Certificate in Early Childhood Education

Working with young children could be a rewarding experience, and if you are inclined to do so, earning a certificate in early childhood education may help you start along this career path. Many accredited schools and institutions in the US offer early childhood education certification programs. The main motive of an early childhood education program is to teach prospective childhood educators to become responsible for the growth and active learning of young children, infants to preschooler age.

How to Get a Certificate in Early Childhood Education:

Generally, there are two types of certificate programs that are offered by schools in the US: undergraduate certificate and graduate certificate.

Undergraduate Certificate:

The undergraduate certificate in early childhood education enables students to work in daycare centers and pre-schools, and how to care for and work with children who are infants up to preschool age. Since many child care centers and pre-schools prefer their teachers to have a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, an undergraduate certificate could help you in acquiring this credential. You may be able to transfer your training hours towards a CDA program and meet the 120 hours of instruction requirement for early childhood education.

Students now have an opportunity to earn their undergraduate early childhood education certificate online, and this usually takes about 6 to 12 months to complete. Students usually have to complete up to 30 credit hours. However, the exact number varies for each institution, and may be dependent upon the duration and curriculum of the program. Online education could be more convenient for students because they may study at their own pace and at times that are convenient for them.

Graduate Certificate:

Graduate certificates in early childhood education, also known as endorsements, are only available for individuals who have a graduated from an accredited bachelor's degree program, and who have acquired a proper state teaching license. This certificate may be an option for teachers who are teaching other grade levels, but may be interested in changing to early childhood education.

Graduate certificate programs may be completed in one year or even less, but this may depend on the curriculum of the school's program and student's academic progress. Many education programs also require a short term teaching internship as part of their program. When deciding on pursuing a graduate certificate in early childhood education, you need to make sure that your school's education program is properly accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Only an accredited certification will be deemed valid by the state.

General Curriculum:

Early childhood education online certificate programs are geared towards teaching a comprehensive knowledge of topics such as

  • Learning style theories
  • Teaching strategies
  • Child psychology
  • Early childhood classroom curriculum
  • Curriculum design
  • Child development
  • Socioeconomics

The exact curriculum and course titles will most likely vary for certificate programs offered at different schools.

Job Outlook and Pay:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of pre-school teachers is predicted to grow by 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average of other occupations. With regard to the pay, the median annual wage for pre-school teachers was $27,130 in May 2012.


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