A young girl reads a red book

Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education/Development

For people who are already practicing educators, a master's degree in early childhood education and development allows for both the advancement into program administration and a chance to enhance professional practice. Depending on the focus of the master's degree, students will learn advanced topics in early child development, classroom management, and both public and private school administration.

Master's Degree Coursework

Since all of the general education credits are taken at the bachelor's degree level, the master's degree track is much shorter. Most programs are anywhere from 36-48 credit hours, meaning 12-16 courses. All of these courses are related to education and often link to a specific emphasis. For example, a master's in early childhood education could focus heavily on pre-literacy skills and the way that children develop language and communication skills.

If you can't make it to a campus, it's also possible to get your Master's degree in the comfort of your own home. Many universities are giving students the opportunity to get their degree online. You'll complete the same coursework as students in the class, which can be convenient for those that have a job during the day. Before enrolling in an online degree plan, make sure it's certified.


Since advanced degrees are designed to help improve professional practice, many of the most important skills for successful educators are analyzed. For example, the management of an early childhood classroom has a lot to do with setting up authentic play experiences for children. Advanced study in the structure and elements of an effective play-based classroom are common topics for study and development in these advanced studies.

Also, for those who aim to move into program administration, school law and finance are often a component of study. Since administrators must understand and abide by all related funding and equal access laws, the master's degree can help educators prepare for those responsibilities. Data management and analysis are a significant part of modern education as well, so master's degree programs often include the development of these skills as well.

Employment Outlook

A master's degree in early childhood education can lead to a variety of jobs. In areas where funding is not an obstacle, the master's degree makes early childhood teachers more desirable hires. Also, the educational administration landscape enjoys a positive job outlook. On top of that, a master's degree in early childhood education leads to university instructor positions and jobs in teacher preparation. The master's degree in early childhood education substantially broadens an educator's options.

Last Updated: August 03, 2018