Starting Salary of Preschool Teachers
Prerequisites to earn your degree in Early Childhood Education
If you plan to study to become an elementary teacher, it helps to understand the prerequisites for early childhood education degrees. With a degree in early childhood education from an accredited institution, you can work in elementary schools virtually anywhere in the United States. In fact, few elementary schools will employ a teacher who doesn’t possess an early childhood education degree. However, before you can earn your degree, you must meet certain requirements. Below are some of the most common prerequisites for students studying in early childhood education programs.
Prior to Enrollment
Before you can enroll in an early childhood education degree program, you must typically obtain a high school diploma or equivalent degree. Some early childhood education programs may also consider your grade point average during high school, as well as your scores on college entrance exams, such as the ACT or SAT. In addition, you may need to complete certain basic courses, such as mathematics or anatomy, before you can formally enroll. Even if you meet all of the requirements for enrollment, you may still need to compete with other applicants for acceptance.
Before Degree Conveyance
During the program, you will complete many different courses focusing on early childhood development, teaching strategies and classroom management, as well as more general subjects. In order to earn a degree, you must obtain a satisfactory grade in each of your required courses. Typical required courses cover subjects such as:
- Child development. Child development courses focus on elementary students’ physical, emotional and intellectual development as it relates to education.
- Learning disabilities. During these courses, you will learn about teaching students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and ADHD.
- Working with special needs children. Courses about children with special needs will teach you how to work with students who are disabled or need extra attention.
- Classroom organization. Classroom organization courses teach educators how to manage their classrooms and structure lessons so that everything runs smoothly.
- Discipline. Courses focusing on discipline teach future elementary school teachers how to enforce classroom rules without compromising the student-teacher relationship.
- Assessment techniques. Courses dealing with assessment instruct teachers on different methods to evaluate students’ progress and identify areas of weakness.
- Teaching strategies. Courses focused on teaching strategies help future teachers understand the different methods they can use to increase students’ understanding of course material.
- Lesson planning. In lesson planning courses, students learn how to develop lesson plans that cover topics thoroughly and keep students engaged.
- Elementary course material. Students pursuing a degree in early childhood education must take courses focusing on the material taught in elementary school, as well as the most effective strategies for presenting it to young learners.
Most early childhood education programs will also require you to take certain tests required for licensure, such as the Praxis I and Praxis II, and you may also be require to complete a certain amount of time observing other teachers, preparing lessons and actually teaching on your own. Finally, before you enter the workforce, you must apply for licensure from your state board of education.