An associate degree is required by employers in the child care industry; however, it isn’t mandatory. Students involved in associate degree programs, in child care, undergo training in child development and earn experience by working in schools or day care centers.
Associate Degree Programs in Child Care
Graduates in these programs will be prepared to work with children in care centers or schools. The graduates may also choose to become entrepreneurs by starting their businesses in the child care field. Community colleges and technical and vocational schools offer associate degree programs in child care, which ordinarily take four or five semesters to complete. Students are imparted the practical know-how needed to run a child care business, including administrative procedures, safety practices, and educational topic areas, such as working with children who have special needs and language development. Students enrolling into Associate of Child Care programs typically need to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Placement tests may be required to fulfill by those who are seeking admission to these programs.
Coursework includes a variety of aspects, of child development and early childhood education. Programs may teach students the business management skills they would need to run a child care center successfully. Working directly with kids will give students plenty of experience in child care. Coursework may typically include the following topic areas:
•Special needs children
•Recognizing child abuse
•Curriculum for early childhood education
•Nutrition for young children.
•Technology for educators
Job and Wage Outlook
An average job growth rate of 11% has been projected for child care workers during the period from 2008 to 2018; (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This projection is partly attributable to an anticipated increase in stress on the necessity for education programs, for young children. In May 2010, child care workers earned an average annual wage of $19,300 (BLS).
Continuing Education and Professional Certification Choices
Some job employers prefer child care workers with a professional certification (BLS). The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is offered by the Council for Professional Recognition, while the Child Care Professional (CCP) credential is offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) Commission. Child care providers, in various areas, are evaluated by both organizations that rely on classroom observation and rate child care workers on their ability to communicate with families, while taking their work experience into account. Professional certification can be renewed through continued training. Those who successfully complete an associate degree program in child care may choose to continue their education, by going on to enroll in a four-year degree program in early childhood education.