Early Childhood Education Degrees
The earliest years are critical for children. They must be academically prepared for kindergarten and beyond, but also socially and emotionally ready to grow and thrive.
Students in National’s BAECE program participate in off campus student teaching field-based experiences, 12 courses specific to early childhood education and general liberal arts courses leading up to an Associate of Science degree. Classes like Play as Pedagogy and Early Cognition help prepare students to understand child development.
Students pursuing degrees in early education can choose from undergraduate, associate, or master’s degree programs. A bachelor’s program prepares aspiring teachers to work with children from birth through grade 2. It often includes content coursework in core subjects like language arts and math, plus education courses that examine educational methods for this age group.
The degree program may also include coursework on topics like child development and learning theory, curriculum planning, and classroom management. These classes can help students build strong planning, communication, and leadership skills for roles like teacher or childcare worker.
At the graduate level, a master’s in education is the most common option for those interested in administrative positions within the field. These higher-level degrees study issues like curriculum design and administration, and they often require the completion of a dissertation. Students who pursue these degrees are preparing to lead schools, teacher training programs, and professional organizations. They must have exceptional interpersonal communication skills and the ability to manage resources.
As an undergraduate student in our early education program, you’ll take a variety of courses that explore the latest teaching and learning theories. You’ll also learn how to plan developmentally appropriate activities and develop strong communication skills.
During your fieldwork (also called practicum or internship), you’ll visit diverse early childhood education settings to observe and interact with children. This hands-on experience allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in class, and it prepares you for your future career.
We offer several different undergraduate and graduate programs in early education. These include a four-year bachelor’s degree in early education, as well as a five-year dual-degree program that combines a bachelor’s in early childhood and elementary education with a specialized master’s degree in teaching. Both programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This means you can be confident that you’re receiving a high-quality education. We’re one of only a few universities that have this accreditation.
In addition to classroom learning, you will have many opportunities for hands-on fieldwork. All teacher candidates complete a minimum of 200 hours of observation and child-care-giving field experience in schools BEFORE student teaching.
The program covers theories of child development and motivation to learn for children ages 2-6 and the skills you need to develop an engaging curriculum that cultivates young minds. You will also focus on creating a safe and nurturing environment that encourages good behaviors.
Students arrange Independent Fieldwork at sites such as schools, day care centers, community organizations or religious education programs and must obtain an approved Site Host Letter to document their fieldwork experiences. This form can be downloaded here. This course is a fieldwork placement linked to EED376 Reading/Language Arts Methods and EED379 Social Studies Methods. Open only to Education majors who have matriculated in this School. 15 fieldwork hours required.
Early childhood education can lead to careers in a variety of fields. Many of these careers require a degree in child development or an equivalent program. Most preschool teachers, for example, have a bachelor’s degree and are certified to teach children in the pre-K through third grade.
Other careers requiring a degree in early education include teacher’s assistant, school counselor, and special education teacher. The salary ranges for these positions, which are usually full-time jobs, vary depending on the field and the specific duties.
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