Among the shopping sprees and excitement of advancing to the next levels in life, we take a moment to recognize the hard work that our teachers contribute to molding the minds of future generations. As the demand for early childhood educators grows we explore professional pathways these dedicated individuals may follow.
A bachelor's degree in early childhood education prepares students for careers that provide enriching learning opportunities to our youngest of pupils. Scholars focus on building the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to provide high quality, inclusive early care and education for children ages birth to eight in a variety of settings and fields.
In addition to the traditional educational settings such as preschools, opportunities for working within the field exist in government agencies such as Head Start and nonprofits such as Early Edge California. Those with extensive experience and expertise may also consider contributing to the training and development of other early childhood professionals in organizations such as the Child Development and Training Consortium. Other fields to consider expanding to that involve working with children include health care, research, legal, higher education and various paths within the private sector.
The Demand Expands
The need for people in early care and education roles continues to grow. The Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that positions for early care and education workers, preschool teachers and directors are increasing faster than average.
In first preschool summit, panelists explore state of early childhood education: http://t.co/zdZC6F2SWL
— Education Week (@educationweek) August 7, 2014
Some career options that involve working with children can begin with a strong foundation from a bachelor's degree but then would require additional education, licensure, training and/or a minimum number of years of professional experience. Examples include:
- Pediatric nurse
- Social worker
- Kindergarten teacher
- Elementary school teacher
- School counselor
Joining a professional association or organization while in school or after graduation will provide additional opportunities to network with seasoned professionals in the industry, keep you current on industry trends and policies, and provide access to member only job boards.
Networking, informational interviews, and researching job openings are great ways to learn more about career paths within the field of early childhood education. Explore some of the following professional organizations:
- National Child Care Association - Since 1987, NCCA has been the only voice of the licensed, private childhood care and education community. Since that time, the association and its leadership have succeeded in establishing an influential presence for the private sector at state and national policy and legislative tables.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children - Founded in 1926, NAEYC has led the way toward excellence in high-quality early care and education. With nearly 80,000 members from more than 300 Affiliates and more than 120 countries, including teachers, administrators, parents, educators, and policy members, we are committed to bringing high-quality early care and education to all young children.
- Professional Association for Childhood Education - A non-profit, California statewide organization established in 1955 to advance the profession of childhood education. PACE members operate in excess of 1,000 centers, serving more than 55,000 children in California. PACE members make a significant difference for educators, families, and children, ultimately affecting our future.
Aspiring professionals can learn more about educational opportunities through Brandman University to get them started on the path to success.
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