This article talks about Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree programs in Early Childhood Education and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
Master of Education (M.Ed.) Programs in Early Childhood Education
Students may expand their knowledge of educational policies, constructivist philosophies, educational materials, and learning environments through enrollment into master’s degree programs in early childhood education. Enrollees in most programs complete courses with a primary focus on theories of child development and learning.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. In some programs, applicants are expected to have experience in child development or other prior work experience with juveniles.
Participation in supervised internships or fieldwork may help students gain further experience and knowledge in curriculum planning and instruction. Students enrolled in programs in early childhood education are typically required to write a thesis, if they have continuing education plans through pursuit of a doctoral degree.
Coursework may involve the exploration of educational issues and trends, in addition to understanding learners’ needs. Coursework also involves delving into areas related to early childhood education, such as science, mathematics, reading, social studies, and arts. Core coursework may also cover topic areas such as:
Program graduates may aspire for an advanced role, such as mentor or lead teacher, or may seek transition to curriculum specialist or other administrative position. These programs target individuals who work with prekindergarten students through second-graders in childcare, education, and family support. Program graduates may choose from available job positions such as:
•Community college instructor
•Childcare center director
•Head Start specialist
Job and Wage Outlook
Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 17% has been predicted for preschool teachers. Over the same period, kindergarten and elementary school teachers are projected to see a 12% job growth. Preschool and childcare center directors are expected to witness a 17% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In May 2012, preschool teachers brought in an average annual wage of $27,130. Kindergarten teachers, elementary school teachers, and preschool and childcare center administrators earned respective average annual wages of $50,120, $53,400 and $43,950.
Continuing Education Choices
Program graduates may opt for continuing education by earning a doctoral degree with a focus on research in the field of early education that may lead to careers as scholars, researchers, and advocates.