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Degree Overview: Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in Early Childhood Development

Majors Overview February 4, 2014

Receive information about an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in early childhood development and its coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.S. Programs in Early Childhood Development

Students enrolled in AS programs in early childhood development are trained to work with kids as teachers or assistant teachers from the time the children are born right up to when they turn eight.

Coursework is devised to include a broad array of study areas germane to the education needs of young kids including child development and classroom instruction. Students enrolled in some programs are additionally taught about cultural diversity in preparing them for working with a diverse student population. Admission criteria in an AS program in early childhood development typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


The curriculum focuses on courses in the social sciences and humanities and includes participation by students in a student-teacher practicum. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Literature for children
•Observation and participation
•Math and science in early childhood education
•Exceptional learners
•Language and literacy development
•Early childhood creative arts
•Early childhood foundations

Career Choices

Those who graduate from an AS in Early Childhood Development can seek entry-level occupations in a variety of organizations including Head start schools, preschools and childcare centers, in positions such as:

•Childcare center teacher
•Teacher assistant/aide
•Head Start teacher

Continuing Education Choices

Students enrolled in AS degree programs are often allowed to transfer credits earned to a four-year bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. They can also choose to pursue continued education beyond the bachelor’s degree by earning a master’s degree in early childhood education wherein students can learn to devise the curriculum and play leadership roles in the industry.

There are different regulations and rules for working in this field, in each state. While some require applicants to hold a high school diploma, others demand an early childhood education degree; still others mandate a national Child Development Associate (CDA) credential; (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) whereby the credential holder can demonstrate his competency in the industry. Both high school students involved with vocational programs in early education and those who can showcase competence in the field can aspire for the credential.

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