Earning a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online

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August 30, 2019

Should I Pursue a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online?

Obtaining an online early childhood education doctoral degree prepares students to teach in preschool and elementary classrooms. Learners explore child development, family and community impact on education, cultural diversity in classrooms, and curriculum models for early childhood subjects. Graduates often pursue state teaching certification to work in classrooms. Other common positions for graduates include childcare center director and instructional coordinator.

A doctorate also qualifies graduates to teach early childhood education courses at colleges and universities. Graduates may teach postsecondary courses online, applying distance communication skills obtained during their studies.

Postsecondary administrators, such as deans and provosts, may also need a doctorate. Additionally, some graduates of online early childhood education doctoral degree programs work in noneducational settings, such as at recreation camps for young children.

Professionals in any of these positions should love children and learning. Candidates should boast creativity and patience and be able to communicate with kindness and encouragement.

Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Graduates

Early childhood education doctoral programs prepare students to teach early math, science, and reading concepts to children. Careers in the field can be found in childcare centers, preschools, and elementary schools. The following sections provide an overview of some positions in the field, including growth projections, salary expectations, and descriptions of job duties.

Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Careers

Many early childhood education careers require only a bachelor's or associate degree. However, earning an online doctorate in early childhood education provides in-depth knowledge of child development and pedagogy that can give job seekers an edge. Doctoral programs also help learners hone research skills that graduates can apply when assessing classroom needs in administrative positions.

Graduates can also teach field concepts to early childhood education majors at colleges and universities. Candidates for the following positions should prioritize education for young children, think positively and analytically, and boast strong problem-solving and communication skills.

Early Childhood Education Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $36,000

These educators consider the physical, mental, emotional, and nutritional needs of children. Candidates explore play options to assist with children's development and encourage social interaction. Additional tasks may include looking for signs of special needs, informing families about their child's education, and ensuring classroom safety. Students earning a doctorate in early childhood education online gain child development knowledge that applies to these positions.

Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $47,000

These educators help children with special needs, including physical and cognitive difficulties. They determine each child's needs and design applicable lesson plans. Special education teachers may also keep records and discuss each student's development with their family. A doctorate in early childhood education teaches candidates important child development and learning strategies.

Preschool and Childcare Center Director

Annual Median Salary: $47,940

Preschool and childcare center directors make hiring decisions and manage staff. They also create policies, deliver professional development opportunities, manage budgets, and communicate with families. While this position typically requires only a bachelor's degree, earning a doctorate in early childhood education online provides students with advanced skills and knowledge.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $78,470

Postsecondary teachers design lesson plans and assignments for college-level courses in their discipline. These educators deliver lectures, help students choose courses, and research field topics for publication. Most schools require postsecondary teachers to hold a doctoral degree, such as an online early childhood education doctorate.

What Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Program?

Requirements for students completing early childhood education doctoral programs online vary. Factors impacting curricula include a student's concentration, credit requirements, and in-person components. For example, one doctoral program may include a capstone comprising extensive fieldwork, while another may feature a dissertation. Students should research prospective programs to determine which option best fits their budgets, scheduling needs, and career objectives. Although course requirements vary, early childhood education students often take the classes listed below.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Early Childhood Education

Legal Issues in Early Childhood Education

This course addresses legal concerns related to working in early childhood education, including the importance of up-to-date records. Students may also explore advocacy and the history of the field's legal concerns. Coursework prepares learners for careers that involve advocacy and for administrative K-12 positions. For example, an elementary school principal can apply information learned in this class to ensure classrooms adhere to legal regulations.

Language, Literacy, and Reading Instruction in Early Childhood Education

This class covers language development and acquisition in young children, as well as literacy teaching strategies for preschool and elementary classrooms. Coursework may focus on teaching special needs or English as a second language (ESL) learners. This class helps prepare students for careers as reading specialists, literacy teachers, and instructional coordinators.

Educational Research Methods

Students explore quantitative and qualitative research methods and theories. This course often addresses techniques for obtaining data, methods of interpreting data, and strategies for delivering research findings. Learners may also explore ways to apply research to improve early childhood education. Graduates can use this knowledge as instructional coordinators and writers for scholarly books, reports, and articles.

Curriculum and Instructional Strategies

Students in this course examine curriculum models and research to establish effective teaching techniques. Learners examine relevant technology and legal regulations and may study how to alter curricula for special needs students. This course prepares learners for roles as K-12 and preschool teachers and instructional coordinators.

Family and Community Relationships

This class explores the positive and negative impacts family and community can have on early childhood education. Learners connect these ideas to advocacy, cultural diversity, and dangers such as child abuse. Graduates can apply this information to coordinator positions at preschools and elementary schools.

Certifications and Licenses a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Prepares For

Professional Organizations & Resources

Early childhood education professional organizations often deliver conferences, seminars, and events that allow members to network and explore new ideas in the field. These professional connections can lead to career tips and recommendation letters that help candidates secure jobs. Organizations may provide additional career assistance through online job boards, and many associations offer workshops and training that may fulfill continuing education requirements for teaching certifications. Below are some popular organizations in the field; students and professionals can also search for local organizations.

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