5 Great Career Specializations in Early Childhood Education

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5 Top Early Childhood Education Jobs

  • Curriculum Development and Coordination
  • Special Needs
  • Principal
  • Children's Literature
  • Director of Child Care Facility

Career specializations in early childhood education offers the opportunity to expand work on behalf of young children both in and beyond a classroom setting. From curriculum development to working in administration and more, there are many jobs that will use a person's experience and training in early childhood education. Below are five of those career paths.

1. Curriculum Development and Coordination

People who have a background in the elementary school classroom can bring these strengths to developing curriculum and materials for other teachers. This may include working on textbooks for publishers. Strong writing skills are important for this specialization. A related career specialization in early childhood education is that of instructional coordinator. In general, they are in charge of overseeing curriculum, and while they may develop some materials, the focus is more on recommending curriculum and helping teachers implement it.

2. Special Needs

From children with autism to those with speech difficulties to those diagnosed with ADHD and more, special needs as an area of concentration for people with a background in early childhood education can be a rewarding specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers are involved in assessing students' skills in addition to teaching them. They also work with parents to develop Individualized Education Programs for students with special needs. They may help teachers in general classrooms develop a program for teaching students with special needs.

3. Principal

Elementary school principals may bring a background in classroom teaching and perform or oversee many of the duties described above. They may work with special needs teachers, curriculum coordinators, general teachers, parents, the school board and others to ensure the school meets certain standards. A large part of being a school principal also involves working with students. The principal is generally seen as the representative of the school and as a kind of liaison between students, parents, teachers, other school administrators and even legislators involved in education issues.

4. Children's Literature

There are several different ways that someone working in early childhood education could specialize in children's literature. A teacher might move into school librarianship, and the role would involve reviewing and choosing books for children. Children's literature can also be studied as an academic specialty. An elementary school teacher might even turn to writing works of children's literature from picture books to chapter books to books designed to attract reluctant readers.

5. Director of Child Care Facility

In some ways, running a child care facility can be similar to working as a principal although the regulations that must be observed are different. However, in addition to managing staff and running the center itself, directors of child care facilities may also develop programs and curriculum for students, monitor their progress and communicate effectively with families. This is a career specialization in early childhood education that allows a person to perform many of the same functions as someone working in a public or private school but with potentially greater freedom.

Related Resource: Top 30 Online Master's in Special Education Degrees

Working as an elementary school teacher in a general classroom is a rewarding career path, but it is only one of several possibilities within this field. With a career specialization in early childhood education, a person may be able to draw on that classroom background to work in a variety of capacities.