Early Childhood Education Degrees in Alabama
Brain growth in the first three years of life sets the stage for the rest of a child’s learning. That’s why federal and state government agencies have focused heavily on early childhood education in recent decades.
Providing children with access to early education can minimize later achievement gaps caused by socioeconomic status and family makeup. Earning an early childhood education degree is an effective way to learn about childhood development, how young children learn, and the possible outcomes of early access to education.
Becoming an Early Childhood Teacher in Alabama
Early education lays the foundation for future educational endeavors and success.
Keep reading to learn more about becoming an early childhood teacher in Alabama.
Alabama legislators have made early childhood education a high priority throughout the state. The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is an agency that aims to provide all Alabama children with affordable, evidence-based preschool services. Through these efforts, they hope to prepare children for long-term educational success and growth. State programs like First Class, overseen by the Alabama Office of School Readiness, hopes to increase statewide quality of life via early education.
These efforts have had positive outcomes, leading to an increase in funding and interest. A report from the Alabama School Readiness Alliance indicated that increased funding for the 2016-2017 school year led to an increase of 2,900 pre-K students (Times Daily, 2016).
Contribute to Alabama’s growth while creating a career you love.
Use the list of early childhood education programs below to contact degree programs near you.
Getting Your Early Childhood Education Degree in Alabama
There are several paths you may take to pursue a career in early childhood education in Alabama. This field is extremely complex, so educational standards are strict.
To provide students with the education they deserve, you need a comprehensive understanding of child development, experience with children from various socioeconomic backgrounds, training in specific teaching skills and techniques, and the ability to work with other adults in a child’s life to improve student outcomes.
A Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education may offer the education and theory you need to work in state-funded early education programs, private preschools, and elementary schools. A Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education requires at least 120 credits. Each school determines its own required courses, so some programs require more than 120 credits.
Required coursework focuses on teaching theory, instructional technology, educational psychology, and Alabama standards for specific topics.
Commonly Offered Early Childhood Education Courses
- Instructional Technology for Educators
- Psychology of Learning
- Diverse Students in Inclusive Schools
- Foundations of Education
- Child Growth and Development
- Measurement and Evaluation in Education
- Creative Learning in Early Childhood Education
- Family, Parent, and Community Involvement
- Teaching Language Arts
- Teaching Math and Science
- Teaching Social Studies
Becoming a teacher is a multistep process, which sets this major apart from many other undergraduate degrees.
At most Alabama schools, you have to complete a set amount of general education credits before applying for admission to a teacher education program. This involves passing a background check, earning a passing score on the PRAXIS II, and demonstrating your academic capacity.
From there, you may move through a predetermined curriculum of teaching courses. This often includes several teaching internships and practicum rotations. You may get experience at a huge range of early childhood education centers, including Head Start, public elementary schools, private preschools, Montessori programs, and religious programs.
Through these rotations, you may learn to connect with students of different needs and backgrounds, a skill that can serve you well in any future teaching position you take.
The final teaching experience at most colleges and universities is student teaching. Rather than moving through multiple school settings, you are assigned to one location for an entire semester. Over the semester, you may take on the role of main classroom teacher. Your supervising teacher’s assessment of your skills is extremely important in your ability to graduate and earn your license.
Since many government agencies are investing in early childhood education, you may find several scholarship programs available to education students. Smart Start Alabama offers scholarships to Associate’s degree and Bachelor’s degree students. They fund up to 80% of tuition, 80% of book expenses, and travel stipends. Alabama Pathways offers need-based financial aid.
There are many early childhood education schools in Alabama that can help you get started on a new career path.
Request information from programs below to get started.
Working as an Early Childhood Educator in Alabama
To start working as an early childhood education teacher in Alabama, you must go through the certification process. To become a lead teacher in a pre-K setting, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a teaching license from the Alabama State Department of Education.
To work as an auxiliary teacher, you must apply for a Child Development Associate credential or provide proof of nine credits of child development education.
Statewide demand for educators is growing. From 2014 through 2024, O*Net predicts a 7% jump in job openings for Alabama preschool teachers (2016). The average salary for a preschool teacher in Alabama is $28,400 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
As an early childhood professional, you are part of one of the most important industries in Alabama. Research changes frequently in this field, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date with evidence-based teaching standards and legislation.
Joining a group like the Alabama Association for Early Care and Education gives you the opportunity to network with school administrators, experienced teachers, and experts in education.
Some have compared children to sponges, and early education supports that comparison. Children who attend early education programs develop a love of learning, perform better at higher levels of education, and increase their overall quality of life (Alabama First Class, 2016). By working in this field, you contribute to the field of education at all levels.
The journey to a career in education can start right now.
Compare Alabama schools below and request information from teaching programs.
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