduate from early childhood education colleges learn how to assess a child’s knowledge, can plan instruction, and will learn how to teach in real classroom settings. Moreover, students receiving their bachelor of arts in early childhood education are empowered to become critical thinkers regarding cognitive, social, and physical development of children. Most importantly, early childhood educators develop a real-world understanding of how to collaborate with children and their families in and outside of childcare facilities.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Programs

To rank the best traditional, on-campus early childhood education (ECE) degree programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors did a thorough search of all of the CAEP and NCATE accredited education schools in the nation. That initial pool – more than 500 schools – was then narrowed to those offering early childhood education specializations. Programs were then ranked according to 5 factors:

  • Cost (IPEDs data)
  • Employment Rate (IPEDs data)
  • Graduation Rate (IPEDs data)
  • Reputation (Niche student reviews)
  • Salary Expectation (College Scorecard)

With this comprehensive set of standards, BDC is confident that these 25 colleges and universities represent the very best early childhood education colleges in the US. These programs are most likely to provide graduates not only with quality education, but a real opportunity to make a difference – and a living.

1. Purdue University

Purdue University’s BS in Early Childhood Education and Exceptional Needs is a clearly defined, specialized early childhood education degree program designed for students who want to teach young children with special needs, or take on leadership roles in special education. Students receive thorough education and experience in understanding developmental stages and needs from Pre-K through 3rd grade. One of the best early childhood education bachelor’s in the Midwest, Purdue’s BS prepares students for two Indiana certifications: the Early Childhood Generalist, and the Exceptional Needs licensure.

Purdue University is one of the Midwest’s foremost public research universities, and the flagship of the rapidly expanding Purdue University System. Founded in 1869, Purdue originated as Indiana’s land-grant agriculture and engineering college; however, the land-grant vision to provide educational opportunity to Indiana’s people remains at the heart of Purdue’s mission. As such, Purdue is the state’s leader in professional and technical education, including ECE degree program that makes Purdue one of the best early childhood education colleges in the region.

Degree: BS in Early Childhood Education and Exceptional Needs
Accreditation: NCATE

2. Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University’s BS in Education-Early Childhood Education concentration degree leads to a dual Indiana teaching license for young children (i.e. infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) as well as K-3 classrooms. Graduates are prepared to develop curricula for young learners by building upon education theories taught within the course framework. Indiana University’s early childhood education degree prepares graduates to focus upon each student’s unique needs.

Indiana University Bloomington is a public research school and holds the distinction of being the flagship school of the Indiana University system. IU’s School of Education is a nationally ranked teacher’s school. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits IU’s School of Education and the ECE degree program. Among its outstanding faculty is Rod Paige, a former US Secretary of education. IU’s graduates are regularly named the best teachers in the state of Indiana.

Degree: BSEd in Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: CAEP

3. University of Georgia

The University of Georgia BS in Education-Early Childhood Education concentration prepares graduates as education professionals who wish to teach pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Coursework includes education theory, teaching principles and comprehensive in-class experience. UGA B.S. Ed. degree candidates spend their last semester completing a full-time student teaching clinical-based assignment. The tuition for the early childhood education bachelor’s degree offered by UG differs based upon a student’s residency.

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is a public university and is considered one of three schools who claim to be the oldest public university in the country. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has accredited UGA’s School of Education. The University of Georgia’s north campus is designated as a historic district by the US National Register of Historic Places. The University of George strongly believes in the power of community and designs inclusive interactive programs to support nearby communities. A local focus ensures graduates remain current with local customs by apply cutting-edge educational theories in the ECE degree to real world applications.

Degree: BSEd in Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

4. University of Utah

The College of Social & Behavioral Science offers the University of Utah Early Child Education undergraduate program – a BA or BS in Family, Consumer and Human Development. The coursework for this early childhood education degree includes a solid foundation for those educational professionals who wish to work with children from birth through five years old. The University of Utah’s BA in Early Childhood Education degree coursework includes child development skills, observation and assessment.

The University of Utah, founded in 1850, is the state’s Flagship University. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has accredited U of U’s BA/BS Family, Consumer and Human Development degree, making it one of the top ECE degree programs in the nation. The University of Utah is nationally ranked as one of the most ideologically diverse universities in the country. U of U’s 1,500+-acre campus is home to more than 30,000 students.

Degree: BA/BS Family, Consumer and Human Development – Early Childhood Education emphasis
Accreditation: CAEP

5. California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Fullerton’s BS in Child and Adolescent Development (CAS) provides a concentration in Early Childhood Development (ECD) Option. This undergraduate ECD program complies with the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Professional Standards. Graduates are prepared to apply rich literacy and language classrooms to enhance the early learner’s experience. Students choosing the option for a concentration in Early Childhood Development must complete 42 credit units, in addition to the school’s baccalaureate requirements. CSUF’s early childhood education bachelor’s of science in Child and Adolescent Development offers a Peer Mentoring Program.

California State University, Fullerton was established in 1957 as a small regional college, and today stands as a Hispanic-Serving, major public research university with more than 40,000 students. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits California State University’s undergraduate ECE degree programs. The Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) is a special opportunity for students transferring from a community college to CSU Fullerton. In only 24 months, ITEP students earn both a Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Development and a Credential in Special Education.

Degree: BS Child and Adolescent Development – Early Childhood Development Option
Accreditation: NCATE

6. Clemson University

Clemson University’s BA in Early Childhood Education provides degree graduates more than 90 additional hours of fieldwork than is required by the South Carolina’s licensing board. This undergraduate education program prepares graduates for education careers with children from birth to age 8. The program focuses upon early literacy as well as early mathematical and scientific development. Clemson’s Bachelor of Arts In Early Childhood Education includes the educational areas of language arts, math science, literacy and social studies, among others.

Clemson University was established in 1889 as a land-grant school. In 2016, the US News & World Report ranked Clemson University among the top National Universities. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits Clemson University’s undergraduate education degree program. Clemson University partners with local school districts that offer degree candidates a diverse hands-on experience with different age groups. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education allows graduates to either move forward towards career goals, or to choose to earn their graduate ECE degree.

Degree: BA Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

7. Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University’s BS in Early Childhood Education, offered through their College of Education, Health and Aviation (EHA), prepares graduates to meet the the development and education needs of early learners. Students, upon completion of the Teacher Preparation Program, become certified to teach Pre-K through 3rd grade in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State University offers a unique feature found in only a few early childhood education colleges, a development lab as a model of classroom to test and practice education techniques.

Oklahoma State University, which began as Oklahoma A&M, was established in 1890. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits California State University’s undergraduate ECE degree program. OKState’s EHA program in Early Childhood Education graduates acquire more than 1,200 classroom hours. Additionally, this program is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Degree: BS Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

8. University of South Florida

The University of South Florida’s BS in Early Childhood Education degree comes from their College of Education. Upon completion of the USF’s state-sanctioned program, graduates are eligible to apply for a Florida teaching license for Early Childhood Education which allows them to teach students from pre-K through 3rd grade. Graduates can also attain their ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Endorsement in addition to their degree. An early childhood education degree from the University of South Florida can be completed in a 5-semester program format, that is, if a student chooses to follow the cohort model.

The University of South Florida was established in 1956. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits the University of South Florida’s undergraduate ECE degree program. USF has been acknowledged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Tuition for the USF Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education differs and is contingent upon the student’s state of residency. Students in the Early Childhood Education program participate in three levels of field experiences prior to a final internship

Degree: BS Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

9. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University’s BS in Early Childhood (BSEC) degree is a part of their department for Human Development and Family Studies. Coursework for this degree includes childhood teaching methods as well as the many facets of education that impact early learners. These include patterns of cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development. Students graduate ready to take the Early Childhood certification examination. Texas Tech’s Early Childhood education degree program encourages students to choose a focus that will allow them to move towards the specific populations they wish to teach.

Texas Tech University, established in 1923 in Lubbock, TX, is the flagship university of the Texas Tech University system. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits Texas Tech’s undergraduate ECE degree program. In 2016, the US News & World Report ranked TTU, among the top tier of national public research universities. The Museum of Texas Tech University is home to more than 3 million objects as well as the Moody Planetarium.

Degree: BS Early Childhood
Accreditation: NCATE

10. University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming’s interdisciplinary early childhood education program from the Colleges of Agriculture and Education prepare graduates to educate infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. However, this program is not a degree program; it is an endorsement program available to both post-baccalaureate and undergraduate students. UW’s endorsement program does not certify one to teach in public school kindergarten programs or primary grades. The University of Wyoming offers cost-effective options for in-state residents when compared to other early childhood education colleges.

The University of Wyoming was established in 1886 – 4 years before Wyoming became a state. As the state’s only comprehensive research university, the University of Wyoming is critical to every aspect of the state’s professional and technical education, including early childhood education degrees. The ECE degree endorsement program’s coursework includes a 6-hour internship, which is followed by an assessment to determine the student’s performance against Wyoming’s Professional Teaching Standards Board guidelines. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits the University of Wyoming.

Degree: BS Birth to Five Endorsement
Accreditation: NCATE

11. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut BS in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) is a program offered through their Human Development and Family Studies division This early childhood education bachelor’s program prepares graduates for careers as a preschool, infant, toddler, Head Start, and Early Head Start educator. UConn’s Early Childhood Development and Education coursework includes an opportunity to work with working professionals through integrative internships. UConn’s early childhood education degree provides a student the chance to earn degree credits while experiencing real-world classroom experiences.

The University of Connecticut’s was established in 1881. The 4,400-acre campus is home to nearly 27,000 students. UConn holds the distinction as the best public national university in all of New England. Money Magazine ranks UConn 18th in terms of value and is recognized as a ‘Public Ivy’ school on par with its Ivy League neighbors. UConn student retention-rates rank among the nation’s top public schools. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has accredited the University of Connecticut’s ECE degree program.

Degree: BS Human Development and Family Studies – Early Childhood Development and Education
Accreditation: NCATE

12. University of North Texas

The College of Education offers the University of North Texas Early Childhood Education degree through Grade 6 (EC-6) as a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. Students can opt to reach for a specialized certification in the areas of Bilingual Supplemental Certification, ESL Supplemental Certification or Special Education for EC-12 Certification. The degree requires the completion of approximately 120 semester hours, depending upon the selected teacher’s certification. UNT’s early childhood education bachelor’s degree program develops quality educators, as they must pass a rigorous curriculum to earn their degree.

The University of North Texas was established in 1890. It is located near the Dallas/Fort Worth area on an 875-acre campus. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has accredited UNT’s undergraduate ECE degree programs. The University of North Texas’ tuition varies depending upon a student’s residency at application. Nearly 60% of undergrads benefit from needs-based aid, with an average award of $8,800.

Degree: BS Interdisciplinary Studies – EC-6
Accreditation: CAEP

13. City College of New York

The City College of New York’s undergraduate Early Childhood Education degree program is a state-sanctioned teacher’s education degree. Graduates of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program receive a BS-ECE degree from the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education. Additionally, graduates receive a recommendation by the School of Education to the New York State Teacher Certification board. The ECE degree program’s objective is to foster insightful professional growth of all degree candidates. CCNY’s early childhood education bachelor’s degree program candidates partake in a semester-long internship that focuses upon two different early childhood classroom opportunities.

The City College of New York was established in 1847 and is a part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has accredited the City College of New York. CCNY has graduated 10 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Rhodes Scholars, and 3 Pulitzer Prize winners. CCNY holds the distinction of being the first free school of higher learning in the United States.

Degree: Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies – Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

14. University of North Dakota

For students in the Upper Midwest, the University of North Dakota’s BS Ed Early Childhood Education makes graduates eligible for licensure to teach in North Dakota. They must pass state licensure exams, have an overall GPA of at least 2.75, meet state requirements, and pass background checks. Career outcomes include working in as an administrator, childcare center director, in childcare centers, in education centers, at an Early Head Start, and in public schools through third grade. Those exploring their early childhood education degree could take courses including Early Language & Literacy Development, Social Emotional Development, and Guidance of Children, and Education of the Exceptional Student.

The University of North Dakota university was founded in 1883 as a public institution serving the Dakota Territory several years before that land was divided into North and South Dakota. Ranked among the best public research institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, UND’s motto is, “Lux et Lex,” which is Latin for, “Light and Law.” According to the university’s research, 93% of graduating students continue their education or find employment – a number that reflects the quality of programs like the early childhood education bachelor’s (ECE) degree.

Degree: BSEd Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

15. University of Oklahoma

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education offers the University of Oklahoma’s Bachelor in Early Childhood Education for students to not only gain field experience but also technological skills. ECE degree graduates have the necessary foundations for working in a child development institute, early education classroom, or preschool. Examples of courses can include Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education, Social Emotional Learning and Child Guidance, and Injury-Based Science Teaching.

The University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890 as the Oklahoma and Indian Territories’ primary public college. Today, with more than 30,000 students, U of O remains crucial to professional education in the state, with Oklahoma’s critical medicine, law, and education schools. Their core values include agility, accountability, civil dialogue, collaboration, equity, integrity, and mutual respect, all of which inform the Rainbolt College of Education and Oklahoma’s early childhood education college degree program.

Degree: Bachelor in Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

16. Florida International University

Obtaining Florida International University’s BS Early Childhood Education through the College of Arts, Sciences & Education prepares students for careers in child development, childcare, and early education for children from birth to age five. Courses could include assessing techniques, classroom management, children with special needs, cultural diversity, family engagement, and literacy development. Those who graduate from FIU’s early childhood education college degree program have career outcomes including employment as childcare center directors, in preschools, and in the family services sector.

FIU began in 1972 as a public institution, with the intention of serving the people of the rapidly growing Miami metropolitan area, which had no public university. Ranked a top 100 public university by U.S. News and World Report, FIU is one of the fastest-growing, and already one of the largest, universities in the nation. They’re earned the motto “Where tomorrow begins,” and that could easily be the motto for the BS in Early Childhood Education degree program as well.

Degree: BS Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: CAEP

17. University of Houston

The University of Houston’s BS in Teaching & Learning – EC-6 certification, from the College of Education, also offers opportunities for learning special education teaching. It typically takes four years to complete a degree program. Those who earn their ECE degree can explore many career opportunities. For example, those graduating with an early childhood education degree can receive certifications in Texas for Early Childhood (EC)-6th-grade Generalist, EC-6 Bilingual Generalist, or English, Language Arts, and Reading (ELAR) 4-8.

The University of Houston began humbly in 1927 as a junior college with night classes, but today, with the growth of metropolitan Houston, it’s one of Texas’ largest and most admired research universities. With a mission of service and diversity, UH has become a leader in nearly every area of professional education in the state of Texas, including its exceptional College of Education, one of the best in the nation. The Early Childhood Education college degree programs keeps that mission for generations to come.

Degree: BS Teaching & Learning – EC-6 certification
Accreditation: CAEP

18. University of Nebraska At Omaha

The College of Education offers the University of Nebraska at Omaha BS in Early Childhood Inclusive Education to help prospective teachers receive their teaching certificates. Students who wish to receive certification to teach children from birth to age 3 or age 3 until grade 3 will find the early childhood education bachelor’s ideal. Students will grasp concepts surrounding social-curricular understanding, early childhood education policy, and infant and toddler well-being. Those attending will receive preparation to meet requirements under the Nebraska Department of Education’s teacher certification requirements.

Founded as a Presbyterian seminary in 1908, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s became a public college in 1930, eventually growing into a comprehensive doctoral research university. Today, they play a key role in regional education for the Omaha metro area, and for the state of Oklahoma in general, with a strong reputation for meeting the needs of a diverse student body. With the #KnowTheO campaign, UNO is highlighting their uniqueness and significance, and the maverick spirit that makes UNO’s programs, including the early childhood education bachelor’s, just right for Nebraska.

Degree: BS Early Childhood Inclusive Education
Accreditation: NCATE

19. University of Alabama in Huntsville

The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s BS in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education, from the UAH College of Education will set you on the right path. Those who participate in this program will be eligible to apply for teaching certificates in Alabama Class B Early Childhood and Class B Early Childhood Special Education. Those graduating with an early childhood education bachelor’s degrees will have taken courses including Technology in the Classroom, Teaching Elementary Language Arts, Behavior Analysis and Intervention.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Education receives its accreditation by the NCATE, National Association of the State Directors of Teacher Education. UAH in 1950, initially just as an evening continuing education and extension campus, until NASA came calling in Huntsville. With the need for well-trained engineers and technicians, UAH expanded into a major public research university, building a reputation for academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and diversity that makes UAH stand out in the Deep South. One of the best early childhood education colleges ensures that educational opportunity is extended to Alabama’s youngest citizens through their excellent ECE degree.

Degree: B.S. in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education
Accreditation: NCATE

20. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The acclaimed Cato College of Education offers the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s BA in Child and Family Development. Students of the bachelor of arts in early childhood education will receive preparation for working in settings involving infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and those in kindergarten. Students will also gain qualifications for working with students with special needs, as well as advocating for their families. Career outcomes include working for adoption agencies, community centers, youth service agencies, government agencies, foster agencies, Montessori schools, and women’s protective services.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Cato College of Education receives its accreditation by NCATE. The university was initially founded in 1946 as a public institution, and has grown immensely as it has worked to meet the needs of one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the South. With a steadily rising ranking in national publications, UNC Charlotte has built its name on providing for North Carolina’s people, including one of the best ECE degree programs in the state.

Degree: BA Child and Family Development
Accreditation: NCATE

21. Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University’s BS in Early Childhood Education degree program consists of 126 credit hours and will provide students with the necessary framework for embarking upon a career in early childhood education. Coursework could include Principles of Communication Studies, Methods of Teaching Kindergarten Children, and Strategies and Procedures for Serving Young Children with Special Needs. Graduates can either pursue a career working with children or continue their education so they can earn their graduate ECE degree or other certificates.

Founded in 1894, Louisiana Tech’s original mission was to prepare workers for the growing industrial sector in the Deep South, but as time has passed, La Tech has developed into a public research institution crucial to the state’s professional workforce. The university’s mission is to provide high-quality teaching, research, public service, and activity experiences to students and faculty. They believe that it’s this approach that helps students maintain a challenging, diverse, and safe learning environment, including one of the best early childhood education colleges in the region.

Degree: BS Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: CAEP

22. California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge’s BA in Child and Adolescent Development-Early Childhood Development through their Department of Child and Adolescent Development. Students will receive a comprehensive educational experience encompassing coursework embodying human development from conception to early childhood. Students can choose to pursue degree work in Early Childhood Development or Applied Developmental Science. Each ECE degree program utilizes research and evidence-based knowledge.

California State University, Northridge became in independent university in 1958, after some time as a CSU extension campus. Ranked among the top Regional Universities West according to U.S. News and World Report, CSUN is California’s third-largest university and a major contributor to every industry including education. More that two dozen teacher certifications keep Los Angeles and Orange County’s schools well-supplied with capable educators, including the early childhood education bachelor’s program.

Degree: BA Child and Adolescent Development – Early Childhood Development
Accreditation: NCATE

23. Hunter College (CUNY)

The BA in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) College of Education offers students opportunities to learn how to work in urban settings but they’ll also receive qualifications to learn how to work in many other disciplines. Those participating in this degree program will complete fieldwork in New York Public Schools. Students can complete their coursework over four or six semesters. Those graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (ECE degree) will have the necessary qualifications to receive certification and work in New York public schools.

Hunter College began in 1870 as a normal schools (teacher’s college) for women, and its original mission remains much the same – exceptional education for people of all backgrounds, to serve the communities of New York City. According to U.S. World News and Report, Hunter is one of the top 10 public colleges in the nation. Their motto, “Mihi cura futuri,” means, “The care of the future is mine,” and Hunter College has embodied that mission for nearly a century and a half, including one of the best bachelor of arts in early childhood education to be found anywhere.

Degree: BA Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

24. Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’s BS in Early Childhood Education is designed for those who have a passion in teaching children. Students who would like to work in an urban environment will find this program ideal. ECE degree students can select between a non-licensure and licensure program. Those selecting the non-licensure program can work in educational settings with children from birth to pre-K; those who opt for the licensure program can work with children from pre-K to grade 3.

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis is one of the most unique urban research universities of its kind, founded in 1969 with the merger of two universities’ Indianapolis extension campuses. That choice to join forces has made IUPUI one of the fastest-growing and most innovative institutions in the nation, with a special focus on the needs of working adults, urban students, and nontraditional college students, especially a diverse student body from underserved populations. IUPUI is transforming education one student at a time, a mission that early childhood education degree graduates will bring to the youngest students in Indiana.

Degree: BS Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: CAEP

25. University of Kansas

The University of Kansas BS in Education Unified Early Childhood Education program comes from one of the top early childhood education colleges in the nation. This early childhood education bachelor’s program is designed for teachers in inclusive pre-K classrooms, including students with disabilities and special needs. KU puts a premium on practical experiences, with field experiences throughout the program tied closely to the theory and research learned in the classroom. The BSEd also prepares students for Kansas teacher certification at the same time.

The University of Kansas is the flagship of Sunflower State and one of the finest public research institutions in the Midwest. KU is especially crucial to teacher education for Kansas, which is why the School of Education has developed into a nationally-accredited powerhouse. U.S. News ranks KU at the top for special education, and a top 10 education school. Students also join the student-led Kansas National Education Association for networking and support.

Degree: BSEd Unified Early Childhood Education
Accreditation: NCATE

What is the Purpose of Early Childhood Education?

An early childhood education degree will not only assist with the retention of a fulfilling teaching job, but also makes a positive impact on the community. Students enrolled in early childhood education programs have demonstrated the ability to show marked improvements in their future academic achievements, educational progression, and behavior, according to research compiled by a 2005 study from the RAND Corporation.

An early childhood education degree prepares an educator for handling the developmental and scholastic needs of young children. Developmental milestones from birth to the age of five are researched and discussed alongside signs of developmental delays. In the past, early childhood education bachelor’s degree holders typically pursued teaching jobs at childcare centers. However, the value of the degree has risen in recent years with more job opportunities available.

The National Education Association has advocated for more public school Pre-K programs as a number of multi-year studies proves early childhood education sets up children for future scholastic success, particularly youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds. An early childhood bachelor’s degree program not only prepares teachers for classroom work, but also demonstrates how to teach kids through hands-on experiences.

What Are Some Early Childhood Education Degree Requirements?

Most colleges and universities will have similar early childhood education degree requirements. At a minimum to graduate, students will need to earn a total of 120 credit hours (sometimes higher for extra specializations, like special education or ESOL). A general education component is included in a school’s bachelor degree in early childhood education requirements. General education classes will include courses in mathematics, humanities, communications, social sciences, and technology.

Once students start to take specialized classes toward their early childhood education bachelor’s degree, courses may include Early Childhood Development, Language Development, Early Childhood Assessments and Interventions, Health and Safety for Young Children, and Curriculum for Early Childhood Education. For any of the bachelor degree in early childhood education requirements, classes will focus on teaching children from preschool age to third grade. Unlike an associate degree in early childhood education, a bachelor degree is a pre-requisite for a teaching license to work at a public school setting.

What Can I Do with an Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s?

Due to the availability of a large number of early childhood degree jobs, graduates have an abundance of career options. Early childhood jobs include a preschool teacher, teacher assistant, special education teacher assistant, and childcare worker. The degree allows for a number of advancement opportunities in the field of childcare. For instance, graduates will meet the eligible educational requirements for early childhood director jobs. Directors of childcare centers are responsible for the retention and dismissal of all staff, scheduling, policy enforcement, budgeting, and more. Directors can run their own independent childcare centers or be employed at franchise childcare facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool and childcare center directors make a median wage of $46,890 annually. Tutors and nannies will also pursue early childhood education jobs to make themselves more marketable to potential employers.

Do I Need a Certification to Work in Early Childhood Education?

The type of position a graduate wishes to obtain in the field of education dictates if any certification is required. An early childhood education certificate is mandated for teachers in childcare centers and preschools. State requirements vary but many recognize early childhood certification programs such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) and the National Child Care Association’s Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credentials.

For teaching jobs in public schools, a license is required by the state. Early childhood education certification programs are also used for the professional development of current teachers. Certificate program topics could focus on early childhood literacy, science and technology for young children, early childhood education for ESL, and special education practices.

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