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North Carolina: Early Childhood Education Outlook

A career in education is one of the most rewarding jobs available. Early childhood education focuses on children from birth through kindergarten and is an area of expected job growth, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics . There are many opportunities for careers in ECE (early childhood education) including as a teacher, a teacher’s aide and a director of a childcare facility. All of these jobs are expected to grow by 25% from 2010 to 2020, which is a higher than average growth rate for a profession in the United States.

The educational requirements and pay for these careers both vary depending on the exact position. A kindergarten teacher receives a higher pay than a preschool teacher, but also requires more education.  Kindergarten teachers need a bachelor degree as a minimum, while most preschool teachers are only required to receive an associate degree.

Preschool teachers and child care center directors in North Carolina only require an associate degree or certain certifications available through the state. Researching the exact needs of the facility in which you are interested in working can give you the best idea of the requirements.

North Carolina Early Childhood Education Programs

North Carolina is supported by the Head Start program which allows low-income students to get the same opportunities for preschool as other students. Private preschools are also available. Younger children may be eligible for low-cost or free child care as well if the parents can meet certain income and residency requirements.

All early childhood education programs in the state of North Carolina are sponsored and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services, assuring that all are run according to the regularly reviewed state requirements.

Early Childhood Special Education Programs

Early intervention services are an important part of the ECE program in North Carolina. Children from birth to kindergarten age are eligible for therapy, classes and play groups sponsored by the DHHS. Parents who suspect their children would benefit from such programs can contact Early Intervention Services themselves or be referred by a pediatrician. In many cases, these services can make a major difference in getting these children the start they need.

North Carolina: Kindergarten Policies

Kindergarten Entrance Date: Children must be age 5 on or before September 1st of that year.

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Compulsory School Age: 6 (first grade)

Minimum Hours/Days for Kindergarten: Kindergarten is not required, but in most schools it is part of the standard elementary school day.

Admission Requirements for Kindergarten: Must meet age and immunization requirements in line with the local school district.

Kindergarten Teaching Certification Requirements: This is one of the bachelor degree teaching opportunities within the state–though advanced degrees are also encouraged.

Early Childhood Education Program Outlook

North Carolina is dedicated to constantly improving and changing their early childhood education programs to better meet the needs of students and give them the start they need for a lifetime of education in the state. Over the next few years, the state plans to expand its initiatives to include more children in the state-sponsored pre-K programs- hopefully one day including all children.

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