M.Ed. in Early Childhood
M.Ed. or Master’s in Education is a border title that is inferred on programs related to the field of education. An M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education narrows down the concentration of the field, as the title suggests, to Early Childhood Education. Students and educational institutions generally prefer this type of degree, as it covers everything from teaching methodology to educational transactions to pedagogy and educational technology. It also covers aspects such as instruction, curriculum, counseling, and leadership. In most cases, a B.Ed. Degree precedes an M.Ed., and the program is generally of a duration of 2 years.
MA Early Childhood Education
An MA or Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education is another alternative to an M.Ed. that stems from the stream of arts and humanities. While there are commonalities between the two degrees, graduates of MA Early Childhood Education will often find the need to further specialize and fulfill more criteria for licensure (to teach). That said, an MA deals with the fundamental aspects of Early Childhood Education while encouraging students to build proficiency in pedagogy and leadership.
MS In Early Childhood
A Master of Science or MA in Early Childhood Education online program focuses more on the technicalities of Early Childhood Education from a scientific approach rather than from an educational or teaching perspective. This degree is best suited for those who prefer to work in areas outside of the classroom, such as research and educational technology, administration, and policy building.
Specializations in Masters in Early Childhood Education Programs
A Master’s in Early Childhood Education online program concentrates on the larger Masters in Education program. While the degree may be adequate to pursue exciting careers, specializations are always recommended to be better employed and paid. Here are a few specialization options in addition to an online Child Development Master’s Degree one could consider:
- Children, Families, and Societies
- The Early Childhood Learning Environment
- Early Childhood Education Practicum
- Teaching Diversity in Early Childhood Education
- Infant and Child Development
- Early Childhood Reading and Literacy Instruction
- Administration Management and Leadership
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Early Childhood Education Programs
The curriculum for Early Childhood Studies university courses is pretty much the same across the different types of degrees. They essentially seek to help students better understand a child’s developmental stages and how teaching methods should adapt accordingly. Frequently, programs include courses that teach students how to stoke a child’s curiosity, foster learning, and improve outcomes. Topics such as continuous assessment and progress mapping are also prevalent.
In general, students will have regular courses coupled with special education courses, methods courses, and a practicum/internship or capstone, or both. All this, of course, depends on the college and program in question, and students must therefore read the Program Guidelines or Prospectus carefully to understand the subjects/courses on offer and whether they suit their requirements or not. Some of the courses that one can expect in a Master’s in Early Childhood Education program are:
- Observing and Recording the Behavior of Young Children
- Psychological Foundations of Learning
- Curriculum Development
- Social and Emotional Learning
- Create and Motor Learning
- Early Childhood Development, Learning, and Motivation
- Literacy Development
- Issues in Family Science
- Parent Education
- Foundations of Early Childhood
- Child, Family, Community, and Philosophy of Early Childhood Education
- Integrated Curriculum in Early Childhood
- Multicultural Education
- Individualized Coaching and Field Experiences
- Career Coaching for Educators
- Early Childhood Assessment
- Early Childhood Special Education
- Developmental Disabilities
- Strategies and Materials for Teaching Emergent Literacy & Social Studies
Note: Some MS Programs will also require a Master’s Thesis to be submitted.
Apart from developing creative, organization, communication, and interpersonal skills, graduates of a Master’s in Early Childhood Education will have the ability to:
- understand the various stages of child development and how children learn and grow;
- develop and implement techniques to observe, document, and assess learning;
- identify each child’s unique strengths, weaknesses, qualities, and learning needs;
- develop assessment tools for formative and summative evaluation of student’s progress;
- collaborate responsibly and ethically with parents, caregivers, and educators;
- encourage children to question, investigate, understand, acquire skills and create their own knowledge;
- support linguistically and culturally diverse learners;
- support learners with disabilities with the assistance of, or in collaboration with, other professionals;
- develop curriculum that teaches core concepts and tools of inquiry that suit students’ interests and developmental levels;
- create learning environments that nurture the learning, development, and self-esteem of all children;
- research and devise new approaches, techniques, and methodologies that engage and interest students; and
- interpret and apply educational research related to early childhood, child development, and teaching and learning strategies.
Accreditation for Masters in Early Childhood Education Programs
Accredited online schools for Early Childhood Education will have programs endorsed and recognized by State and Federal Education Authorities. Even so, prospective candidates should always check with their State’s Education Department to see whether the chosen Master’s Program qualifies graduates for teacher licensure or not, as norms and compliance requirements vary from state to state.
One of the accreditation bodies is the NAEYC Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs, which grants the NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation to an ECE program at the associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree levels that prepare students to work in the field of early childhood. Another reputed one is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) that accredits ECE programs for quality in educator preparation.
Read the Guide on Accreditation to better understand why accreditation is important when choosing an Early Childhood Education Master’s program.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Early Childhood Education Online Programs
More than a handful of colleges use the credit hour system and require a student to have 36 to 48 credit hours to graduate from a Master’s in Early Childhood Education online program. However, in certain cases, colleges allow the transfer of credit hours from accredited programs taken up in another university, which will bring down the course duration. All things considered, the average time it takes to complete an Early Childhood Education Master’s Degree is about two years. Typical in-takes at colleges are in the Spring and Fall but vary by college and program.
There is also an option to enroll for a Bachelor’s and Master’s Dual-Degree Program, which generally requires a total of about 150+ credit hours and is designed to be completed in 5 years (includes two summers).
Masters in Early Childhood Education Online Programs Admission Requirements
The first basic requirement for a Master’s in Early Childhood Education is a Bachelor’s Degree. Quite naturally, and depending on the program opted for, students may need a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, preferably in a stream related to education. Other admission requirements are quite standard: Academic Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, and a Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose. Some colleges may additionally require a Teaching Certificate and some teaching experience as well, along with a Resume.
As for scores, a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 is usually necessary. While standardized test scores of GRE or GMAT are usually not asked for, GRE scores may be required for students who do not meet the minimum GPA.