Get Matched With Early Childhood Education Programs

What is Early Childhood Education?

A field of study such as early childhood education continues to evolve despite constant changes. Teaching methods and approaches for young children are helping us better understand children's development. The study of early childhood education prepares students for careers in childcare centers, preschools, and elementary schools that work with children from birth through age eight.

There are many reasons why early childhood education is important for early learning. One reason is that early childhood education can help children develop social skills. Children who attend preschool or other early childhood programs have an opportunity to interact with other children and adults. This can help them learn how to share, take turns, and cooperate with others. Another reason why early childhood education is important is that it can help children learn how to communicate. When children are in an environment where they are encouraged to communicate with adults and other children, they have a chance to practice their communication skills. This can help them develop the ability to express themselves and understand what others are saying.

Students in one community college in Maryland are finding that it’s becoming easier to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. If they take a 90-hour course, they will receive six college credits toward their Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. The classes which offer this are Child Growth and Development and Curriculum Planning in Early Childhood Education.

By earning the six credits from this college, students can transfer to other training institutions in Maryland. If they take similar classes at other colleges, they will not transfer. Once the students transfer to another institution, they can go on and complete their associate degrees or one-year certificates.

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Steps to Become an Early Childhood Education Teacher in Maryland

Step 1. Earn Your Degree

Begin by choosing a state-approved Early Childhood Education program. The approved programs are listed on the website of the State Department of Education. Look for a program that specifically offers ECE majors, which will then lead to a Maryland State certification. Once you have this certification, you’ll be equipped to teach preschoolers, and the degree will also equip you for teaching children up to third grade.

If you prefer to begin with a two-year associate degree, look for one that enables you to transfer to a four-year college or university so you can earn your bachelor’s degree in ECE. Ask each community college if their ECE degrees have articulation agreements that make transferring to a four-year institution simpler.

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You’ll begin with your general education requirements, such as math, science and English. Next, you’ll move on to the Education courses specific to your degree. You’ll also need to complete a student-teaching experience, which should be included in your degree program. This will require you to complete a full year of student teaching or full-time teaching in front of a pre-k or kindergarten classroom.

Step 2. Pass Your Exams

Once you graduate, you’ll have to take the national Praxis Core Exam. It’s recommended that you take your Praxis exam once you have successfully completed 30 credit hours in your program. You’ll take 3 tests including: Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; Early Childhood: Content Knowledge; and Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood.

However, Maryland is unique in that there are other tests they will accept in lieu of the PRAXIS Core Skills Exam. These include: an ACT with a score of 24, the GRE test with a score of 1000, and the SAT with a math and reading score of 1100.

You’ll also have to submit your transcripts and complete and pass a background check. NOTE: In Maryland, to hold a teaching license, you’ll have to take and pass three semester hours in the inclusion of special needs populations.

Step 3. Get and Maintain Your License

You must create an account on the State Department of Education website to apply for your teaching license. This will allow you to send in all material connected with your license and maintain and upgrade it as necessary.

You’ll have to continue to take Continuing Professional Development courses in order to maintain your licensure. The state requires at least 6 hours every 5 years. Your school district will help you develop a plan to accomplish this and approve the courses you choose. I you are working in the state of Maryland, they will renew your license for you, so you won’t need to worry about it. If you aren’t, then you’ll have to renew it yourself. The process will require you to log into the Education Department website and follow the instructions.

Popular Career Choices:

  • Preschool Teacher
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher

Potential Credentials, Requirements and Certifications Needed in Maryland

Maryland requires ECE programs for three- and four-year-old children to have different funding streams and staffing requirements.

Public school-based and private providers who are funded with Pre-K expansion funds have to have a lead teacher holding a BA with ECE certification. The assistant teacher should hold a high school diploma or Childhood Development Associate certification (CDA). Private providers who receive other state Pre-K funds or Child Care Block Grants must have a lead teacher with 6 semesters of college-level ECE coursework. Assistant teachers should hold a high school diploma.

Once you have completed your required coursework and graduated, you’ll have to send your unofficial or official transcripts to the preschools where you hope to work. They will accept your transcripts as documentation of formal training.

Specialization and Additional Certifications

To obtain additional verification as an ECE teacher, you have a few options.

To work in a family child care center, you need to:

  • Complete 24 hours of Family Child Care pre-service modules, OR
  • 90 Hour Child Care Pre-School Certification - This includes two 45-hour courses. For the curriculum course, take at least one of these courses for this certification.
  • Lead Teacher certification requires you to complete 9 hours of Communication Skills for Child Care Providers. New students also take “All Children in the ADA.”

Community colleges and universities in Maryland should be fully accredited, institutionally as well as programmatically. For example, Towson University’s professional education program is fully accredited by CAEP. The Teacher Education Accreditation Council has consolidated with NCATE, with the resulting agency being known as CAEP. Towson University received its re-accreditation in 2015, with another re-accreditation under CAEP standards set for Fall 2022. CAEP uses the same standards as a foundation for the accreditations of associate, bachelors, and initial-license master’s degree programs.

Top Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in Maryland

“Excellence in Care and Education” is the phrase that greets visitors to the Maryland Early Childhood website. Maryland’s accreditation standards were brought up-to-date in July, 2016. Currently, standards identify best practices for program policies in the family and community engagement efforts.

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Accreditation is completely voluntary. Once an educational program chooses to become accredited, it completes a self-appraisal process, works to improve its program, and undergoes an external program review. This last effort publicly shows what the program has achieved and lets students know about its high-quality standards.

  • University of Maryland – Baltimore County

    Degrees Offered:

    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Undergrad Certificate
    • Early Childhood education and Teaching; Undergrad Certificate
    • Education, General; MS. & Post-grad Certificate
    • ESL/Teaching English as a Second Language; MS.

    Accreditation By:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • CAEP
  • Towson University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Programs; BS.
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism; Post-grad Certificate
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Reading Teacher Education; MS.
    • ESL Teaching; Post-grad Certificate
    • Special Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.

    Accreditation By:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • CAEP
  • McDaniel College

    Degrees Offered:

    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments Including Deafness; MS.
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; MS.
    • Multicultural Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • Reading Teacher Education; MS.
    • Special Education and Teaching; MS.
    • Students Counseling and Personnel Services; MS.
    • ESL/Teaching English as a Second Language; MS.

    Accreditation By:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • CAEP
  • Morgan State University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Reading Teacher Education; MS.
    • Special Education and Teaching; MS.

    Accreditation By:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • CAEP
  • Bowie State University

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; MS.
    • Educational Leadership and Administration; MS.
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching; BS. & MS.
    • Reading Teacher Education; MS.
    • Special Education and Teaching; MS.
    • Superintendency and Educational Administration; Dr.

    Accreditation By:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • CAEP

Potential Careers and Salaries for Graduates

  • Public Schools

    As an ECE teacher in the public-school system, you’ll teach young children from kindergarten through 3rd grade. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field, but you want another certification to gain a license to teach in a Maryland public school, then you’ll take additional education classes.

    As a public-school teacher, you’ll teach all subjects, using your knowledge of pedagogy and curriculum development.

  • Private Childcare

    To provide childcare in a private setting, you do need a continuing education certificate as a child care provider. You’ll be able to work with children in a private household, as well as in child care institutions, schools, and businesses. No matter what setting you’re employed in, you’ll be required to take responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of the children you’re caring for. You may also be required to work as a team member if you are working with more than one teacher.

  • Search Programs Offering Early Childhood Education Majors

  • Private Schools

    Private schools are covered by their own rules, policies and regulations. The state of Maryland will impose safety regulations for the wellbeing of the children in the school. You will be able to apply for the appropriate certification for your education (Early Childhood Education, Pre-K-3).

  • Head Start Programs

    Working in a Head Start program, you’ll be working with disadvantaged children. If you are in an associate’s program, once you graduate, you can work as a teacher, teacher’s assistant, or as a staff member of a child care center. Expect to take the same classes as ECE students who will be teaching in public or private schools. You will also be expected to know the same material as other teachers in other educational settings.

  • Community-Based Programs

    Working in a community-based program, you’ll be assigned to students who need more than just child care. While this will be a large component of their presence in a community-based program, you’re also expected to provide learning experiences for them. You’ll work on different subjects, such as math, English, social studies, and science, so you should be well-versed in these topics.

  • Faith-Based Programs

    If you aim your search for an ECE program toward a religious institution you’ll be expected to give some Bible instruction to your young students. You’ll teach children in pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade. You may also teach liberal arts topics to your students, so look for a liberal arts program at the school you choose.

  • Military Programs

    Teaching young children in a military program (Department of Defense Dependents Schools, or DoDDS), means you’re going to be learning the same material that a student who plans to work in a public-school setting would learn.

    You’re most likely to work overseas with the children of service members who have been stationed overseas accompanied by their families. As you work with your students, you’ll find that you’re working with a good mix of children from several cultures.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Salaries in Maryland

Occupation Entry-Level Mid-Career Late-Career
Preschool Teacher $31,000 $32,100 $36,100
Elementary School Teacher $43,400 $51,700 $53,000
Professor of Education $70,200 $101,800 $102,800
Special Education Teacher $43,200 $47,400 $43,700
School Psychologist $54,100 $61,000 $73,200

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