United States Early Childhood Graduate Programs

Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs might be a great choice whether you’re currently an early childhood teacher, or want to take your career in a new direction. You could study topics like developmental psychology, pedagogy, literacy, and other ways to develop and improve classroom teaching methods.

You might also build your expertise to help move into non-classroom roles. You may learn about designing and interpreting educational research, educational policy, and other subjects to support leadership and decision-making.

Graduate Early Childhood Education degrees are available at the masters, doctorate and graduate certificate level, so no matter your experience level, Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs could support your goals.

What Is Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood education may range from preschool through third grade, depending on the state in which you’re certified. As such, Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs tend to focus on the growth, development, and educational needs of children up to about age eight. This might include emotional development, cognitive skills, as well as motor skills and social skills.

An Early Childhood Education Graduate program might look at things like developmental psychology, the impact of culture on early childhood development, research, teaching strategies, and designing curricula to meet the needs of young children.

Choosing Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs

Your preference of Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education may depend on a number of factors.

Some programs may be oriented toward active professionals, meaning they may expect a certain amount of experience in the field as a prerequisite. Other Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs may be aimed toward those new to the field. Some may even support a few or all aspects of the teacher certification process.

You may also choose your program based on the needs in your educational community, or your current or prospective professional roles. Consider your interests, experience and goals. Then read program descriptions, course lists and contact schools directly to find a perfect early childhood education program for you.

Types of Graduate Early Childhood Education Degrees

Graduate Early Childhood Education Degrees may be earned at the masters, doctorate and graduate certificate level. While each may cover similar subject matter, they might differ in their requirements, depth of study and goals.

Early Childhood Education Masters Programs

Early Childhood Education Masters programs are typically one to two year programs that require a bachelors degree. Some are designed for current teachers wishing to focus their knowledge on early childhood education or develop administrative and leadership skills.

Other Early Childhood Education Masters programs help those new to the field develop knowledge of teaching techniques, curriculum design and learning theory. These programs may also be designed with certification or licensure in mind, though this varies by state and program.

Early Childhood Education Masters programs typically combine classroom study with fieldwork, student teaching, or internships opportunities. In more research focused programs, students may also have the opportunity to complete a thesis. The requirements of each Early Childhood Education Masters program vary by school and often reflect the degree type and program goal.

Types of Early Childhood Education Masters Degrees

Masters in Early Childhood Education programs offer a variety of degree types, including those listed below. These might not be the only degree types you come across in your search, but they might be some of the more frequently offered options.

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Early Childhood Education - This is often a practitioner focused Early Childhood Education Masters program and may place a heavier emphasis on classroom techniques and methods.
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education - While also touching on classroom instruction, the M.Ed. may explore areas of administration or the school system at large. Often these programs cater to current teachers who wish to advance their career, but this varies.
  • Master of Science in Early Childhood Education - MS programs may share many similarities with the MAT but could focus more closely on Early Childhood Education specific content. However these programs vary widely by school.

Each of these Early Childhood Education Masters degrees may have elements in common, and vary between institutions. The real determining factor is how the school decides to define their program.

One way to examine potential Early Childhood Masters Programs may be to pay attention to the goals of the program. Consider whether it focuses on developing classroom skills, administrative roles outside of it, or encouraging students to go on to earn a doctorate.

Some Early Childhood Education Masters programs may even offer the opportunity for further specialization, such as a focus on special education, Montesorri teaching or ESL. Similarities and differences between individual programs may vary, so you will want to follow up with your chosen programs for more information before deciding where to apply.

Doctorate Early Childhood Education Degrees

Early Childhood Education Doctoral Programs tend to focus on understanding or performing research regarding early childhood development and how young children learn. You might also study how to develop and apply strategies to help education systems succeed for this age group. The two most common types of doctorate Early Childhood Education degrees are the Ph.D. and Ed.D.

Completing an Early Childhood Education Doctoral program may open you up to potential careers in early childhood education research, the development of early childhood educators and curriculum design. You might also pursue administrative and leadership positions within schools, districts, and even at higher levels. Finally you could have the opportunity to teach at the university level, or to continue to work within the classroom.

Early Childhood Education Doctoral programs vary. As such, you may wish to follow up with your potential schools for more information.

Early Childhood Education Graduate Certificate Programs

Interested in learning more about early childhood education at the graduate level, but not quite ready to commit to a degree program?

Graduate certificate programs in Early Childhood Education are available at both the masters level (great for those who hold a bachelors degree) and post-masters level (for those who have already earned a masters degree). That means if you want to take early childhood education postgraduate courses, there may be some available in a graduate certificate program at your level.

These programs are typically shorter in duration than a full degree program and may give you the opportunity to study a specific topic closely. In some cases, you may be able to apply these credits toward the completion of a graduate degree program later on.

Similar to graduate degree programs, you may find a great deal of variety within graduate certificate programs. They may differ between subject areas and topics, graduate certificate types, formats, and more.

Early Childhood Education Graduate Program Formats

Once you have identified your preferred graduate Early Childhood Education degree level, you may find yourself choosing between several program formats. Online, on campus, and hybrid programs may each have unique qualities and benefits to support your education.

Early Childhood Education Graduate Schools

On campus Early Childhood Education Graduate programs may enable you to take advantage of a number of valuable resources.

Attending class in a physical classroom means you might interact with your professor face to face. Not to mention you could talk and collaborate with your peers on projects and assignments.

On top of the stability the physical classroom and schedule may provide, this may also help you to build relationships with your classmates—many of whom may, if you attend a program local to you—live and work in your area.

Attending a program at early childhood education graduate schools may also grant you access to the resources and facilities on that campus. This might include things like libraries, technology labs, and other support services and social opportunities.

Earning your Graduate Early Childhood Education degree in a physical campus environment might be a great choice for anyone who wants access to facilities and services, a great education, and the opportunity to build positive relationships with others in the education field.

Online Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs

Online early childhood education graduate programs are a flexible option that may help fit your education into your life.

Online learning might allow you to continue your professional career, making a difference in your students’ lives, while still earning the Early Childhood Education degree you want. Courses in an online program may be completed from your own computer or other compatible, internet-enabled device, from wherever works for you.

What’s more, many online programs offer some of the same benefits as campus options. These could include career and academic counseling services, and online library and research services like scholarly journal database access. If you’re looking for a truly flexible option, online programs might be for you.


Apply to Great Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs Today!

If you’re ready to start applying to Early Childhood Education Graduate Programs, GradSchools.com is here to help.

Below is a list of Early Childhood Graduate programs you may be interested in. If you’d like to narrow these down a bit, you might also filter by program level, format, or even location. Once you are satisfied, start reading about each program, reach out to request information from programs of interest, or even start your application!

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