When students enroll in early childhood education programs, many assume that they’re destined to work as preschool teachers. This is an admirable profession, of course, but it’s just one of many career options that an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education can make possible.
From daycare centers to museums, a variety of facilities and programs require the expertise of skilled educators. If you love the idea of working with young children, your dream career may involve one of the exciting paths outlined below:
Head Start Teacher
Designed to promote school readiness among young children, Head Start offers a variety of targeted programs for low-income families. This highly esteemed program began as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Today, Head Start serves over one million children residing in all fifty states and several territories. The program aims to address the physical, emotional, and social needs of young children and their families. The presiding philosophy? Children learn better in stable and loving environments.
All work in early childhood education is challenging, but this is particularly true in Head Start. Employees work closely with troubled families. The emotional impact of this cannot be denied. Such challenges are accompanied by the satisfaction of serving society’s most vulnerable children—and making a real difference for those in need.
Montessori programs are on the rise. Under this unique approach, children are encouraged to take an active role in their own education. This begins early on, with Montessori preschool teachers playing a supportive role as children explore new concepts. Teachers should fully understand and endorse the Montessori Method—and they should strive to nurture a new generation of engaged, self-directed students who continue to love learning long after they’ve graduated.
Home Visiting Teachers
Children with special needs often require more attention than can be realistically provided in standard preschool programs. Likewise, children growing up in troubled homes may need extra support. Home visiting teachers fulfill this critical role, visiting the residences of children identified as needing extra assistance. They work not only with children, but also with parents to form stronger familial relationships. Additionally, teachers promote vital habits to build better physical and emotional health for young students.
Daycare Teacher or Director
Due to recent increases in single-parent and two-income families, many children now require care during the day. Those involved with high-quality daycare programs often build strong social skills. This fosters greater preparedness for preschool and kindergarten.
Daycare workers enjoy many opportunities for advancement. Large programs often employ head teachers who are responsible for planning curriculums and supervising assistant teachers. Some teachers eventually move into director roles, either for franchise-style centers such as KinderCare or for smaller daycare programs. Those with small business aspirations may eventually open daycare centers in their own homes.
Many of today’s daycare centers struggle to maintain compliance, especially given the speed at which local legislation changes. Childcare consultants visit a variety of facilities and observe day-to-day practices closely to determine where improvements can be enacted. Their suggestions may span everything from health and safety to parent-caretaker relationships. Consultants may work with school districts, private agencies, or on an independent basis.
Nannying is no longer just for college students or retirees. This profession has taken on a new level of prestige in recent years. Many parents hold high expectations for their children’s nannies, with several refusing to hire caretakers who lack extensive academic credentials.
Today’s nannies aren’t glorified babysitters; they actively plan curriculums including everything from creative activities to foreign language instruction. Those who specialize in caring for infants, toddlers, or preschool-age children can often secure full-time hours—and not just during the summer. The full-time nature of their work makes it possible for them to build close bonds with the children and families they serve.
Young children are far from alone in their need for extensive education. Modern parenting involves a huge learning curve, but educators can ease this process by providing instruction and support every step of the way. Parent educators work closely with new families. The programs they lead often begin at birth and extend through preschool.
Although some classes may exclusively be attended by new or expecting parents, many are targeted at both young children and their parents in hopes of strengthening bonds and helping adults build skills in an active and engaged manner.
Children’s Event Coordinator
Employed by community centers, museums, hospitals, and even resorts, child-oriented event coordinators understand what gets young kids excited—and what appeals to their discerning parents. These employees plan a variety of exciting events, ranging from birthday parties to holiday festivities. While these events often serve a celebratory function, they can also contain educational components. Hence, the clear preference for experienced educators who know how to make learning fun.
Children’s Museum Coordinators
Children’s museums draw on the power of play. Exhibits are carefully developed to allow kids to explore in an exciting, yet safe setting. Museum coordinators play a critical role behind the scenes, planning a variety of exhibits and programs to ensure maximum enjoyment for young children and their parents. They also work hard to provide a welcoming presence in which all visitors feel comfortable. In addition to serving onsite at children’s museums, coordinators may assist with traveling exhibits or programs in hopes of expanding access to children in underserved communities.
Sales might seem like an odd path for those passionate about early childhood education, but it’s a surprisingly popular option. From toys to playground equipment, a variety of products are targeted specifically at children and parents. Who better to sell them than professionals who understand which products appeal most to today’s kids?
Early childhood experts know which products are most likely to impart real benefits on the children who use them. They help parents, daycare directors, and a variety of others understand these benefits. Many sales professionals enjoy flexible schedules and extensive control over their career trajectory. Earnings may not be as impressive as in other sales niches, but representatives can take solace in knowing that the products they promote have a positive impact.
If you are looking for a degree in child studies that is convenient and works with your schedule, consider Post University. We are one of only two learning institutions in the nation to have accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for both the Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education and the Bachelor of Science in Child Studies.
Whether you dream of working as a preschool teacher or envision a completely different career path, your degree from Post will open a number of doors to career opportunities in the field.