A bachelor's degree in early childhood education is the way that most people enter the education field when they want to work with young children. Most of the time, the bachelor's degree program for early childhood education includes all of the clinical hours and test preparation required to achieve a professional teaching license and work in public or private schools. Also, this degree path is a great first step for aspiring educators who wish to work as a program administrator, teacher, or coach.
Students who choose this degree path will have to first complete the general education requirements for their university. After that, the focus moves toward more work with child development, professional teaching practice, and the clinical experience. The clinical experience is required for professional license acquisition and is a major component of the typical degree program.
The clinical sequence begins with observation hours, typically between 40 and 100, where the student can watch a professional teacher interact with and instruct their students. After that, students move into the student teaching experience, where they plan and implement lessons under the supervision of a cooperating teacher and a university supervisor. This program typically takes a full semester to complete, and students do not take any additional classes that are unrelated to the student teaching experience. The degree track for early childhood education can sometimes take nine semesters to complete as a result.
People who successfully complete the early childhood education degree program will have the skills required to set up and manage an early childhood classroom. They will also have a broad understanding of the way that young children learn and typically develop. A final area of emphasis is in special education law and procedures, since special education is a major component of the educator's job.
Anyone with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education can work in a pre-school or daycare setting. They can also teach in public and private schools if they apply for a license. Typically, the license allows teachers to serve in pre-kindergarten to third grade classrooms.