What Can I Do with an Early Childhood Education Certificate?

Many employers require or prefer that their teachers have some early childhood education (ECE) course credits. Earning an ECE certificate may qualify you, depending upon the regulations in your state, to become a preschool teacher, teacher's aide or daycare worker. Read on for more information and potential career options. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

About Early Childhood Education Certificates

You'll need to complete between 15 and 30 units to earn an 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.

As a student, you might learn about designing curricula and relating to parents and the community. You might also study methods of working with children who have special needs. Programs with an internship portion could 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

Employment Options

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 that offers 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 who has special needs, or as a private nanny.

Additional Education

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 program will give you opportunities to take additional classes in early childhood education and to complete 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 in 2012, approximately 50% of all Head Start teachers must hold bachelor's degrees in early childhood education or similar fields. Having earned such a degree, you could be qualified to teach kindergarten through third grade.

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 center or preschool. Continuing in your field, earning a bachelor's degree and then perhaps a graduate degree, and you might become qualified to teach the next generation of certificate-holders. As an alternative, you might perform research that could result in the development of more effective early childhood education programs.

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:

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