Early Childhood Education Certificate

Note: This page provides information on earning an early childhood education certificate. For details on other degree levels, please see our early childhood education degree page.

A certificate in early childhood education will help lay the foundation for a career as a teacher working with young children. Certificate programs give students the chance to earn college credits without enrolling in a degree program. Early childhood education certificate programs usually include an integration of fundamental classes with specialty-focused electives. In a certificate program, students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to create a positive learning environments for young learners.

Choosing an Online Early Childhood Education Certificate

Online learning appeals to students who are on-the-go. Students can study, research, and participate in class from anywhere with internet access. Review the following questions to help choose the right online program for you:

Is the Program Accredited?

Accreditation is a validation process that colleges and universities go through to show a high level of quality education. This is very important when it comes time to select an online certification program. In short, accreditation is like a peer review process. Most curriculum is based on the national best standards established by the National Association for the Education of young Children (NAEYC). However, NAEYC does not accredit certificate programs, only programs that lead to associate, bachelor, or master's degrees. The criteria, however, ensures that students are given the best instruction to help them meet state and national requirements for early childhood education programs. To learn more about the accreditation process in the United States, visit: ed.gov/accreditation

How Long Has the Program Been Offered?

Knowing how long a program has been around may help you in choosing which online program is best for you. Keep in mind that online schooling is a newer mode of education. If a specific program has not been around for long, find out when the school was established.

What Technologies Will Be Used to Facilitate Online Learning?

In order to facilitate instruction, online teachers use open and online learning platforms. This technology, accessed easily through a website, acts as a virtual classroom. Each school has their own preference when it comes to online learning platforms, so it may be a good idea to know ahead of time.

What Resources Will I Have Access To?

Find out if you will be given access to online textbooks, comprehensive online resources, scholarly journals, and career guidance. Knowing the tools and resources students will have access to may help you choose the right online program for you.

What Skills and Topics Are Covered?

When considering an online certificate in early childhood education, you should assess the program goals to see if they are in line with your career goals. Program goals and outcomes will give you some insight as to what you will be learning over the course of the early childhood education certification program.

Do You Have Job Placement Information for Students Who Recently Graduated from the Program?

Alumni are wonderful role models for students who are thinking about joining an online certificate program. These are individuals who have recently completed the same program. They are often available to offer practical career support to the new students. If given the opportunity, don't be afraid to ask questions about the program and their career.

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Is an Online Certificate Right for You?

Today, many early childhood education certification programs are available online. Online programs offer more flexibility than traditional colleges and universities. Courses can be taken on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on the needs of the student. Online courses are developed with the adult student in mind. In other words, students can accommodate their tasks with work and family schedules. To learn more about online schooling, read below.

Variety of Programs

With online certificate programs, students have the option to choose a program regardless of geographic location. This opens up many opportunities for students who cannot relocate and for those who do not live near a college campus. With this route, students have an opportunity to choose a program based on program details, rather than settling on one based on location.

Program Curriculum

The goal of an early childhood education certificate program is to provide an organized curriculum in order to prepare students to work with young children. In reputable online programs, you should be able to find:

  • Deadlines and and accountability markers. These are in place to help students stay up to pace. Rack. This may come in form of presentations, early education practicums, tests, quizzes, and reading assignments.
  • Content delivered via online textbooks and lessons.
  • Whole class chat rooms where students are required to communicate and share ideas.
  • A final comprehensive exam, project, or portfolio

Flexible Schedule

Many students gravitate towards online certificate programs because of the flexible schedule. In online certificate programs, students can complete requirements at their own place. The online option does not require students to travel to and from school - making it possible to complete coursework whenever and wherever.

Tuition and Costs

When considering online certificate programs, you may realize the overall cost to be less than a similar program on campus. Consider the following:

  • No costs having to do with with traveling to and from school, parking, or on-campus snacks.
  • No financial allocation needed for relocating or living on campus.
  • Online programs allow students to sustain a source of income.

Certificate Program Course Topics

Each program will from school to school. However, you can expect to see classes such as the following:

The Early Childhood Teacher

This class will examine the role of an early childhood teacher. Such courses will guide teacher candidates through recognizing personal strengths and weakness in order to develop a plan to support personal and professional growth.

Introduction to Teaching Young Children

With this course, you will study the history, philosophies, and theories associated with early childhood development. This class will often include field observations - meaning that students will have the opportunity to visit classrooms to see theories and practices in play.

The Young Child in the Community and Family

This class focuses on the relationship and dynamics between a young child and their surroundings (family, school, community). The class will help students analyze social and and cultural influences on a young child as they develop communication and life skills.

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Professional Associations

Attending conferences and joining professional associations is a good method of getting connected and networking with other professionals in the field of Early Childhood Education. For example, NAEYC's (National Association for the Education of Young Children) national conferences brings together early childhood educators to explore the latest research and learn from one another.