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A master's degree in early childhood development can prepare you for a variety of careers in education, childcare, and other jobs that deal with the development and care of children. Before you can earn a master's degree in early childhood development, you will first need to complete a high school education as well as an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Your undergraduate degree can be in any subject area, though candidates with a degree in education, psychology, sociology, or related sciences have greater chances of being accepted to master's programs.
Some programs that offer a master's degree in early childhood development will also require you to have some sort of teaching credential before you can apply. This requirement can be waived if you have an appropriate combination of job training and education, but if you do not have such training, it may be necessary to complete teacher training first. This usually only applies if you are interested in early childhood education, which may be a part of a master's degree in early childhood development. It is a good idea to research the specific requirements of the programs you are considering applying to so you can ensure you will be eligible for acceptance.
Once you finish your undergraduate degree, you will need to research and apply for master's programs. Some candidates prefer to attend the same institution that they attended for undergraduate studies, while others would rather branch out and explore other programs. Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to think carefully about tuition rates and funding for your education. A master's degree in early childhood development typically takes about two years to complete if you attend classes full time, but it can take much longer if you will be working full- or part-time as you attend school.
You may want to consider attending an online program if you work full-time outside of school. Such programs offer convenient scheduling, but you will need to be a self-directed learner who requires less direct guidance from professors and instructors. You will be able to work at your own pace during many online classes, and you will have contact with instructors and classmates through forums and online learning platforms. The tuition rates may or may not be lower than in-class courses, however, so choose this option only if on-site classroom learning is not available or not feasible for you.