Preschool Teacher

Your guide to certificates in early childhood education

Researchers began studying the effects of early childhood education in the 1960s and have consistently found that quality education brings long-term benefits to young children. Children who participate in prekindergarten programs are more likely to attend a four-year college, less likely to be arrested or struggle with substance abuse, and have higher incomes as adults. It also teaches children socialization, resilience, respect, and helps foster a love of learning.

Parents and communities are recognizing these benefits, which is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment for preschool teachers will grow by 7% from 2018 to 2028. If you love the idea of working with young children, a certificate in early childhood education can help you start a career where you have the opportunity to influence children in ways that can improve their entire lives.

Is a teaching certificate in early childhood education right for you?

There are a wide range of certificate programs that can help you start your career working with children. This article can help you determine whether early childhood education is the best area for you to focus your studies. Start by considering your career goals and your personal and professional interests.

Does a teaching certificate in early childhood education suit your personal and professional interests?

These questions can help you establish whether you have the passion and motivation required to succeed in this field:

  • Do you want to work with young children aged from birth up to around eight years of age?
  • Do you want to help young children get the best start to their educational journey?
  • Do you enjoy using games and playtime to help children learn and develop new skills?
  • Are you ready to teach young children a wide range of topics, including social and physical development?

Educational program titles — what you need to know

Certificate programs in early childhood education go by many names. These reflect the different focuses of the programs, such as different age groups. Some schools also use unique naming systems.

These are some of the more common program titles:

  • Early Childhood Technology
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Preschool Management
  • Child Development Specialist
  • Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Early Childhood Infant and Toddler Care

Sample courses in early childhood education certificate programs:

  • Development in Early Childhood — This course explores human development through to middle childhood and helps students identify appropriate characteristics and activities for each stage of development.
  • Positive Guidance and Discipline for the Young Child — Participants examine why children behave in certain ways and learn various methods for correcting behavior in a positive, respectful, and developmentally appropriate manner.
  • Math Development in Young Children — The curriculum focuses on using hands-on activities and math games to help young children understand age-appropriate math concepts. Students also learn how to identify and support children who find math challenging.
  • Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Programs — In this course, students learn how to design and implement curricula for young children. It focuses on developmentally appropriate lesson plans and emphasizes the value of play and appropriate materials and activities.

What else makes early childhood education certificate programs unique?

  • Practical Experience — Many certificate programs require students to complete a practicum working under the mentorship of an experienced teacher. This gives students the opportunity to work with young children and gain experience and connections in a professional environment.
  • Understand Child Health Care — Certificate programs cover the early childhood health care policies and procedures in the relevant state, as well as topics covering nutrition, prevention of disease transmission and injuries, and identifying child abuse and neglect. Many programs also require that students take CPR and first aid courses.
  • Continuing Education — Many schools allow students who have completed a certificate in early childhood education to apply credits towards an associate or bachelor’s degree. This is advantageous for students who want to enhance their career through further education.
  • License Preparation — A license is needed in most states before you can work in an early childhood environment. This is especially true for people who want to work in government facilities. Certificate programs generally give students the knowledge and experience needed for licensing. Make sure you check that courses in the program cover the knowledge needed in the state where you wish to work.

What jobs are available to people with a teaching certificate in early childhood education?

Education – PreK-12 and universities or colleges

Preschool Teacher

  • Organize and lead activities that promote physical, mental, and social development
  • Teach basic skills, including shapes, colors, numbers, and letter recognition
  • Evaluate student behavior, performance, social development, and physical health and communicate observations to parents and colleagues
  • Establish behavioral expectations and enforce rules to ensure order is maintained

Teacher’s Aide

  • Work with students in small groups or individually to provide extension or remedial support
  • Maintain detailed records of attendance, progress, and grades
  • Prepare materials for lessons and demonstrations
  • Supervise students in the classroom, playground, and other settings as required

Early Childhood Tutor

  • Collaborate with parents and teachers to identify student needs
  • Develop personalized strategies to help students learn developmental skills needed for kindergarten
  • Assess student progress and report observations to parents and teachers
  • Provide encouragement and positive motivation to students

Other corporations and businesses


  • Undertake appropriate activities with children, including creative, educational, and outdoor pursuits
  • Plan and implement daily routines, including mealtimes and bedtimes
  • Ensure behavior standards and household rules are maintained and enforce appropriate discipline as required
  • Manage bathing, dressing, and meals for children

Childcare Worker

  • Provide opportunities for children to discover new interests by introducing them to sports, art, music, and other potential hobbies
  • Monitor children for health, behavioral, and other issues and report concerns to parents and staff
  • Encourage age-appropriate socialization to help children learn basic skills such as manners and sharing
  • Provide care for children through grooming, feeding, changing diapers, setting schedules, and cleaning rooms and toys