For people interested in helping children grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults, earning child development degrees online is a convenient first step. Graduates work in emotionally fulfilling and stable careers as teachers, social workers, early childhood intervention specialists, and child life specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that human services careers, including professions that require undergraduate online child development degrees, will grow 16% between 2016 and 2026 — 9% faster than the national average. Graduates with online degrees in child development also earn average salaries of $53,000 per year.
Although some of the top child development degree online programs have in-person components, most coursework takes place online. This format is flexible, convenient, and affordable compared to traditional programs. Many online child development degrees offer asynchronous courses, allowing students to complete coursework whenever it fits into their schedules — so long as they meet weekly deadlines. This mode is great for working students or people raising families.
Getting an online degree in child development saves money because students don't have to commute or live on campus. Similarly, online textbooks are usually cheaper than their printed counterparts, and many universities offer in-state tuition rates to online learners regardless of residency.
Affordable online degrees in child development open career paths in education, psychology, and social work, fields that require graduates to work directly with children to ensure healthy development. Earning an accredited child development degree online also qualifies learners for graduate school in any of these fields. Master's degrees in social work and psychology open even more career options, including jobs that require professional licensing.
The skills that students gain in an online child development degree program depend on that program's umbrella discipline. For example, some programs are offered by psychology departments, while others belong to education departments. However, there are a few critical skills that students gain with any of the best online child development degrees.
First, child development degree online candidates gain foundational knowledge about psychological development throughout the human lifespan. Students learn to design and execute lesson plans for different age groups, which helps them become teachers or classroom leaders. Programs usually include courses on both monitoring the development of individual children and analyzing entire development programs.
Finally, online degree in child development students gain communication skills that aid in talking to both children and parents. These skills are applicable to many professions and settings, including schools, daycares, social work agencies, and hospitals.
Students gravitate toward different aspects of childhood development based on their unique interests. For example, learners who do well with technology may want to create childhood development software, while others become teachers. Pay ranges vary by area of expertise. For example, social work assistants earn $33,120 per year on average, while the average salary for child life specialists is $41,173.
Childcare or Daycare: Graduates with child development degrees take care of children while their parents are at work or otherwise occupied. They may also work in management as daycare directors or administrators.
Public K-12 Education: Public schools educate students from kindergarten until they graduate high school — usually ages 5-18. Child development graduates may teach students directly or work in supplementary roles as guidance counselors or administrators.
Software Services: Many parents and educators use software to help guide childhood development. Graduates with child development degrees consult with technology professionals to develop these applications.
Individual or Family Social Services: Social service agencies ensure that people have the resources they need to lead healthy lives. Child development graduates help these agencies develop policies that keep children safe and healthy.
Healthcare Services: Pediatric hospitals and departments often employ child life specialists who hold child development degrees. These professionals help ill children feel comfortable in the healthcare environment, and may also assist in the development of clinical policies.
Annual Median Salary: $47,980
Many states require candidates to hold master's degrees before they can work as clinical social workers. However, applicants with bachelor's degrees can employment in other capacities, including as caseworkers. At this level, social workers connect clients with resources and perform administrative duties.
Annual Median Salary: $30,273
These educators care for children who have not yet reached school age. They design instructional activities and nurture emotional development. Preschool teachers work for public school districts, private schools, and daycare centers. Some states require licenses for preschool teachers.
Annual Median Salary: $56,900
In addition to bachelor's degrees, elementary school teachers must earn certifications before they can work. This process often involves subject-specific exams and tests on instructional practices. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers can educate students up to the fourth or fifth grade, depending on local regulations.
Annual Median Salary: $38,535
These professionals assess the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children from birth to three years of age. They often work for nonprofit organizations, social work agencies, or healthcare companies. After initial assessments, early intervention specialists make recommendations and connect parents with resources.
Annual Median Salary: $39,163
Child development graduates need several years of professional experience to fill these roles. Directors oversee childcare workers and their training, plan curricula, create meal plans, and manage enrollment, all while ensuring health and safety for kids in their care.
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