Little Kids, Big Responsibilities: How an Online Child Care Education Can Enhance Your Career
If you were told that your job would have a lasting effect on a young child's life, would you feel energized and inspired by that knowledge? If you were surrounded by ten young children, each of whom needed something from you, would you meet the challenge with a smile? Do you get excited when you see young children learning new things, or reaching developmental milestones?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, you have the makings of a great early childhood educator. Whether you're interested in early child care--caring for children from birth through age 5--or working in a more formal learning environment, such as a preschool serving children ages 3 to 5, you can be in the position of helping shape the life of a young child.
If this is the career that motivates you to get out of bed every morning, consider these five reasons to choose a child care education online.
1. Early childhood education is a good choice for career-seekers.
Few career-seekers want to choose a profession with limited job opportunities, particularly when the economy is tight. Fortunately for those who love to be with children, child care educators are--and should remain--in high demand.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2009, 595,650 people were employed as child care workers. The BLS projects employment growth of 11 percent from 2008 through 2018, as an increasing number of parents join the workforce.
Preschool teachers should be in even greater demand; the BLS projects job growth by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, as more schools offer preschool programs to meet parents' needs for quality care.
2. Child care and preschool workers are facing more stringent educational requirements.
At present, each state has different requirements for child care workers and preschool teachers. Some states require a college degree, while others have no educational requirements. However, there is a clear trend toward higher education requirements among early childhood workers.
This trend is driven, in large part, by the research: Experiences in early childhood shape the structure of the brain, and, according to the American Society of Pediatrics, can have a profound influence on children's health, development, and ability to learn.
This is a key reason parents are increasingly looking for child care providers and preschool teachers with top credentials and the reason that educational requirements are becoming more rigorous.
For example, according to the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, by October 2011, each Head Start classroom must have at least one teacher with an associate's degree or higher. By September 2013, at least 50 percent of all Head Start teachers must have a bachelor's or advanced degree.
3. A higher education better enables you to advance your career.
Gone are the days when child care workers could be assured of moving up the ranks solely through job experience. Now, with states leaning toward higher educational requirements and more overall competition for jobs, applicants need an advanced education to secure higher-level jobs.
An online child care education or online child care education courses could qualify you for a range of positions, including lead teacher or school director. Professionals with a background in child care education are also needed in community-based organizations, children's hospitals, scientific research and development services, and more.
4. Child care education and online learning are a good match.
Some of the earliest opportunities in online education were offered to educators, and education continues to be one of the most popular disciplines for online schools. Why?
- People already working in the field of education--including those who work with young children--often have limited time availability, and can benefit greatly from a flexible education they can complete at their own pace.
- Educators can learn a tremendous amount from the experiences of their peers. Many online child care education courses involve people with a wide range of experience from all over the country. Distance education usually supports--and relies on--peer-to-peer communication, networking, and even instruction, making online education a great choice for educators.
- A 2009 study funded by the Department of Education found that students performed better through online instruction than in face-to-face learning environments.
5. You can keep working in the field while you get your degree.
If you're a child care worker, you may want to prepare yourself for a better job--or secure your present one--without losing your income. In 2009, that was a mean annual wage of $20,940 for child care workers, and $27,450 for preschool teachers. (Members of both professions often work part time.) Workers who take child care education classes online can complete coursework when they have a free hour or two without sacrificing their incomes. Furthermore, real-world experience from a classroom or child care center is often invaluable material to apply to one's education.
Online child care education is becoming a popular option for professionals who choose a higher education. It's also a great choice for workers interested in job security, and in ensuring that the effect they have on the lives of young children is a wholly positive one.