Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

An Early Childhood Education degree aims to teach you how to best educate young students aged 3 to 8. This type of degree may include a broad range of general education courses as well as training in teaching and understanding young children.

Early Childhood Education Degree Courses

Courses for an Early Childhood Education degree may include:

Early Childhood Foundations and the Teaching Profession

This course aims to focus on the basics of teaching young children. First, students should learn about the historical context and various theories of childhood education. The course may also cover ethical practices and current models of early childhood education. Students might also learn the roles teachers play and the expectations that they must live up to.

Typical and Atypical Behaviors in Early Childhood

This course typically focuses on the development of typical and atypical students. It may also cover how teachers evaluate disabilities and gifted tendencies among their students. Students might also look at ways that teachers address the atypical behaviors of students early on.

Language and Early Literacy Development

This course may cover current research in language and literacy development. In particular, it might focus on how teachers can develop oral language and early literacy skills in young children. Students may also research and learn about tools that teachers can use to assess language development skills. 

Child Guidance and Management in Early Childhood Education

This course aims to focus on creating a positive culture in the classroom as well as good classroom management. It may cover how teachers can support students with challenging behaviors as well as address young children’s social and emotional needs. 


Early childhood education programs may be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Accredited programs meet the standards of quality set by the accrediting agency and are reviewed regularly.

Possible Careers

An Early Childhood Education degree program may offer career paths such as a teacher or nanny. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers may include:

Preschool Teacher

  • Typical entry level education: Associate’s degree
  • Median annual salary: $30,520 (2019)
  • Projected growth: 7% (faster than average)
  • Number of jobs: 523,600 (2018)

What does a Preschool Teacher do?

Preschool teachers care for children between ages 3-5. They teach children basic math, language, motor, and social skills. In addition, they create activities and schedules to keep children active and engaged. They also talk with parents about their child’s development.

Childcare Worker

  • Typical entry level education: High school diploma
  • Median annual salary: $24,230 (2019)
  • Projected growth: 2% (slower than average)
  • Number of jobs: 1,160,000 (2018)

What does a Childcare Worker do?

Childcare workers take care of children. Specifically, they make sure children are safe and help with their education, hygiene, and social development. They may work in a childcare center, their own homes, or in the home of another family.

Childcare Center Director

  • Typical entry level education: Bachelor’s degree plus relevant experience
  • Median annual salary: $48,210 (2019)
  • Projected growth: 7% (faster than average)
  • Number of jobs: 66,700 (2018)

What does a Childcare Center Director do?

Childcare center directors are responsible for all aspects of the childcare center. They supervise staff, prepare budgets, design program plans, and oversee activities. In addition to that, they hire and train new staff. They may also meet with parents and staff to discuss students’ progress.

Elementary School Teacher

  • Typical entry level education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Median annual salary: $59,420 (2019)
  • Projected growth: 3% (slower than average)
  • Number of jobs: 1,569,000 (2018)

What does an Elementary School Teacher do?

Elementary school teachers instruct students in first through fifth or sixth grade. They educate students in a wide variety of subjects, such as math, reading, and writing. At the same time, they grade students’ assignments, supervise their students, and work with their students on any individual challenges that their students may face.

*This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer or guarantee of employment and that may help prepare students to meet the licensing or certification requirements of the field they choose to study. Students should check with the appropriate licensing or certifying body to make sure the program they apply to will help meet any licensing or certification requirements. Students should also consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific program curriculum.

Colleges With Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

Source for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.