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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that early childhood education teachers make approximately $28,570 per year with an associate's degree. They also estimate that kindergarten and elementary teachers make around $54,550 each year with a bachelor's degree. Any of these teachers who have a master's degree related to the field of education will make more money than their career counterparts.

The Associate Degree

Almost all employers of early childhood and preschool teachers require two-year degrees. Many trade, technical and community colleges offer degree programs that are approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. There are over 160 schools in over 30 states that offer this type of NAYEC-accredited associate degree programs. This degree will include classes that focus on the social, physical, emotional and academic development of young children.

Classes will cover early childhood classroom observations, assessments, technology, curriculum, and management. Students are prepared to create environments that promote high quality, nurturing and learning for children. Class assignments may teach students how to plan and implement activities that stimulate students and prepare them for learning new skills and vocabulary. Students will practice supervising outdoor activities and interactive games that develop motor coordination and peer cooperation skills.

The Teaching Assistant Certificate

Teacher's aides and assistants who have a two-year degree often seek additional certification to boost their employability. These certificate programs will cover the topics of children's literature, classroom management, educational psychology and child development. Some community colleges offer one-year programs for teacher aides who do not have the time or finances to full two-year degrees. These long-term programs will include topics like creative activities, safety guidelines, food nutrition, language usage, literacy development and pre-school math and science.

These certificate programs usually work in conjunction with an internship under the direction of a lead teacher. This helps new teachers to learn about educational program preparation, implementation, and evaluation. These teachers may assist with lessons, prepare materials, read to groups and work one-on-one with students who need extra help. Classroom administration training covers record keeping, playground supervision, inventory management and special education planning.

The Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in childhood education qualifies graduates to work as kindergarten and early elementary teachers. This degree will meet the educational requirements for directors of preschools, Head Starts, and community child development programs. A Bachelor's of Education (B.Ed.) will include general education courses related to the sciences, fine arts and humanities. There will also be classes in communication, pedagogical theories, teaching methods and the basics of subject matter.

This major's electives may explore the theoretical foundations of remedial reading, childhood education, spelling development and media technology. Classes that teach early childhood curriculum and instructional methods, such as the arts and sciences, are quite popular. Other electives may teach students about research processes, media resources, classroom technology and data-driven decisions in early childhood education.

Anyone who wants to be the most successful in the field of early childhood education should pursue a master's degree in education. The many degree specializations that are available for this degree will certainly help meet the career goals of all students.

See also: Best Value Schools - The Most Affordable Master's in Child Development and Early Childhood Studies Degree Programs

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