Early Childhood Education Degrees in Illinois
Access to early childhood education is one of the most reliable indicators of a child’s future success in academics, in the workforce, and in other measures of quality of life. In Illinois, students may get started in preschools, day care centers, and early elementary grades.
If you are interested in a career that would allow you to teach preschool through third grade, an early childhood education degree could be the right step for your career.
Becoming an Early Childhood Teacher in Illinois
A career in education can completely change your life and the lives of the students you teach.
Learn how to become an early childhood teacher by contacting Illinois schools below.
As you move through your education, you may get a feel for what the long-term goals of this industry are. The Illinois Early Learning Project was created to minimize gaps in early education access, including those caused by poverty, location, and other socioeconomic factors.
Are you ready to make a difference in early childhood education? Illinois schools are ready to talk to you.
Compare degree programs below and contact options that interest you.
Getting Your Early Childhood Education Degree in Illinois
Illinois is home to many accredited colleges and universities that have early education programs. In addition to institutions in large cities like Chicago, many suburban parts of Illinois have renowned educational institutions.
To get a license that permits you to teach preschool through third grade, you need a Bachelor’s degree that leads to teacher certification. Most Illinois schools require between 120 and 135 credits. Typically, this includes about 60 credits of general education and 60 credits of teaching courses.
Courses Offered at Illinois Schools
- Understanding Young Children
- Language Development
- Children’s Literature
- Young Children as Learners
- Methods of Teaching Science in Primary Grades
- Methods of Teaching Social Studies in Primary Grades
- Literacy Instruction in Early Grades
- Learning Environment in Kindergarten Through Primary Grades
- Literacy Development
- Assistive Technology for Children with Special Needs
As you work through your curriculum, you should make progress on the learning goals and outcomes of your program. These learning outcomes detail exactly what competencies you must have to be able to work as an early education teacher.
For example, you may need to understand Illinois teaching standards, effectively utilize a variety of communication strategies to connect with students of varying ages and needs, and know how to collaborate with other education professionals as part of a teaching team.
The courses should delve into childhood development, how and what children learn at each age, and which teaching strategies are most effective in different types of classrooms.
Classroom experience is an extremely important part of your teaching degree. By the time you graduate, you should have completed rotations at multiple area schools and spent several hundred hours working with students. Many of your hours come from student teaching, an end-of-program teaching experience that puts you into the classroom for about 40 hours per week.
With this experience, you can find out if there are still skills you need to work on, how you can improve, and how you can combine everything you’ve learned into your daily work.
You may be able to take advantage of scholarship programs after getting accepted to a teaching program. The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program awards grants to early childhood education students every year.
Now that you know what it takes to earn a teaching degree, it’s time to make your move. Scroll down to the list of Illinois schools below and request information from programs in your area.
Working as an Early Childhood Educator in Illinois
You have your teaching degree, so what’s the next step? You have to get your teaching license. The Illinois State Board of Education processes all paperwork and fees. You must pass the mandatory Assessment of Professional Teaching test prior to getting your license.
With the wide variety of work settings that employ early education specialists, you may have some important decisions to make. Of course, elementary schools are an option, since your license allows you to teach up to third grade. You may also look into preschools, child care centers, and private schools.
Preschool is an important part of early education. Demand for preschool teachers may increase 14% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2016). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that preschool teachers earn an average salary of $32,210 per year (2016).
There is no doubt that you can make a difference in your community when you develop your career in early education.
Reach out to Illinois early childhood education schools below and find a program that can help you become a great teacher.
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