What Can You Do With an Early Childhood Education Degree?

If you’re considering a career as an early childhood educator, you can be confident that you’re on the right track. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the employment of early childhood educators, such as preschool teachers, will grow 15% from 2021 to 2031. Early childhood educators are some of the most influential people in a kid’s life, significantly influencing the future of every child they encounter.

So, what can you do with an early childhood education degree? Many careers are available to graduates of early childhood education (ECE) degrees that are exciting and fulfilling. If you’re interested in working with young children and want to make a positive difference in their lives, an ECE degree is an excellent option.

What Is an Early Childhood Education Degree?

An ECE degree is a program that helps students prepare to work with children between birth and eight years old — a crucial period of their growth and development. During this time, children acquire a wide range of meaningful life and social skills, such as talking, walking, interacting with others and other fundamental growth and development skills.

Courses in ECE degree programs will familiarize you with:

  • Teaching and measuring fundamental life and social skills.
  • Planning activities that promote physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
  • Developing students’ independence, interests, self-esteem and creativity.
  • Learning appropriate teaching techniques from ECE philosophies and general education courses.

An ECE program can either be an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree. So, what degree is best for early childhood education? It depends on what your career and financial goals are. An associate degree in early childhood education may prepare you for entry-level work in a childcare center and will be helpful if you plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree later. An ECE bachelor’s degree is required if you want to work as a public or private school teacher. People pursuing a doctorate degree in ECE typically aim to work in the field as researchers or educators of the future.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Early Childhood Education Degree?

People with an ECE degree often work at schools or childcare facilities. However, there are other jobs you can get with an early childhood education degree:

  • Preschool teacher: As a preschool teacher, you plan educational activities for children who are not yet old enough to start kindergarten. Tasks may include preparing and teaching lessons, overseeing learning activities and tracking student progress.
  • Special education teacher: Special education educators work with children under eight years old who have a disability. Tasks may include instructing and evaluating students, defining academic objectives, monitoring progress toward goals and altering materials for students.
  • Childcare center director: You can also act in a supervisory role where you manage a learning center for younger kids. You can employ, oversee and monitor teachers and other facility personnel to ensure they’re fulfilling the requirements of the pupils. You may also be responsible for business-related activities such as tracking financing, remaining in line with rules and interacting with parents.
  • Childcare worker: As a childcare worker, you’ll have comparable duties to preschool instructors, although they’re more likely to work outside a typical classroom setting. Tasks for this position may include overseeing children during the day, setting timetables and teaching them new ideas.
  • Nanny: As a nanny, you’ll be involved in the child’s everyday care. Preparing meals, driving them to after-school activities, planning playdates and overseeing children in their homes are all part of your employment.

So, is early childhood teaching a good career? Yes, if it aligns with your career and financing goals and your passion for children and education. Just because you pursue a degree in ECE doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll only become a teacher. Researching the education market is essential to determine whether or not ECE is a promising career for you.

Average Salary for Early Childhood Teaching Jobs

The average early childhood education salary in Massachusetts can range from $36,479-$45,986 in 2023. This salary range can vary depending on your specific job, location, education and experience level. In addition, some early childhood education jobs may offer additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans and vacation time.

Here are some average salaries for a few career paths within this field:

Is Early Childhood Education a Good Major?

Majoring in ECE is an excellent investment if you have a passion for children and want to help them develop into healthy and independent individuals. While it’s not hard to major in early childhood education, this field of study is also not as simplen as many assume. Early childhood educators need to wear several hats and be cognizant of the educational, behavioral and developmental concerns of their students. ECE instructors teach all curriculum areas, including language and literacy, visual arts, math, motor skills and social sciences.

To help you decide whether ECE is a good major for you, consider the following traits that can help you succeed in your ECE degree:

  • You’re confident: ECE professionals may find themselves in challenging positions where they must utilize their leadership abilities to motivate and encourage students to do the right things.
  • You’re driven: Knowing that you’re making a difference in a child’s life may encourage teachers to persist, even on the most challenging days.
  • You’re patient: Young children are still learning to self-regulate and manage their emotions, which can be facilitated with a patient teacher. Educators must have a long fuse for a roller coaster of emotions as children learn to focus and pay attention.
  • You’re creative: You’ll need to design lessons that captivate young children and allow them to learn via hands-on activities. Every child has their own interests, learning styles, personalities and cultural customs.
  • You’re adaptable: Whether children arrive late to class one morning, a partner teacher is off ill or an evaluator swings by for the day, teachers may be called upon to make last-minute changes to planned projects.
  • You’re energetic: Energetic youngsters require an active teacher. Early childhood educators must also infuse life into their classrooms by establishing an appealing environment that interests young children.
  • You’re social: Building and maintaining an open and supportive relationship with students and their parents may make or break a child’s experience.

If you’re interested in this field, there are a few good minors for early childhood education majors to take. Consider the following five minors to pair with your ECE major:

  • Psychology
  • Child development
  • Sociology
  • Communications
  • Special education

Complete Your Early Childhood Education Degree at MWCC

Mount Wachusett Community College offers students affordable, high-quality, creative and relevant education and training. Our ECE degree curriculum will equip students to begin a career working with children aged 0-5. The program at MWCC has a high job placement record, flexible programs and opportunities to obtain real-world experience.

Request more information or complete your free application online to start your career in ECE.