Getting a child care education can mean many different things. Much depends on what people would like to do with such an education and the requirements needed to pursue specific lines of work. Child care education may also be formal or informal, and people can pursue it along lots of different paths.
Informal types of child care education are available to kids, as young as 12 or 13. Learning to take care of other kids in the home, on the job, or through community enrichment classes is a great first step. There are community courses like infant and child CPR or babysitting classes that help kids or young adults get a start in this profession. Since these types of classes have been offered regularly, many parents searching for babysitters or mother’s helpers hire those people who have taken them.
Someone older might like a full-time job as a childcare worker. Once people are in their late teens, they can take child care education courses at a community college. There are usually regional standards for how many classes people must take to secure this type of work. Some regions might require students have taken three to four classes, and others only require one. There may be some vocational schools that have child care education courses too, but community colleges are usually the least expensive way to take these classes and might train people in a semester or two.
People may find they want to pursue the field of early childhood education. At a community college, people could plan to increase their child care education studies by receiving an associate of arts degree. Many find they’d like to surpass this and search for a school to transfer to that offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or related fields. People might even obtain that degree and work on a teaching credential so that they teach in daycare, nursery school, or early elementary grades.
Child care doesn’t always imply teaching. There are other education paths that involve child care work. People could study psychology, therapy or social work and learn to help children with specific vulnerabilities. A number child care education programs focus on therapies like occupational or physical that are employed for kids in the learning setting who have various challenges. Many of these education programs require study beyond a bachelor’s degree and to a master’s or doctorate.
Given the different ways people can pursue child care education, it makes sense to take a good look at child care careers and determine goals in advance. The next step is to find a good community or four year college where people can begin studies. Even if a person only plans to study for a year or two, choosing an accredited university makes sense. This means people’s early studies will usually count as credits toward later studies, shortening the time it might take to earn an advanced degree.