February 24, 2018

The Benefits of an Early Childhood Education Degree

An early childhood education degree is a popular degree to pursue, and with good reason. If you have a knack for working with young children and have lots of patience, being an early childhood education teacher might be the right job for you.

Primary Benefits of Earning an Early Childhood Education Degree

Being an early childhood teacher offers plenty of paybacks. Students are generally more attached to their teachers in elementary school than in any other grade level. As an elementary school teacher, you have the potential to positively impact all your student’s lives and help them begin their road to success for their education goals.

Teachers in elementary also earn a fairly competitive wage. The average wage for elementary school teachers was $48,800 in May 2010 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $31,720 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $76,490.  Annual salary for a first year teacher is usually somewhere between $28,000 and $35,000.

In addition to your yearly wages, teachers have plenty of benefits provided to them by the state or the school district in which they are employed. Most school districts provide teachers with health insurance, life insurance, flexible benefits and tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement covers full or partial tuition if you are seeking to further your education while you teach.

The one benefit that all teachers love is the schedule. Schools close during national holidays as well as giving everyone time off for Christmas, spring break and the entire summer. Having the summer off also allows teachers to seek a second job to earn more income during those months. Most teachers take advantage of the long summer break and take family vacations, go visit friends, pursue their hobbies or get projects done around the house.

How to Earn an Early Childhood Education Degree

Once you decide that you would be the right fit to teach elementary school, you will need to enroll in an early childhood education program. Be certain that the program you select will provide you with the state requirements to obtain your teaching credentials.

There are many state and private universities that offer early childhood education bachelors and masters degree programs. There are also several schools online if you would like to earn your degree while you work or stay home with your family.

No matter which type of college you attend to earn your degree, prospective teachers are also required to complete several hours of student teaching experience. Student teaching usually occurs towards the end of your degree program. If you would like to experience what it might be like to be an elementary teacher, your academic advisor or career counselor can set up a shadowing opportunity at a local school. There are also opportunities to volunteer in afterschool programs and other ways at a local school. Volunteer work helps you add more teaching related experience to your resume as well.

It is recommended for students in education degree programs research the education and testing requirements for teaching certification. Since each state requires different teaching assessments and scores, you will want to be certain what is needed for the state in which you are seeking employment. All states at least require a teacher to hold a bachelors degree in education.

What Elementary Teachers Do

As a teacher in early childhood education, you can work with students as young as preschool age all the way to fifth or sixth grade (depending on the school district). Elementary school teachers will collaborate with a team of teachers in their grade level to create lesson plans, projects, assignments and special class activities that are appropriate for their age level to maximize learning.

An early childhood education teacher normally teaches in a self-contained classroom. This means that each teacher will instruct the students in all main subject areas including math, history, science and reading in their own classrooms. Most schools offer students the opportunity to attend special classes like art, music, physical education, media center and technology.

In addition to implementing lesson plans, elementary teachers are responsible for administering their own assessments as well as district and state mandated standardized tests. Teachers are also required to keep records of each student’s progress, scores on tests and other paperwork related to their education plan.

Being an early childhood teacher also requires you to teach the children proper behavior in school. You will need to enforce the overall school rules as well as individual classroom rules you wish to implement. Elementary students need to develop proper study skills as well, so teachers are responsible for working with students on different study methods and techniques

Early Childhood Education Teacher Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, elementary teaching positions are expected to grow by about 17 percent in the next ten years. This is about as fast as the average for all job growth.

Being an early childhood education teacher has numerous benefits. If you decide that teaching elementary school is right for your career choice, you will be an appreciated and highly valued asset to your community.



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