Do you still remember your first teacher? Hopefully it’s a good memory. The people we meet when we are very young are often memorable — especially if they treated us kindly or taught us things we wanted to know. The good ones linger in our minds like superheroes, complete with blowing capes and kind words for every passer-by. If you want to be this influence in the life of a young child, Post University’s Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education program holds programmatic accreditation from NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children.)
What Is an Early Childhood Education Degree?
A degree in early childhood education prepares you to work with early learners. Usually, this encompasses children up to the age of 8 years old. If you are interested in working in a child care setting, this degree may help you reach your goal.
As a student in this degree program, you will take a variety of courses that teach you how to observe and evaluate the performance, behavior, and development of very young students. Usually, this includes coursework such as:
- Child Growth and Development
- Positive Child Guidance
- Observation and Assessment
- Language Arts for Early Childhood
- Teaching Methods and Learning Styles
At Post University, the Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education prepares students to work in an early childhood setting upon graduation. It can also provide a solid foundation for continuing studies for students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in child studies.
Is It Worth Getting a Degree in Early Childhood Education?
If you enjoy working with early learners, their families, and their communities, you may find a degree in early childhood education to be rewarding and fulfilling. This degree will open doors that may have previously been closed to you, including those as an infant and toddler teacher, preschool teacher, kindergarten assistant, and elementary school aide. In these settings, you will play an important role in the lives of your students, and you will have the ability to help instill a lifelong love of learning. But there are other benefits of earning your early childhood degree, too.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Degree in Early Childhood Education?
According to the National Education Association, children who are enrolled in high-quality early childhood education programs have advantages over children who are not. Essentially, they are:
- Less likely to repeat a grade level
- Better prepared, academically, to advance from grade to grade
- Less likely to be diagnosed with special needs
- More likely to graduate from high school
- Usually higher earners upon graduation
As their early childhood educator, you hold much responsibility for children’s success. This, along with working with families who, according to the NAEYC, are children’s first teachers, is a big part of what makes this career so rewarding. Other benefits include your work environment. Early learning classrooms are typically filled with bright colors, plenty of sunlight, an abundance of toys, books, and manipulatives, and children who are excited to learn. You will work with other college-educated professionals and also have the credentials upon which you can build a successful career. With your Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, you will gain the skills and knowledge to become a valued member of an academic team in both the public and private school systems.
Careers in Early Childhood Education
Most students envision the inside of an early childhood classroom when they think of earning a degree in early childhood education. But this is only one option. This associate degree gives you many more exciting career choices from which to choose, such as child coordinator for a local nonprofit or sales consultant for a national playground equipment company. The possibilities are many and include:
Head Start Teacher
Head Start is a national program that provides educational resources for low-income families. As a Head Start teacher, you will work with children ages 3 to 5 in a co-teaching environment that usually includes a lead teacher, an assistant teacher, and a teaching aide. Typical duties include:
- Delivering lessons
- Leading activities
- Monitoring child behavior
- Providing positive feedback
- Communicating with families
As part of a Head Start program, you will help children — many of whom are underprivileged — become better prepared to face the triumphs and challenges of a school day. In some cases, your classroom will be the most encouraging part of their day.
Parent educators play important roles in the lives of very young children. These are the professionals who work closely with new parents and families, helping them develop sound parenting practices. As a parent educator, you may work closely with parents, but your end goal is always to improve the lives of the children. Some of your responsibilities may include:
- Visiting families at home
- Holding informative classroom sessions for parents
- Assessing parenting styles and offering feedback
- Maintaining up-to-date records
- Helping families overcome barriers and find solutions
Parent educators sometimes step in to help families in crisis as part of a court-ordered action. They may also work in hospitals, helping new parents learn how to care for premature babies. In either case, the work they perform is closely related to that of a social worker. Parent educators require a degree or certification in family counseling, social work, or any related field. Not all employers require certification but you have the option to become a Certified New Parent Educator (CNPE) through CAPPA or other applicable certifications through the National Parenting Education Network (NPEN).
Characteristics of a Successful Early Childhood Educator
It is not enough to simply desire a career as an early childhood educator. This professional must possess a certain skill set and temperament, too. While your degree program can teach you the essential skills you will need to be successful in this career, it helps to have other attributes that include patience, a fondness for working with children, and good communication skills to help you connect with families, coworkers, and school administration. Other helpful qualities include:
- Compassion and empathy
- Strong skills in leadership
- Strong skills in organization
- The ability to plan ahead
- Flexibility and creativity
It goes without saying that as a candidate for an early childhood educator position, you must be able to pass a background check. Most public schools vet their employees carefully and require certification or a state endorsement — especially those who work with very young children or with children in special education.
Ready to Launch Your Career?
Ready to suit up and begin impressing young minds? If so, then an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education from Post University may be a good fit for you. At Post University, we offer in-person classes at our scenic campus in New England, as well as virtual and hybrid learning options, to provide an educational path designed to suit every student. This means you can earn your online degree in early childhood education, too. Sign up today for our Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education and choose your preferred option of on-campus or online learning.
To find out more, visit Post University online, our campus in Waterbury, CT, or by taking our virtual tour. At Post University, we’re training the leaders of tomorrow in ways that work for you today. Let us show you how to fire up your superpowers by earning your early childhood education degree at Post University.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and its outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.