Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Courses, career paths and expert advice for teaching young learners

Early childhood educators play an integral role in the social and cognitive development of children. Early childhood degree programs provide future teachers with a theoretical foundation in child development as well as hands-on experience in the classroom. Explore degree programs and potential careers in early childhood education in this guide. It includes information on what to look for in a program, what courses students can expect to take, and the relevant job growth and salary data.

Meet the Expert
expert
Michelle Bauml, PhD Read More

Best Early Childhood Education Programs: 2017 Rankings

While there are many early childhood education degree programs available, some provide more value to students than others. To help students make good choices, we have ranked schools based on the quality of their faculty members and campus facilities, strength of student-teacher ratios, and affordability of tuition. Follow the link below to review the best programs for early childhood education.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1McDowell Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.79
Read more

McDowell Technical College is an excellent choice for students to study a career in early childhood education while receiving the area-specific information needed to excel in the field. Students can earn credentials in early childhood education at the associate, certificate and diploma level upon successful program completion. Students may also receive supplemental information through the online learning portal, Blackboard. MTC also participates in several programs to help fund students’ education including scholarships, employment opportunities on campus, scholarships and student loans.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2Sinclair College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
28%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.64
Read more

The early childhood education program at Sinclair College is designed to provide students with various approaches, skill and strategies to effectively work with young children. Students can be sure that they are receiving quality academics since the program meets the requirements set forth by the Ohio Department of Education to meet Prekindergarten Associate Teacher Licensure standards. Students can expect to learn how to build effective curriculum, apply learning techniques, observe and support young children and families. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to begin an entry-level career in the field or continue their education at a four-year institution.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3Santa Fe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.16
Read more

An education earned at Santa Fe Community College is an invaluable commodity for any student interested in achieving their career goals. Student with a specific interest in early childhood education will have a number of programs to consider. An associate of applied science degree will prepare students for immediate entry into the workforce after they have completed their two years of study. Earning an associate of arts in early childhood education can lead to transferring into a four-year bachelor’s program in the same field. These degrees will instill a comprehensive understanding of child development and teaching tactics that will guarantee success in any student’s future.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4Truckee Meadows Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.85
Read more

Truckee Meadows Community College offers both an associate of arts and an associate of applied science in early childhood education that will prepare for students to work with children from kindergarten to sixth grade. TMCC has transfer agreements with multiple in-state schools, including the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Students who complete an associate of arts degree have the option to follow these transfer agreements and progress immediately into the second two years of their bachelor’s programs at one of these institutions. TMCC’s academic advisement office provides students with the support necessary to stay on track throughout their degree program.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5Delaware Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.13
Read more

Earning an associate degree in early childhood development from Delaware Technical Community College will prepare students for a fulfilling career working with children in the K-6th grade age groups. Curriculum will cover principles in childhood development, curricular development, and techniques to properly manage a classroom setting. DTCC is comprised of four campuses throughout the Delaware area, three at which students will be able to complete the program requirements for the early childhood development degree. DTCC encourages its students to be active and participatory members of their academic community, and hosts a wide variety of student-operated organizations.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.99
Read more

For more than fifty years, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been providing students from all backgrounds with the opportunity to earn a college education at an affordable rate. RCCC offers an associate degree program with an emphasis in early childhood education, among a wide variety of other associate degree emphases. Whether students are interested in pursuing a two-year vocational program and starting their career as soon as they’ve graduated, or they are planning on transferring to an upper-level institution of higher education to pursue a bachelor’s degree, students will find the program that best fits their interests and career aspirations.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7New Mexico Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
34%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.90
Read more

New Mexico Junior College offers a wide selection of associate degree and certificate programs, including an associate of arts degree with an emphasis in early childhood education. As a transferable degree, students will take courses that may be honored at other institutions of higher education, ensuring that students will not need to retake any previously completed courses. In addition to completing their associate’s degree, students are often able to complete a corresponding certificate that fits into their full degree program, allowing for specific emphases and licensure opportunities to be utilized. Most programs available at NMJC can be completed in as few as two years, and cheap tuition rates make earning a college education a manageable endeavor.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8Forsyth Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.62
Read more

Earning an associate of applied science degree with an emphasis in early childhood education from Forsyth Technical Community College provides students with a number of benefits: tuition rates and cost-per-credit is far cheaper than regional four-year schools; students will have the option to enter into the workforce after just two years of learning; and students will open up a large selection of career opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. Students will be working with children up to twelve years of age, and will be taught how to properly manage classrooms and develop early childhood curricular plans.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9Durham Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.61
Read more

Whether students are interested in assisting in kindergarten education settings, or they’re planning on achieving a career working with later elementary-aged children, the completion of Durham Technical Community College’s associate degree in early childhood education will act as a key stepping stone for students to meet their goals. Through this program, students will develop necessary skills in working with children up to age twelve, including understanding communication and motor skills, as well as the necessary creative development in children of this age group. Hands-on learning opportunities will prepare students for the everyday tasks that they will be facing in their future careers.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10Western Nebraska Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.23
Read more

With degree programs ranging from transferable associate of arts and associate of science degrees, to vocational associate of applied science degrees, to a wide selection of certificate programs, students will have the chance to explore their interests and find the programs that best fits the goals they have set for their future. Students interested in early childhood education may pursue any of these programs, leading to a variety of career and educational opportunities. Early childhood education students will prepare to work with elementary-level children, and will develop their skills in communication and developmental facilitation.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11Piedmont Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12Northwest College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
80%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.03
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13Vance-Granville Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.94
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14South Piedmont Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.68
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15Eastern Wyoming College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16Walla Walla Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
40%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.38
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17Haywood Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
18Martin Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19Beaufort County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20Isothermal Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21Luna Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.12
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
22Bladen Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23Cleveland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.99
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24Edgecombe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25Bristol Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26Johnston Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27Clark College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.76
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
28Yavapai College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.68
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29Phoenix College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30Cape Cod Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.56
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
31Spokane Falls Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.52
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32Northeast Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.43
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33James Sprunt Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.38
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34Edmonds Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
27%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35Central Wyoming College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
67%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.34
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36Casper College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
42%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.32
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
37Surry Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38Blue Ridge Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.17
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39Sheridan College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40Trinidad State Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41Linn-Benton Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.15
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42Paradise Valley Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
35%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.12
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43Northland Pioneer College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44Stanly Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.98
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45Rio Salado College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
46Arizona Western College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.90
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
47Fayetteville Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.90
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
48Stark State College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.87
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
49Blue Mountain Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
50Sampson Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.84
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1Chaminade University of Honolulu Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 99.78
Read more

Students that are studying at the undergraduate and the graduate level have the chance to pursue their interests in early childhood education at Chaminade University of Honolulu. In the span of four years, a student has the ability to complete their degree program and secure the career that they have been working towards. The early childhood education curriculum encompasses all necessary concepts that will apply to work in the education field, including leadership courses, developmental theory, and even courses covering children’s literature. Students attending Chaminade may choose to live in their state-of-the-art on-campus housing, allowing them to spend more time focusing on school and less time commuting there.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2Muskingum University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 99.41
Read more

Achieving a career in early childhood education is made simple at Muskingum University. Muskingum offers a large variety of academic programs, including a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Students studying in this program will refine their communicational abilities, as well as develop a greater understanding of the developmental process in children ranging in ages from infancy through age twelve. A bachelor’s degree can lead to any number of careers, but may also prepare students to enter into graduate level work, further qualifying them for a well-paying position post-graduation. Muskingum supports its students through a number of academic services, including financial aid coverage, counseling, and academic advisement.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3Wheelock College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 99.32
Read more

Offered at both the bachelor’s level and the masters level, Wheelock College’s early childhood education program prepares students to become a valuable member of the childhood education workforce. Students will work closely with professors with several years of experience working with children ranging in age from infancy up until twelve years old. One of the primary benefits of studying at Wheelock is that it allows early childhood education students to combine their undergraduate and graduate level program as well as earning their ECE PreK-2 licensure in their fifth year of study. Wheelock students have the option to make use of the campus’ housing facilities, allowing for greater access to their academic community.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4Ball State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 99.07
Read more

Ball State University offers a large selection of degrees that emphasize different areas of early childhood education. Whether students are looking to complete a single degree in early childhood education, or progress through a dual degree program to specialize in special education, BSU provides its students with the necessary attention to ensure success. Students will also have the option to spend their non-academic time by attending one of the several on-campus events that are hosted by BSU. Student organizations are also an excellent way for students to fill their time: these include student government, Greek life, and special interest groups.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
5Saint Xavier University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 99.00
Read more

For student who hope to begin educating children up to the third grade, earning a degree in early childhood education from Saint Xavier University may be a highly valuable pursuit. Over the span of four years, students will have the opportunity to work with experienced faculty members who have the goal of developing the skills students need to effectively teach elementary-age children. Several of SXU’s degree programs include online courses in addition to those held in the traditional in-class environment. Online learning may be beneficial for students with time constraints, or students who live far away from the SXU campus.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6Colorado Christian University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 98.71
Read more

At Colorado Christian University, students are able to complete their bachelor’s degree in early childhood education while also earning their licensure. Students also have the opportunity to complete their teaching licensure separately in a 69 credit post-baccalaureate program. CCU’s programs prepare students to education children at any age up to third grade. Students will receive the knowledge required to successfully manage a classroom and develop an age-specialized curriculum. Students transferring from another institution of higher education may be able to utilized their previously earned credits in their new degree program. Student tutoring helps to keep CCU learners on track and happy in their individual programs.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7LIU Post Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
92%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 98.65
Read more

By studying in Long Island University’s early childhood education program, bachelor’s students will acquire the necessary skills to make a difference in elementary school-aged children’s lives. Students in this program will have the opportunity to explore a variety of specialized areas of study, including history, English, mathematics, and social sciences. Students will also be able to further customize their degree program by selecting the age group they wish to work with. LIU courses are taught by faculty members who have spent a large portion of their professional lives working in the same field for which they teach. Most classes at LIU are small in size, allowing as much one-on-one time students may wish to have with their teachers.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8Barry University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 98.48
Read more

A bachelor’s degree in education earned at Barry University can have a number of specializations, ranging from infancy and early childhood education to special education. The goal of Barry’s education program is to prepare students to help future children meet their goals and excel in their education while also experiencing their curriculum in a fun and creative way. Several online options are available at Barry University, making school work more convenient and accessible. Most credits offered at Barry are transferable, allowing students to take their education with them if they have to transfer to a new school for any reason.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9Xavier University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
78%
Ranking SCORE 98.37
Read more

Xavier University offers an undergraduate degree in early childhood education that can lead to a large selection of career opportunities in the education field. Students will learn the importance of helping to develop their students’ personal skills, as well as their level of education. The comprehensive curricular plan that encompasses the early childhood education program has led to a 99 percent rate for students taking their state exams. Students will take courses throughout their program that applies the knowledge they’ve learned, giving them the hands-on experience that breeds success. Average class size at Xavier is 20 students, ensuring no student will be forgotten.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
10University of Alaska Anchorage Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
26%
Ranking SCORE 98.33
Read more

The early childhood education department at the University of Alaska Anchorage offers programs at a variety of levels, including undergraduate certificates, an associate of applied science degree, a bachelor of arts degree, and even a post-baccalaureate certificate. UAA’s early childhood education program utilizes a combination of theoretical in-class study with practical applied learning opportunities, allowing for full development of their educational abilities. If a student is in need of financial aid coverage, they may be eligible to apply for federal aid, grants, or one of the several UAA scholarships. Students may get to know one another by interacting through one of UAA’s numerous student organizations.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11California University of Pennsylvania Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
55%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 98.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12Johnson University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
87%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 98.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13Converse College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 98.11
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14SUNY Buffalo State Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
79%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 97.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15Saint Mary's College of California Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
87%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 97.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16Canisius College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 97.62
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17Cincinnati Christian University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 97.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18Marshall University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
58%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
44%
Ranking SCORE 97.45
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
19Endicott College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
72%
Ranking SCORE 97.36
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20Loyola University Chicago Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 97.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21The University of Alabama Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 97.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22Rhode Island College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 97.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23Pace University-New York Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 97.05
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24University of Maine at Farmington Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 97.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25Vanderbilt University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
64%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
92%
Ranking SCORE 96.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
26Louisiana Tech University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
70%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 96.84
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
27SUNY College at Potsdam Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 96.80
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28Heritage University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
16%
Ranking SCORE 96.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29Madonna University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
82%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 96.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30Wright State University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
67%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 96.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31Eastern Nazarene College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 96.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
32Idaho State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
31%
Ranking SCORE 96.61
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33Northern Arizona University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 96.60
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
34American International College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
39%
Ranking SCORE 96.55
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35Lesley University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
46%
Ranking SCORE 96.55
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36Concordia University-Saint Paul Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
85%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 96.52
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37University of Alabama at Birmingham Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 96.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
38University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
45%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
89%
Ranking SCORE 96.48
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39Eastern Michigan University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 96.47
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40Clarks Summit University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 96.46
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 96.42
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42The Lincoln University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
41%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 96.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
43Mercyhurst University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 96.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44Yeshiva University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
85%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
84%
Ranking SCORE 96.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
45Concordia University-Nebraska Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 96.39
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
46Chatham University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.36
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
47St Catherine University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.29
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
48University of Alaska Southeast Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
10%
Ranking SCORE 96.18
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
49Maryville University of Saint Louis Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 96.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
50National Louis University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
70%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
44%
Ranking SCORE 96.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes

Search Early Childhood Education Programs Near You

Success in a teaching career begins with choosing the right early childhood education program. All students have different goals, so it’s important for them to look for schools that align with what they want to accomplish in their careers. The search tool below helps prospective educators find degree programs based on desired location, size, tuition and school type.

Basic Search
Tuition
School Type
Advanced Search +
Degree Level
Student Population
Compare key info for up to 4 schools

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

results

Show:

School Tuition
Tuition for in-state undergrads at the campus location
Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Campus Education & Teaching Programs

Similar Education Degree Programs

Educators can work with students of any age. The following graphic shows the degrees that are similar to early childhood education and what grades educators are preparing to teach when they enroll in these programs.

Early Childhood Education

Grades: Preschool to 3rd grade

Ages: 0 to 8

Elementary Education

Grades:Kindergarten to 6th grade

Ages: 5 to 12

read more
Secondary Education

Grades:6th to 12th grades

Ages: 13 to 18

read more
Special Education

Grades: Preschool to 12th grade

Ages: 0 to 22

read more

Early Childhood Education Degrees by Level

Students in early childhood education degree programs learn about the needs of young learners and develop an appreciation of how they develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically. Undergraduate programs prepare students to enter the field and receive a teaching license, while graduate degree programs are geared toward those already working in the field who are looking to advance their careers or transition into college-level teaching or education research. This section explains what students can expect from early education programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Early Childhood Education Associate Degrees

Type of Schools:

Community colleges, online schools

Time to Complete:

Two years, full-timer

Career Opportunities:

Preschool teacher, child care worker, camp counselor, recreation coordinator, infant/toddler caregiver

Students in this program learn about the development of young children and the research-based strategies that educators use to teach them. In addition, these programs discuss how to use age-appropriate and culturally sensitive instruction methods in the classroom. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent before enrolling.

The coursework in early education associate degree programs is designed to provide a foundation that students can use to earn higher-level degrees or obtain entry-level positions after graduation. The following are examples of classes that can be found in associate degree programs.

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Provides an overview of early childhood education, including its history and current trends in the field. In addition, students learn about the laws that govern how educators work.

Exceptional Children

Students examine strategies for working with special needs children in the early education classroom. Topics include physical impairments, types of learning, behavioral problems and exceptional development.

Child Growth and Development

Explores the genetic and environmental factors that influence the development of young children. Developmental milestones from birth to age eight are also discussed.

Early Childhood Literacy

Students learn the best practices for teaching preschool children how to read, write and communicate.

Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degrees

Type of Schools:

Four-year colleges and universities, online schools

Time to Complete:

Four years, full-time

Career Opportunities:

Preschool teacher, teacher assistant, recreation worker, child care worker, camp counselor

Prospective early childhood education bachelor’s degree students must first earn a high school diploma. Bachelor’s programs teach students how to create an appropriate curriculum for early learners, assess the needs of students and monitor their progress, and help families support their children’s education needs. Toward the end of the program, students must serve as student-teachers in a real classroom to earn the degree.

Students earning early childhood education bachelor’s degrees learn the skills they need to teach young children reading, writing and math by leveraging their understanding of how children develop cognitively, emotionally and physically. The following descriptions provide an overview of some of the courses found in bachelor’s programs.

Issues in Education

Providing information on how to address common challenges early childhood educators face, Issues in Education looks in-depth at topics such as classroom management and learner accountability.

Early Childhood Curriculum Planning

Students learn how to incorporate student-teacher interactions, caregiving and play into the classroom as they explore curriculum-development strategies appropriate to young children.

Family, School and Community

Explains the underlying factors that influence the ways children learn and the ways educators work. It includes information on how teachers can partner with their students’ families to deliver a quality education.

Children’s Literature

Students learn about types of children’s literature and how to select media that align with children’s cognitive, social and emotional development.

Early Childhood Education Master’s Degrees

Type of Schools:

Four-year universities, online schools

Time to Complete:

Two years, full-time

Career Opportunities:

Adjunct instructor, family education center director, education coordinator, preschool director, preschool lead teacher

Master’s degree programs in early childhood education build on the previous education and work experience students have gained and help them become experts in a general topic in the field. In addition to learning advanced concepts, students also learn about seminal early education research, as well as gain practice in original or secondary research. Schools generally require applicants to earn a minimum of a 2.5 GPA in their undergraduate programs and take the GMAT or GRE to gain entry into a master’s program.

Early childhood education master’s degree students learn advanced concepts in the field that can help them get high-level jobs. Some examples of courses in these programs are below.

Introduction to Educational Research

This course familiarizes students with how education research is conducted, including commonly used qualitative and quantitative methods.

Play

Students learn about the importance of play in a child’s development. Professors relay information on how children play both with each other and alone.

History of Schooling and Curriculum for Pre-K to Grade 3 Programs

This class explores the political, social, historical and legal foundations of the early education field in the United States.

Learning Theories and Instruction

Students survey different evidence-based learning theories and the practical classroom applications of each. Course topics may include motivation, the social context of learning, and classroom problem-solving techniques.

Early Childhood Education Doctorate Degrees (PhD, EdD)

Type of Schools:

Four-year universities, online schools

Time to Complete:

Three to five years

Career Opportunities:

Advocacy specialist, early childhood administrator, education researcher

To be admitted into an early education doctoral degree program, applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education and to take the GRE or GMAT. Students in these programs can prepare to become education researchers, school administrators, educational consultants and college professors. Programs allow students to pursue a concentration, which gives them expertise in a specific area of early childhood education.

To move up in their careers and become experts in a certain area of early childhood education, students in doctoral programs take advanced coursework, such as the classes listed below, before conducting original research.

Trends, Issues and Research in Early Childhood Education

Students analyze findings in early childhood education research and how they apply to the classroom. Research topics covered include political, legal and social issues educators face.

Early Writing: Cognition, Language and Literacy

This course explores how early learners acquire writing skills. Students review the latest research in this area.

Psychosocial Development in Infancy and Childhood

Students study how children relate with others and develop individual identities.

Models of Assessment

Students in this course can expect to learn about the types of assessments used to evaluate students and design curricula.

Early Childhood Education Programs: Pre-Enrollment Checklist

Not at early childhood education programs are the same. After narrowing down your school options, it’s important to follow a checklist such as this to determine which school will best fit your educational needs and set you up for a future career.

  • Accreditation

    To ensure they receive an education that positions them to receive a teaching license in their state, students should look for programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This organization certifies that early childhood education degree programs are delivering a quality education that meets industry standards.

  • Opportunity to pursue specializations

    Students interested in working with a specific student age group, such as preschool-aged children, can benefit from programs that offer specializations because they allow students to become very knowledgeable on a specific topic, which can open up job opportunities.

  • Classroom experience

    While education theory provides the foundation for becoming a successful teacher, it is important for students in early childhood education programs to receive as much hands-on experience as possible. To that end, students should look for degrees with strong field networks so they can both observe real-life teachers in the classroom and teach their own classes.

  • Faculty interests

    oWhile researching early education programs, prospective students should look for faculty members who specialize in their areas of interest. For example, those who want to specialize in day care education can benefit from programs that have faculty members who have run day care centers.

  • Research opportunities

    oStudents interested in becoming education researchers should look for programs that provide opportunities to conduct original studies. This will allow them to contribute to others’ research or conduct their own.

Careers & Specializations for Early Childhood Education

Early education graduates learn skills — such as working with students in the classroom, conducting assessments, and collaborating with parents — that can be used in several different jobs. The following are examples of careers graduates may pursue:

Browse Career Profiles
Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers help children under the age of five learn subjects such as reading, writing and science by instructing them on skills like letter and number recognition. Professionals must be able to tailor their curriculum and teaching styles to accommodate young children.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

7%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$28,570

Typical Education

Associate or bachelor’s degree, depending on the employer; some states require a Child Development Associate credential

Child Care Workers

Child care workers are responsible for meeting young children’s basic needs, including feeding and bathing them, changing their diapers and playing with them. In addition, these professionals also pay attention to children’s developmental progress and help them explore their environment. Child care providers work closely with parents to ensure students are developing emotionally, socially and cognitively.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

5%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$20,320

Typical Education

High school diploma

Preschool & Child Care Center Directors

Directors oversee the operations of preschool and child care centers. This work entails hiring, training and supervising employees; developing education programs; and managing the organization’s finances. In addition, preschool and child care center directors are required to keep abreast of state regulations and maintain compliance with applicable laws.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

7%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$45,670

Typical Education

Bachelor’s degree (and credential in some states)

Teacher Assistants – Preschool

Teacher assistants provide instruction to young children under the supervision of licensed teachers. Job duties include enforcing classroom rules, keeping records, maintaining class materials and supporting lesson plans.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

6%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$24,900

Typical Education

Associate degree

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2015)

In-Depth: Preschool Teacher Employment & Salary by State

The salary range of preschool teachers varies depending on the state they work in. The following map shows the annual median wages of preschool teachers in each state along with the employment prospects for teachers.

Essential Skills & Experience for Professionals

  • Professional certifications

    Depending on the state they work in, early childhood educators may be expected to earn professional certifications. Required certifications may include the Child Development Associate (CDA) or the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credentials.

  • Physical stamina

    Young children have a lot of energy that needs to be channeled. As a result, professionals must have the physical stamina to keep up with their students as they explore their environment.

  • Patience

    Working closely with one child requires a great deal of patience, so those who work with a classroom full of children must have the patience needed to deal with potentially overwhelming situations.

  • Decision-making

    Educators who work with young children need strong decision-making skills to deal with what’s going on in their classroom from one moment to the next. These professionals must think on their feet and make quick decisions about appropriate instruction and discipline.

  • Instruction skills

    Working with early learners requires a specialized set of instruction skills. Professionals need to know how to effectively work in the classroom, as well as how to create lesson plans that are appropriate for young students.

  • Time management

    Teachers must juggle many responsibilities, and when working with early learners, it’s easy to get sidetracked. These workers must manage time effectively while keeping in mind that children can be unpredictable.

  • Active learning

    The education industry is continually changing as pedagogical techniques evolve. As a result, it’s important to have active learning skills in order to keep abreast of the changes in the field and incorporate new theories into the classroom.

Advice from the Field: Expert Interview

What can students expect to learn in an early childhood education degree program?

Although programs vary from state to state and school to school, in general early childhood education students can expect to learn about child development and developmentally appropriate teaching practices. They can also expect to be introduced to teaching and learning theories, and to develop knowledge of curriculum, pedagogy and various types of assessments. Because school-family relationships are critical to successful early childhood programs, students can also expect to learn about working with diverse families in ways that can benefit young children.

How do early childhood education programs differ from other types of education programs?

Education programs that focus on older children usually emphasize cognitive growth and academic progress, while in early childhood education programs the focus is on the development of the “whole child.” In other words, cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic and physical development are all priorities in early childhood education programs.

What skills and qualities do professionals need to be successful in the early childhood education field?

Early childhood educators need to understand the significance of child development and play in young children’s lives. They should have strong background knowledge in child development, early literacy and early childhood instructional strategies. They should be excellent communicators and have the ability to multitask. They should be able to use various types of assessments to monitor student learning and be able to adapt instruction to meet individual learning needs. Additionally, because young children are typically very eager to learn new things and are full of energy, they need patient, caring, intelligent teachers who will support their growth and development in ways that are nurturing and positive.

What advice would you give to those who want to enroll in an early childhood education degree program?

I have three suggestions. First, consider your career goals and decide if a degree in early childhood education can help you reach those goals. Second, talk to early childhood professionals about their work and visit early childhood education facilities as you consider whether entering the early childhood education field might be a good fit for you. Finally, avoid enrolling in an early childhood program simply because you “love kids.” Although early childhood educators should certainly enjoy being around children, educators are paid to teach children and not just spend time with them. It is unlikely that earning a degree in early childhood education will be easy, but for those who enroll in such programs, the rewards are well worth the effort.

Additional Resources