As the nation's teachers, counselors and daycare workers know well, children are the future. For many early childhood educators, teaching isn't just a job--it's a passion and a calling. Even so, the opportunities for advancement in this field are more readily available to those who have a background in child development. Online degrees in early childhood development offer the skills and qualifications individuals need to open doors in teaching, child care and counseling.
Online degrees in child development
An online education degree in child development provides students with training in child psychology, sociology, teaching, learning development, physical and educational disabilities, and the role of movement and play in development. Students also learn about family dynamics and the effects of stress, violence and other types of trauma on the development of a child. This combination of practical and theoretical teaching creates a solid foundation for a career in a variety of fields, including:
- Nursery school teacher
- Preschool, primary or elementary school teacher
- Child psychologist or psychotherapist
- Special education teacher
- Daycare worker
- Extracurricular education instructor (such as a music or dance teacher)
The majority of child development degrees are offered at the bachelor's and master's levels, and may take anywhere from two to four years to complete. Some doctoral programs in child development also exist and may be required for certain administrative or research positions in the field.
Build a career in childcare, teaching or counseling
According to California State University, graduates with a degree in child development often go on to work in health care, education, government and social services. They may find jobs in research, teaching administration, curriculum development, counseling, parent-child education, advocacy, or even marketing of products directed at parents and children. Many of these jobs require a bachelor's degree at the minimum.
Students who pursue online degrees in child development are able to continue working as they develop skills that may lead to a promotion or career change. The versatility and flexibility of an online program is ideal for anyone who has a full-time job or a family to support while he or she completes his or her education.
People who succeed in early education, child care and psychotherapy careers are almost always passionate about teaching and truly enjoy working with young children. They are fascinated by human psychology and by the cognitive, emotional, and social development of children. It's also important for anyone working in this field to have a combination of patience, compassion and practicality.
For anyone interested in work in early education or child care, a degree in child development is a vital stepping stone toward a fulfilling job and career path.
Child development careers at a glance
- Education: Degrees are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels
- Careers: Degree holders commonly go into education, child care or counseling
- Salary: The mean annual salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is $72,540 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010) The mean annual salary for special education teachers in elementary, primary and preschool is $55,220 (BLS, 2010) The mean annual salary for childcare workers is $21,110 (BLS, 2010)
- Key skills: Important skills and interests include teaching, children, psychology, patience and compassion