Early Childhood Education FAQs
What is an early childhood educator?
An early childhood educator develops and implements instructional strategies for infant and early childhood development. This does include teaching and educating young children, especially in preschool. But a degree in early childhood education is more holistic than one might initially think. In addition to possibly specializing in areas like Special Education or English as a Second Language (ESL), an early childhood educator may also pursue a path toward administrative or director positions to oversee education programs.
Many independent studies have indicated that the years before children enter elementary school are the most crucial for developing their social skills and learning abilities. Therefore, early childhood educators focus on different methods and concepts than educators of, say, middle school or high school. Early childhood educators pay particularly close attention to each student and strive to help students reach emotional and physical benchmarks as well as intellectual ones.
At Kendall College we know that early childhood education is one of the most noble and vital career paths available to students today. An early childhood educator may strive for many different jobs and positions, and our variety of degrees and concentrations gives every student the opportunity to graduate fully equipped to enter the workforce. An early childhood educator helps young students build themselves a better future – help us build yours.
What grades are included in early childhood education?
The grade levels included in early childhood education actually vary by state. In some states, early education licensure allows an educator only to teach up to kindergarten, while in other states it can apply to grade levels through the beginning years of elementary school. The variations in grades are due to the different structures of license and certification programs by state.
In theory, an early childhood educator is capable of teaching children during their most formative intellectual years, and plays an important role in teaching and honing social and emotional skills. State boards disagree on what grade level children’s instruction should be focused solely on acquiring and analyzing new information.
In Illinois, where Kendall College is located, the grade range of the Professional Educator License is changing to fit the new regulations of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). This change comes after the ISBE moved from a Certification structure to a Licensure structure for early childhood education as of 2013.
The ISBE is narrowing the grade range of the Professional Educator License with Early Childhood endorsement from Birth through Grade 3 to Birth through Grade 2. This change will come into effect on September 1, 2019. Contact enrollment to see if this change will affect your degree. You can also call the ISBE at 217.557.6763 for more information.
What is the average early childhood education salary?
The industry of early childhood education includes a wide variety of jobs, and each position has a different average salary. The salary you can expect will fluctuate depending on your concentration (for example, special education teachers earn more money than teachers in the same grade that do not teach special education). Administering at private childcare centers, adoption agencies or community parks can pay very well, and your salary will depend on the reputation and size of the institution.
According to payscale.com, the typical Preschool Teacher earns $27,917 per year, while a Preschool Director is expected to earn $39,324. An Elementary School Teacher earns, on average, $42,681 per year. Special Education Teachers for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school take home approximately $41,343 per year. One of the highest paid positions in early childhood education is that of an Executive Director, a position that comes with an average $63,760 salary.
Becoming a licensed instructor and earning your bachelor’s degree at Kendall College will also affect your pay rate and increase your job opportunities. There are many elements, like location and experience, which will determine your salary when you graduate. Luckily, we have a team of professionals who can provide you with current statistics, valuable information and helpful coaching while you try to land your first job after graduating. Visit our Career Services Department to get the answers you need to succeed.
Are there different requirements for certain early childhood education positions?
Yes, there are! Many entry-level positions in the early childhood education field only require a certificate to apply. Earning an early childhood education certificate entails about 15 to 30 units of classwork depending on the program and the state in which you earn your certificate. With an early childhood certificate you can become a daycare worker, a teacher’s aide or an in-home educator, among other options.
Becoming licensed in early childhood education is necessary for most of the traditional jobs associated with the profession. For example, to become a Preschool or Kindergarten Teacher you will need a Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood endorsement. Some teachers choose to pursue this license after earning an associate degree.
At Kendall College, the Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with Illinois Teacher Licensure prepares you for expected teaching environments and puts you on the track to earning your license while in the program. The online platform and progressive curriculum equip you with the techniques necessary to thrive as an educator in the classroom.
Other administrative and directorial positions require a bachelor’s degree with an industry-specific focus to prepare you for the realities of the workplace. Preschool Directors, Parks and Program Administrators, and Grant Managers will all need a bachelor’s degree in their line of work.
What can I do with an early childhood education degree?
Once you earn your early childhood education degree and test to receive your Professional Educator License you can begin teaching children from birth through the grade level designated on your certificate. In Illinois, this means birth through grade 2 as of September 1, 2019. By pursuing specialized instruction and courses you can also be endorsed to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) or become a Special Education teacher.
Earning your early childhood education degree from Kendall College means much more than simple licensure – at Kendall our innovative approach to learning focuses on real-world experiences through fieldwork and clinical practice. This preparation is invaluable for students who will enter the job market with a distinct advantage over other applicants that haven’t spent time in classrooms or in childcare centers.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree you can explore numerous opportunities. Many students do not wish to pursue a career as a teacher, but instead study early childhood education with the end goal of directing a day care center or preschool. With a concentration in grant management some students become equipped to seek funding for educational initiatives on the federal, state and local levels. Other notable jobs in the early childhood education field include: adoption agency consultant, family services counselor, educational game and toy developer and community program manager.
How do I become a Kindergarten Teacher?
The requirements for becoming a Kindergarten Teacher differ slightly based on your preference to work in a public or private school. Anyone wishing to teach Kindergarten in a public school must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in early childhood education and be licensed by the state where they plan to teach. Some private schools only require an associate degree and may not require a license or certificate.
For most school systems a student teaching internship is required. These important internships instruct hopeful Kindergarten teachers on classroom management and the implementation of effective lesson plans. Many bachelor’s degree programs, like the early childhood education program at Kendall College, factor in these required hours in the classroom into the curriculum so students have the necessary requirements to teach upon graduation.
In order to succeed as a Kindergarten teacher you must cultivate a passion for working with children. A huge part of your responsibilities involve nurturing a child’s emotional growth and helping children develop certain patterns of behavior in addition to teaching basic concepts of math, art and science.
Certain states will expect Kindergarten Teachers to pursue a master’s degree during their time teaching. Earning a master’s is a terrific way to advance your career and increase your salary. With a graduate degree you can become involved in educational research.
How do I become a Preschool Teacher?
The path to becoming a Preschool Teacher is similar to that of a Kindergarten Teacher, with a few exceptions. In many cases, preschool is taught at a daycare center and is not considered a full grade. Therefore, the requirements for employment vary from institution to institution more frequently than those of a Kindergarten Teacher.
Most public schools still require a bachelor’s degree, while many daycare or childcare centers will hire applicants with an associate degree or even a teaching certificate. Preschool Teachers will still have to be licensed by the state where they teach if they are employed in a public school.
Preschool is more heavily focused on interactive play and games than kindergarten, as the goals of exercises are often to help children strengthen their vocabulary and socialization skills. Because of this, Preschool Teachers often adhere to less structure than Kindergarten Teachers in order to keep their students actively engaged.
Preschool Teachers often begin as Teacher’s Assistants before becoming full time instructors themselves. With a degree from Kendall College, Preschool Teachers can skip these years and immediately start teaching when they graduate. Specializing in Special Education or English as a Second Language will also set you apart when applying for positions.