dcsimg
 

Child Development Degree and Programs

Home > Education > Child Development

A growing understanding of child development has made it clear just how important the stages of early childhood can be to a person's well-being later in life. A degree program in psychology, early education or related fields can prepare you to work as a teacher, childcare director, community worker or other professional responsible for shaping a healthy environment for children.

Child Development Degrees

Degree plans that include child development courses can be found at multiple academic levels, with varying depth and intensity of study appropriate to the complexity of the program. Many people who are interested in child development can earn their degree in early childhood education. Here's a brief list of career paths commonly available with each level of education:

  • Non-degree vocational/training certificate: Nanny, nursery school teacher
  • Associate degree: Child care center worker, preschool teacher, elementary teacher's assistant
  • Bachelor's degree: Kindergarten or elementary school teacher, community services specialist, youth counselor, child care center director
  • Master's degree: Elementary and secondary educational leadership, policymaker, independent consultancy, university professorship
  • Doctorate (Ph.D.): Independent research positions, university department leadership

"Typically, the course load for a traditional full time student is about 16 units, or four 4-unit courses," says Cindy Olivas, Ed.D., associate professor and interim child development program chair at the University of La Verne in California. "Beginning coursework requires students to observe young children to learn more about their developmental milestones and emotional attachments. Advanced courses require students to implement specific course content and skills learned in each class such as planning and delivering developmentally appropriate lessons, interviewing families, and working with seasoned teachers to strengthen personal skill-level in guiding children's behaviors and modifying children's care routines to meet individual needs."

Child development courses also frequently include a fieldwork portion, Olivas says. "The average fieldwork expectation per 4-unit course is 15 hours. Although intensive at times, the fieldwork experiences offer students opportunities to get a realistic idea of what a career in child development entails."

Child Development Career Outlook

"The most common educational path chosen by individuals interested in child development is to become a teacher of young children birth through 8 years old," said Olivas. "However, the degree leads itself to many diverse opportunities in early care and education. Careers may include parent and child educators in family services programs, parks and recreations, special education programs, hospitals, and other organizations, agencies, and educational systems that focus on the education, development, and emotional wellbeing of children and families."

Here's a table of some common child development careers, along with their educational requirements and salary and job growth info as published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Job title Mean salary
2014
Job growth
2012-2022
Education required
Childcare worker $19,510 14% High school diploma or non-degree certification
Preschool/childcare center director $43,950 17% Bachelor's degree
Kindergarten teacher $50,120 12% Bachelor's degree
Instructional coordinator $60,050 13% Master's degree
Elementary school counselor $60,560 12% Master's degree
Developmental psychologist $90,020 11% Doctoral degree

Aside from formal education, experience in the field may be required for many types of child development positions. Cindy Olivas recommends that aspiring child development professionals volunteer in the line of work they're hoping to pursue, either during or before entering their degree program.

"A career in child development also requires self-motivation," Cindy Olivas says, "motivation to meet professional development requirements, to keep current in early childhood education research, and to be knowledgeable of important issues occurring in the profession. The career also requires individuals to be responsible, empathetic, trusting, reliable, and resourceful. Loving children is a start, but the child development career path demands so much more."

Choosing the Right Schools

Particularly if you're planning to take online child development courses as a part of your degree plan, work to make sure the school of your choice has been accredited by a legitimate regional or national agency. Accreditation is a type of organized recognition that guarantees that the programs offered at a certain institution meet the same set of quality standards as any established, traditional college or university.

It's also important to choose a delivery method that works for you. "I feel both on-line and face-to-face coursework have advantages for students," said Olivas. "When students are able to choose a delivery option that meets their specific learning style, the outcomes are more successful for students and faculty. Personally, I prefer hybrid courses. I think they offer a nice balance of face-to-face interaction along with individual student time commitment and opportunity to access course content."

Online degrees have come to be respected on par with their campus-based counterparts, in most cases, thanks in large part to strong pushes for accreditation and accountability among schools that serve degrees online. Child development courses taken in the virtual classroom are often more affordable and easier to schedule than those offered on campus, but make sure that the institution's accredited before you enroll.

Sources:

  • Bachelor of Science in Child Development, University of La Verne, accessed July 29, 2015, http://laverne.edu/education/degree-programs/bachelor-of-science-in-child-development/
  • Master of Science in Child Development, University of La Verne, accessed July 29, 2015, http://laverne.edu/catalog/program/ms-child-development/
  • Master of Science in Psychology, Child and Adolescent Development Specialization, Capella University, accessed July 29, 2015, http://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/masters-child-adolescent-development/courses/
  • The Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, California State University Chico, accessed July 29, 2015, http://catalog.csuchico.edu/viewer/CHLD/CHLDNONEBA.html
  • "What Can I Do with a Child Development Associate Degree?," Learn.org, accessed July 29, 2015, http://catalog.csuchico.edu/viewer/CHLD/CHLDNONEBA.html
  • Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Certificate, Penn Foster Career School, accessed July 29, 2015, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/counseling-and-human-development/child-development-associate-cda-certificate
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed July 29, 2015: Childcare Workers, http://www.bls.gov/
  • Interview, Cindy Olivas, July 30, 2015

Child Development Degree and Programs

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
            Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
            Matching School Ads
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Are you an aspiring educator wanting to start your career, or a current educator looking to advance yours? 
            • Learn about our College of Education!
            • Many bachelor's, master's, and bridge programs available.
            • Early childhood ed., elementary ed., secondary ed., special ed., TESOL & more
            • Take courses online from home or at our campus in Phoenix, AZ.
            • Speak to an enrollment counselor today about your future in education!
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
            • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
            • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
            • Michigan's largest independent college.
            • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
            • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Accredited by the American Library Association, this program focuses on both the theory and practice of library science and grounds students in the knowledge, skills and values to become change agents in the field across a broad range of industries.
            • The MS in Library and Information Science (MLIS) curriculum prepares students for careers in a broad range of settings, including academic institutions, public libraries, corporations, government agencies, and cultural institutions.
            • This program is 36 credits and can be completed in 18 months.
            • The innovative learning technology platform helps students cultivate lifelong professional relationships and personally interact with a worldwide community of students and alumni—all while having the flexibility to continue working full time.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
            • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
            • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
            • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Provides an exclusive Ashford Mobile app to keep students connected to the online classroom on the go.
            • Offers a business program in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
            • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
            • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
            • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Get your master’s degree in just 14 months!
            • Earn your Ed.D. fully online in less than four years
            • Achieve an advanced degree on your schedule, from the comfort of your home
            • Use research-based best practices to have a more powerful impact on education
            • Further your education through affordable financial aid and competitive tuition
            • Scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid may also be available to help students with their tuition.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
            • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
            • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
            • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
            • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
            • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
            • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
            • Has an student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits