Online Child Care Degree Programs
Child care professionals can be found in after-school programs, day care facilities, and private homes. Though they work mainly with children, child care workers must communicate often with parents and guardians, discussing a child's individual process and suggesting ways that the child's learning and development can be further stimulated within the home. Working in child care is challenging and rewarding, and those who choose to enter the field typically enjoy interacting with children of varying ages.
Career Training in Child Care
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many employers now require at least an associate's degree in early childhood education. Programs in early childhood education are available on campus or online at vocational schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. Degrees range from certificates, which take about a year to complete, to doctoral degrees, which typically involve five years of graduate study. The most common qualification for child care careers, the associate's degree, may be completed in two years.
Child care and early childhood education degrees typically include basic courses in child development and psychology, child care regulations and laws, and child health and safety. In addition, students may take elective courses in the following areas:
- Curriculum development
- CPR and first aid
- Nutrition education
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Creative arts for young children
- Elementary reading instruction
- Day care management
Many child care and child education programs also incorporate opportunities for hands-on practice through internships at schools and child care facilities.
Careers in Child Care
Child caregivers may work either as employees of a child day care facility or as private contractors. Child care jobs emphasize basic care, but also include some teaching and activity coordination. Most child caregivers work in day care centers, preschools, or child recreation programs. About a third of all child care workers are self-employed, according to the BLS. Those who provide child care in their homes make up the largest portion. Because such jobs rely heavily on referrals and word-of-mouth advertising, many self-employed child care workers obtain formal career training to prove their credentials.
Some child care workers use their background to transition into related careers requiring broader skills and greater responsibility. Common career trajectories include advancement from day care into the education system, where child caregivers may train for positions as preschool or elementary school teachers. Others take on management and administrative responsibility at a child care facility or become program managers or directors.
Salary for child care careers depends highly on the type of job. Median annual earnings of child care workers were $19,670 in 2007, but this reflects the high number of part-time employees. Full-time professionals with college degrees can command more. Day care center teachers make a base salary of $26,973, according to Salary.com. Child care center directors earn $60,749.
Opportunities are strong in child care, as working parents continue to drive demand for day care providers. The Department of Labor predicts 18 percent job growth in the decade from 2006 through 2016. A growing emphasis on child development and early education will boost opportunities for child care workers with formal training and credentials in early childhood education.
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- Child Day Care Management
- Early Childhood Education
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- Accelerated Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Degree
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- MEd in Early Childhood Education