If you are among those who loves young children and whose idea of happiness is a career working with them, then you have probably considered a career in early childhood education. Many make the mistake of presuming that this means only being a preschool teacher, which is completely wrong. There are many roles to be played in early childhood education and success lies in finding the role that is best suited for you. Here are the basic outlines of a few to the career options available. If one interests you, take the time do find out more – there are plenty of resources available online.
- A Certified Preschool Teacher: This is a vocation that allows you to teach young children in a traditional school environment. The qualifications for this job vary from state to state but in general you will need a Bachelor’s degree and then complete a preschool teachers training program to obtain the required certification or license. This kind of job will suit a person who wants hands-on involvement in educating young children. The national annual salary for a preschool teacher is in the range of $29,000.
- A Teacher’s Assistant: If you want to be a preschool teacher but do not have a Bachelor’s degree or have not yet obtained one, you can make a beginning by becoming a teacher’s assistant. Typically all that is required for this job is 12 college credits. You have the option of either remaining an assistant or continuing your education and obtaining your teacher’s certification to enable you to be a full-fledged preschool teacher. While salaries vary a lot depending on the part of the country, the national average salary for a teacher’s assistant is about $24,000 a year.
- Program Director: From being a certified teacher, the next stage of career progression is to become a program director or administrator. This job requires teaching experience and often an advanced degree, which can be obtained while teaching. Program directors/administrators can work in a variety of settings including private schools, public schools, special child care programs and facilities and home based programs.This job will take you away from direct interaction with children, but will allow you to play a larger role in their overall education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the national average annual salary of this type of position is approximately $61,000.
- Professor of Early Childhood Education: Many people, after spending some years teaching young children or administering programs, prefer to use knowledge and experience they have acquired to train others for the profession. This usually requires an advanced degree like an Ed.D. or Ph.D. While there is rarely any interaction with the young children themselves, this is a line of work that has its own rewards in terms of helping others to get into the important and satisfying profession. The salary for this kind of position can vary greatly, but the national average is about $64,000 per year.
A career in early childhood education is one that has a lot of potential for progress and achievement. It all depends on what your priorities are and at which level you feel the most comfortable. Whatever you may decide, any involvement with early childhood education can be rewarding and fulfilling experience for those who have an affinity for working with children.