Are you passionate about working with young children? Early childhood education (ECE) professionals work with birth to 8-year-old children.
If you’re considering a career in ECE this exciting field has many opportunities. Take this quiz to help decide where your skill sets might best fit, and read on to learn more about ECE.
What career opportunities are there in the ECE field?
Birth-5 early learning centers positions include:
- Classroom aide
- Assistant teacher
- Teacher (group supervisor)
K-12 school setting positions include:
- Special education teacher
- School psychologist
- Grade K-4 teacher
- Assistant principal
Note: It’s possible to advance your career from one position into another – read on for examples of career pathways in ECE!
What does working in ECE look like day-to-day in various positions?
What you do daily depends on your position and employer! Here are some examples:
Assistant teachers in PHLpreK centers:
- Create and implement lesson plans
- Ensure that children are developing cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally
- Work with parents and guardians
- Float from classroom to classroom, educating and caring for students
School principals in K-12 schools:
- Ensure that teachers and staff feel supported and have the resources they need
- Oversee students in grades 1-4
- Ensure that the school is in compliance with state and federal laws
- Perform both teacher and student observations
- Provide professional development opportunities to staff
- Conduct classroom observations
- And more
What are the opportunities for advancement in the field?
There are many opportunities to learn and grow in ECE, and to formally advance to new positions. For example, you can enter the field as a classroom aide and become an assistant teacher, or move from a teaching position into a director role.
Outside of the classroom, you can…
- Explore administrative-type positions, like those of directors or principals
- Maintain contact with children by becoming a school psychologist or nurse
- Venture into early childhood policy
Is it possible to approach ECE as a second career?
Definitely! Many ECE professionals say that they’ve entered into ECE after retiring from another career, or that ECE is their second job, where they’ve found their true calling.
Are there supports can help pay for ECE education and training?
Yes! Check out Pennsylvania’s T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Scholarship.
What kind of training/certification do ECE professionals need?
It really depends on where you’d like to be working. In publicly-funded K-12 spaces lead teachers need pre-K to 4th grade certification. Outside of the public school system, lead teachers require an associate’s degree and some years of experience if you want to be a lead teacher in a center-based setting.
However, work is being done to align both systems because research shows the importance of all teachers understanding child development and best practices.
I’m interested in joining the ECE field! What should I do next?
- Reach out to some of the centers near you!
- Talk to directors about what the center provides for its students.
- Speak to these providers about job opportunities.
Stop by some college campuses!
- Learn more from program directors, professors, or even students pursuing the field
Join networking and career fair events!
- The Mayor’s Office of Education hosts ECE career events throughout the year. Follow our Facebook page for event announcements including:
- May 22, 2019: Spring job fair
- August 2019: ECE networking mixer
- Fall 2019: Professional development fair
Join a professional organization: