Early Childhood Education The field of early childhood education (ECE) includes daycare center workers, pre-kindergarten teachers, and preschool teachers, who all work with children six years old and younger preparing them for future schooling. Depending on the ECE program, graduates may also be qualified to work as kindergarten teachers or special needs instructors as well. Preschool teaching is expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the education field over the next 10 years. Preschool Teachers Preschool teachers are some of the most influential instructors in young lives. They help students to observe, investigate, learn, and improve motor skills, and they also encourage creativity, imagination, and mental, physical, emotional, and social growth with educational experiences through play. Preschool teachers may use art, music, and other creative outlets to keep students motivated and interested. Early childhood education workers must be trained in child development as they are responsible for evaluating children’s mental, physical, emotional, and social progress and relaying this information to school administrators and parents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean salary for preschool teachers in 2007 was $25,800, with a median hourly wage of $12.40. The highest earners pulled in $40,330 per year while the lowest earned $15,380. The highest earners among preschool teachers worked in elementary and secondary schools while the lowest earners worked in child day care services. Other industries that employed preschool teachers include individual and family services and civic, social, and religious organizations. The top paying states for preschool teachers in 2007 were New Jersey, Michigan, Washington DC, Minnesota, and New York. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 437,000 people were employed as preschool teachers in 2006 and expect much faster than average ten-year growth in the occupation. Because preschool enrollment is expected to grow and because more states are focusing on early childhood education, some even offering universal preschool, the BLS predicts a 26% increase in preschool teaching employment by 2016. The highest concentrations of preschool teachers in 2007 data were in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Georgia. To become a preschool teacher, you will need at least an associate degree, but many public schools require a bachelor’s degree. Many preschool teachers start out as assistants and work up to being a full-fledged preschool teacher. Certificates National University: Early Childhood Special Education Certificate Penn Foster Career School Child Development Associate Certificate Associate Degrees Ashworth College: Early Childhood Education Independence University: Early Childhood Education Kaplan University: Interdisciplinary Studies/Early Childhood Development Emphasis Northampton Community College: Early Childhood Education Nova Southeastern University: Early Childhood Education Penn Foster College: Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degrees Ashford University: BA Early Childhood Education Fort Hays State University: BS Education-Early Childhood Education Unified National University: BA Early Childhood Education Walden University: BS Child Development Master’s Degrees Capella University: MS Early Childhood Education Ellis University: MA Teaching: Early Childhood Education Specialization Regis University: MEd Early Childhood University of Phoenix: MA Education/Early Childhood Education Doctorate Degrees Walden University: Early Childhood Education Find Preschool Teaching Jobs · CareerBuilder · Jobster · SimplyHired.com

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