A Bachelor of Science in Education/Early Childhood Education Degree can prepare you for Preschool and childcare center directors positions.

Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program. Preschool and childcare center directors work primarily in child daycare services. They generally work full time. A bachelor’s degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA). The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $49,160 in 2020*

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm (visited March 24, 2022).

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When you look at the different degree options you have in earning a bachelor’s in early childhood education, you may be a little confused. BS, BA, BSEd; what do these degree designations mean? Check below for a list of the most commonly available degrees in education.

  • Bachelor of Science Early Childhood Education (BS-ECE): This degree may involve more science-oriented courses than other early childhood education degrees. It will certainly include more technical courses, whether those are in pedagogy or child development. This degree may have fewer liberal arts classes, but you will still need to complete most general education courses required by your school of choice. This option is good for you if your teaching specialization will be math, general science, or any of the science specializations, such as biology or chemistry. However, as most early childhood education classes are combined, this likely won’t have much effect on your career unless you decide at a later point to earn certification in teaching for higher grade levels and wish to move into a science focus.
  • Bachelor of Arts Early Childhood Education (BA-ECE): This degree prepares you to teach children from birth to age 8. You will also be equipped to work with English Language Learners. In this category, you’ll notice you’re taking more classes in the humanities or the arts. You will still be equally prepared to teach a class where you are responsible for all lessons throughout the day, but if you decide to move up to a higher grade, or you want to specialize into the sciences, you may not have completed as many of the prerequisite courses as a teacher with a BS degree.

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree program, more or less. Some ECE degree programs require you to earn more credits, while others may require fewer credits to be able to graduate. This is often based on state requirements for teacher licensure.

Before you are formally admitted to an ECE bachelor’s degree program, you may be required to complete your general education courses—you should take most or all of these in the first two years. The final two years of your degree program will be spent learning about the needs and characteristics of young children and factors that exert an influence on how they develop and learn. You’ll observe, document, and assess the development and learning of each child in your classroom.

  • Elementary School Teacher: As you teach children from first grade up to sixth, you’ll cover most subjects, from math and science to English. You’ll educate your students on the basics, giving them a foundation in each subject. You’ll also provide feedback to the parents of each child so they know what their needs and opportunities may be.
    Average annual salary: $45,700
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher: In this role, your first function is to teach English to students who grew up speaking other languages. You’ll also explain American expectations and customs so that students can understand this country. You may also be expected to help your students understand materials from other subjects as well, such as math.
    Average annual salary: $44,700
  • Kindergarten Teacher: This position will requires that you manage and teach a classroom of students between the ages of four and six. Because this may be their first exposure to formal education, you’ll be introducing them to the basics and helping them to establish a foundation for upcoming learning.
    Average annual salary: $41,000
  • Art Teacher: At the early childhood education level, you may need to have a bachelor’s degree in the arts as well as in ECE to create a lesson curriculum suitable for group instruction. You’ll also need to be able to maintain control over a large group of students.
    Average annual salary: $45,500
  • Physical Education Teacher: In this position, you’ll instruct elementary and kindergarten students in physical education. You’ll be responsible for creating instruction plans that encourage your students to participate in healthy physical activities during P.E. classes. You may also work with children of differing abilities in a combined class.
    Average annual salary: $44,700
  • Associate of Science (AS): Though this degree might be less common for early childhood education, it will reflect not only two years of hard work but also a focus on research and social science data.
  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS): This degree is very similar to an AS degree. It can sometimes be distinguished by a focus on practical processes and outcomes rather than peer-reviewed scientific data. For that reason, credits from an AAS program can sometimes be harder to transfer.
    Average annual salary: $44,700
  • Associate in Applied Arts (AAA): Much like an AAS degree, an applied arts degree focuses on practical matters you are likely to face in the workplace. You are less likely to encounter peer-reviewed research and you might find that some credits are harder to transfer to a bachelor's program. However, discuss this matter with your admissions counselor or department head to determine the actual facts related to any specific program.
  • Associate of Arts (AA): This is a more typical degree that is likely to be easy to find in nearby community colleges. If you earn an AA degree you will likely have an easier time transferring to a four-year program and achieving a bachelor's degree. Regardless, if your goal is to eventually complete a baccalaureate degree, you should discuss your plans with an academic adviser who will help you plan your academic career accordingly.