If you want to be an early childhood professional then you are in charge of young children’s care and development. You will help newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten-aged children grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally, so are you ready to do that?
Early childhood experts can be involved in various activities, such as teaching fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, giving specialized instruction, creating engaging activities, and supervising playtime. Their goal is to provide every kid with the opportunity to attain their full potential by the time they enter primary school.
Everything you need to know to become an early Childhood Specialist
What Is the Role of an Early Childhood Specialist?
An early childhood specialist is someone who works on the healthy development of newborns, toddlers, and young children to ensure their healthy development.
Your primary responsibilities as an early childhood expert include providing support services to children from birth to five years of age. You observe a child’s behavior and make evaluations based on your observations. If a kid requires developmental assistance, you can create a development plan for them or connect them with support programs. You can also track the progress of the children as they participate in the plan or program.
Researching developmental issues and studying potential treatments are some of the other responsibilities of an early child care specialist.
Early Childhood Specialist Responsibilities
Early childhood specialists are responsible for a wide range of activities, which can include:
- Identifying children’s developmental stages in order to identify potential learning problems or developmental delays
- Creating developmentally appropriate learning and growth settings for children
- Data analysis to discover areas for growth in a classroom or program, and share results with other field professionals
- Giving parents advice on how to best assist their child’s growth at home
- Observing and interacting with children to gain a better understanding of their behavioral patterns and interests
- Administer diagnostic tests to assess whether a child has learning problems or other concerns that need to be addressed.
- Evaluating the language development, social skills, and emotional health of children
- Assisting parents in seeking services for their child’s special needs
- Providing children with assistance, advice, and encouragement during playtime activities
The increasing need to improve the quality of early childhood education and care leads to more jobs for early childhood specialists. States are progressively requiring early childhood education and care providers to be accredited or to meet other standards.
Furthermore, research proves the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care for children’s results and later academic success, hence the demand for it will continue to rise.
Early Childhood Specialist Salary & Outlook
The salaries for early childhood specialists vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the kind of institution they work for.
- Median Annual Salary: $41,500 ($19.95/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $94,500 ($45.43/hour)
The employment of early childhood specialists is likely to expand at an average rate over the next decade. The increasing need to improve the quality of early childhood education and care leads to more jobs for early childhood specialists. States are progressively requiring early childhood education and care providers to be accredited or to meet other standards.
Furthermore, research proves the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care for children’s results later into academic success, hence the demand for it will continue to rise.
Early Childhood Specialist Skills
Early childhood specialists need the skills mentioned below to be successful:
Communication skills are really important for early childhood specialists as they need to communicate with children, their parents, colleagues, and other professionals on a daily basis.
Effective communication skills allow you to clearly deliver messages, ask questions, listen to others, and reply to requests. Early Childhood specialists can use communication skills to observe children, create lesson plans, and evaluate their own performance.
As an early childhood specialist, you may collaborate with a group of other professionals, such as teachers, to ensure that the children you work with have the best possible start in life. You could also work with parents to help them understand their child’s development and how they can help them grow.
As you know, empathy is the ability to understand and share the sentiments of others. As an early childhood specialist, it’s essential to be empathetic to the needs of children.
By showing your empathy toward children you will be able to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for them. If a child is upset, for example, if a child gets upset, an empathic early childhood specialist may be able to console them and help them overcome their feelings.
Early childhood specialists often have great organizational abilities, which can help them keep track of their daily tasks as well as the requirements of their children. Organizational skills can also help you keep your classroom clean and ensure your students are obeying the rules.
For an early childhood specialist, it’s important to have leadership skills as they have to work in teams. These abilities assist early childhood experts in motivating and encouraging their team to work to their full potential.
How to Become an Early Childhood Specialist?
A career in early childhood specialized profession can be extremely rewarding. It provides the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young children and their families, as well as to help them for their future.
A degree in early childhood education or child development is required to become an early childhood specialist. You should also have classroom experience working with young children. Many states need certification for teachers who work with young children, so don’t forget to check your state’s requirements.
In order to become an early childhood specialist, candidates must have a high school diploma or GED. In addition to that, candidates must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program, preferably in Applied Psychology with an emphasis on Child Advocacy.
The different kinds of coursework for this degree include lifespan development and psychology, diversity and intercultural concerns, political and ethical issues in child advocacy, and child raising and education practices.
While many people choose a four-year degree, most businesses prefer candidates who have both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Universities are increasingly offering five-year master’s degree fast-track programs to meet this demand. Dual majors in social work, education, child life, psychology, child growth and development, or other equivalent fields are available to students.
Once a child development candidate gets their degree(s), there are a number of voluntary certifications that they can achieve to help them find work. The most well-known of these is the Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, which many businesses require of candidates before they may work with children in their early stages of development and/or under the age of five.
Candidates can obtain their CDA through the Council for Professional Recognition by working in one of four childcare settings: infant and toddler programs, family childcare programs, preschools, or home-visitor programs. To complete their certification, they must pass the CDA exam after completing their specialized coursework.
It’s not officially required, but the majority of businesses require individuals who want to work with children above the age of five to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) through the Child Life Council (CLC). Candidates must first have a bachelor’s degree, complete one or more child life or development courses, complete 480 hours of hands-on and supervised clinical experience, and also pass the CCLS exam.
Early Childhood Specialist Work Environment
Early childhood specialists work in diverse environments, such as public and private schools, childcare centers, Head Start programs, family childcare homes, and special needs homes.
In addition, they work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Many early childhood professionals work for themselves.
They usually work a 40-hour week, though some may work part-time. Some early childhood experts may work evenings or weekends to accommodate working parents’ schedules. Many early childhood professionals are obliged to attend meetings and training sessions outside of their regular work hours.
Advancement Prospects of Early childhood experts
Early childhood experts can advance their careers in a variety of situations. Many specialists begin their careers after working in childcare facilities. As they gain experience, they may advance to positions of management, such as director of a childcare center.
Some specialists may even start their own childcare centers. Working as a consultant to childcare centers or businesses, or as an educational specialist for a school system or state education department, are two other options for progression.