Children and the quality of the early care and education they receive are critically important. Studies have shown that children who receive high-quality early care and education, particularly those from low-income, vulnerable families,  are more likely to:

  • Graduate high school
  • Pursue secondary education
  • Become contributing members of society

Given the often abysmal wages earned teaching in an early childhood program or as a family child care provider, you might wonder why anyone working in this capacity would want to seek out a higher education degree or certificate. Some might say there is no career path in the field of early childhood education, so how could earning a degree translate into a better opportunity for advancement and increased earnings?

There is a career path in the early childhood field. Many people in the field began their careers while working in a classroom or as a family child care provider or grew up in the field, became better educated and now hold a variety of jobs in the field.

Careers in Early Care and Education National Directory – 6th Edition

This directory was created to introduce you to the variety of careers in the early childhood field. It contains a sampling of different types of employment opportunities in the early childhood education field. Each page includes an overview of a role in our field (such as family specialist/counselor or teacher of young children). It includes a discussion of the role, job possibilities and education recommended for the job as well as information and links to financial aid sources.

Careers in Early Care and Education

  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Family Child Care Educators
  • Administrators/Directors of Center-Based Programs
  • Professional Development Specialists and Trainers
  • Higher Education Faculty
  • Family Specialists/Counselors
  • Infant and Toddler Mental Health Specialists
  • Researchers
  • Early Childhood Non-profit Managers

Why a College Degree or Certificate for Early Educators?

More than a decade of research is reflected in state and federal mandates put in place to improve child outcomes and prepare children for school and life. In some cases, these mandates include education requirements that have created an unprecedented need for early childhood teachers to obtain college degrees and credentials at all levels of higher education.

Contrary to popular beliefs, more than two decades of T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® data show there is a career path for early educators who earn degrees and credentials in early childhood education.

  • Assistant teachers become lead teachers
  • Teachers become directors
  • Teachers move from
    • for-profit to not-for-profit centers
    • community-based early childhood programs to Head Start
    • Head Start to Prekindergarten

Student Success Resources