Have You Considered a Career in Early Childhood Education?

Early Childhood Educators

Have you considered a career in Early Childhood Education? Are you aware of what Early Childhood Education is and why it is so important? Do you know what the requirements are to become an early childhood educator? In this article, I hope to provide you with the information you need to make the choice to take that leap and move into the field of Early Childhood Education.

What is Early Childhood Education?

The quote below clearly defines what Early Childhood Education is and why it is so important. The contribution by early childhood educators is of immense importance to a child’s development in the early formative years.

“The field of early childhood education deals with teaching and educating young children, usually at a preschool level. Early childhood education emerged as a separate branch of education after several studies were conducted and indicated that the years before a child goes to kindergarten are the most critical for developing their learning abilities and social skills. These studies were conducted by the Department of Education, and several other government organizations in different countries. The increasing awareness about the importance of education during these formative years has led to a special emphasis in educating children in a manner that ensures optimum intellectual, physical, emotional and social development.” Excite Education

Getting Started

If you are a high school student, many high schools now have an early childhood education career path. Talk to your counselor to see what steps you need to take and get on that path if you have a desire to work with young children.

If you are a college student, seek out those classes in the field of early childhood education. Talk to your counselor and the PD Specialist.

If you are already out in the workforce and looking to change careers, consider applying at a local childcare center to get your foot in the door. Previously, Kidz World published an article, Preschool or Daycare, Knowing What to Ask. That article explains the difference between a preschool setting and a daycare setting. That article will help you to know what questions to ask to lead you to understand which of your local centers align with your goal to become an early childhood educator.

The job growth in the field of Early Childhood Education is expected to grow by 7% from 2016-2024 as noted by the BLS. Given that enrollment in preschools has increased by 43% in the past two decades, you can see why more early educators are needed.

The Educational Path (for Kentucky, your state may have varying requirements)

  1. Commonwealth Child Care Credential (CCCC)
  2. Child Development Associate (CDA)
  3. Director’s Credential
  4. Associate Degree in ECE
  5. Bachelor’s Degree in ECE

Scholarships/Grants

The first thing that hits the mind when most people consider furthering their education is money. How will I pay for it? Well, I’ve got good news! In Kentucky, we have the Kids Now Scholarship.

The qualifications for receiving the scholarship are:

Eligible applicants for scholarships must be employed at least 20 hours per week in a participating early childhood facility or employed as an associate teacher in the state-funded preschool program and commit to continue employment for six (6) months at the participating early childhood facility upon obtaining the Child Development Associate (CDA); or one (1) year upon obtaining an Early Childhood Associate Degree or the Kentucky Early Childhood Development Director’s Credential, paid for in part by a scholarship; or six (6) months at a participating early childhood facility and one (1) additional year at an early childhood facility located in Kentucky upon obtaining the early childhood credential or a baccalaureate degree, paid for in part by a scholarship.

Who to Contact

If you are interested in embarking on this path in the Henderson and surrounding Kentucky areas, please contact, Professor Bridget Murray via email at bridget.murray@kctcs.edu or phone at Henderson Community College (270) 831-9679. She is the PD for this area as well as the professor for many of the ECE classes and she would be happy to help!

In Closing

Making the decision about what field you want to work in is never easy. Deciding to do something you have a great passion for is much easier! Is working with children, making a difference in a child’s life, and teaching, is that something that you really want to do? Why wait? Now is the time to take that step and keep taking one step at a time until you receive the education you need to fulfill that role. It all starts with a high school diploma or GED… if you have that, you have already taken the first step to achieving your dream job.

Author: Belinda Davis ©2018