The needs of children during their early years (birth - 8 years) are different from those of older schoolchildren. Early childhood is a critical time in the development of intelligence, personality and social behaviors. For those looking to start a career in this rewarding area of education, certificate and degree programs offer comprehensive coursework that focuses on the development and relevance of age-appropriate approaches to the education of young children.
Certificate/Diploma Programs are available in early childhood education for those looking to enter the job market quickly. Certificate programs offer the basic skills needed to get a job and lack many of the general education courses required by longer degree programs. An Associate Degree is ideal for those who want to gain immediate employment in entry-level positions. Students studying early childhood education will also learn about theories of early childhood growth and development, including the four major stages of cognitive development, along with the significance of family and cultural diversity for learning, the use of developmentally appropriate practices, assessment techniques and technology to promote learning.
Those who want to gain comprehensive knowledge may be best suited for a 4-year Bachelor Degree program. Graduates who have earned a 4-year degree often land more advanced positions when seeking employment after graduation. Individuals seeking higher paying jobs in education or specific certifications in teaching may consider pursuing advanced studies in a Graduate Level Program. Before enrolling in a program, prospective students should check with his or her state Department of Education and/or school district to determine specific credential requirements.