What Can I Do with an Early Childhood Education Certificate?
Many employers require or prefer their teachers to have some ECE course credits. Earning an early childhood education (ECE) certificate can qualify you, depending on the regulations in your state, to become a preschool teacher, teacher's aide or daycare worker. If you're interested in working with babies and preschool-aged toddlers and children, an early childhood education certificate might be what you're looking for. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certificate
You'll need to complete between 15 and 30 units for your early childhood education certificate. The age range covered by programs varies from state to state. Some programs focus on the development of children from infancy to age five, while other programs' coursework address children all the way up to early elementary school.
You'll learn about designing curriculum and relating to parents and the community. You'll also study methods of working with children who have special needs. Programs with an internship portion give you practical experience in a daycare setting. You may be required to complete your ECE courses in a specific order. Common topics include:
- Practices in early childhood learning
- ECE curriculum
- Early childhood program administration
- Guidance in childhood
- Family systems and community
- Healthy nutrition and safety of young children
Once you've graduated with your ECE certificate, what will you do? Early childhood educators typically work in daycare centers as teachers and support staff. In this job, you will care for children and help them learn by helping to create a fun environment with reading opportunities, crafts, play time, healthy snacks and rest time.
Your ECE certificate may also provide entry into home teaching with Head Start or a similar early intervention program. You may teach in a private school's kindergarten, at a Montessori school or in a preschool program. You could work as an aide for a child with special needs. You may even become an upscale nanny!
If you decide you like working with young children, you might want to proceed with an associate or even a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. A degree will give you additional classes in early childhood education along with general education coursework.
A bachelor's degree is often necessary to become a preschool director; some employers require an associate or bachelor's degree in ECE for teaching positions as well. According to the BLS, by 2011 all Head Start teachers will need a minimum of an associate degree. In quite a few places, you'll be qualified to teach kindergarten through third grade with your bachelor's degree in ECE.
You could also combine your certificate with a bachelor's degree in another area. For example, with a business baccalaureate, you could be primed to open your own daycare or preschool. Or you could become an engineer and design educational toys for young children. Continue in your field, earning a bachelor's degree and then perhaps a graduate degree, to teach the next generation of certificate holders. You could also do research on more effective early childhood education. You have many choices about what to do with your ECE certificate!
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: