RANKED BY UNIVERSITY HQ AS ONE OF THE
BEST MOST AFFORDABLE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS
General Education RequirementsFull Program Requirements
for Options 1 and 2: 49-52 hours
(Options 1 and 2): 60 hours
Teacher Specialization Coursework
(Options 1 and 2): 18 hours
Total: 127-130 hours
Study Early Childhood Education Near Chicago
Governors State University is known for providing accessible, responsible, and high-quality opportunities for higher education near Chicago, IL. With academic excellence a top priority, we are committed to preparing our students for success, not just with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the professional world but with confidence that propels them into their prospective industries. With an early childhood education degree from Governors State University, our students are prepared to serve as teachers and other educational professionals, making a positive impact in the real world.
Why Study Early Childhood Education?
The earliest years of life are the foundation for a child’s future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), children who receive early childhood educational opportunities are more successful on average as they continue in their educational and professional futures.
In one study, there was a group of students who were followed from a quality early education through their later educational years. That group was compared to another group of students in a control group. When looked at years later, the students who had a high-quality educational experience earlier on had fewer discipline issues, scored better on tests, had better behavior, were more social, and had higher attendance rates. You can see how many of the skills that children develop in their early years lay the foundation for how they view education throughout the remainder of their lives.
For example, if a child is taught to use his or her fingers to do addition in the early years, finger counting may be the method for which the child feels most comfortable when learning new math skills. If the child is able to do addition mentally during his or her early years, mental math will be easier as the child grows and learns other mathematical skills. Is one way right or wrong? It depends on who you ask, but the point goes to show that skills learned in the early stages of development and learning will often follow a child throughout the rest of his or her primary school years.
Since early childhood education begins at birth and extends through grade two, there are other skills that need to be learned, and our Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education goes over those skills. These foundational principles will not only help your young students in their current season of life but will also set them up for success as they grow and develop. The satisfaction that comes with being a part of that process is unparalleled.
How Does Governors State University Prepare Future Educators?
The Governors State University Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education program prepares future educators to work with children from birth through second grade, including teaching in classrooms and other early childhood settings serving English Language Learners and children with special needs.
Early Childhood Education students may pursue one of two bachelor’s degree study track options: Option 1 (licensure) or Option 2 (non-licensure).
Upon successful completion of all required coursework, Option 1 graduates will earn a Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for early childhood (birth to 2nd grade) and English as a Second Language (ESL).
Upon successful completion of all required coursework, Option 2 graduates will be able to pursue careers such as: Preschool teacher, infant/toddler specialist, child care administrator or director, child and family advocate, family services worker, parent educator, resource and referral specialist, family child care provider, early intervention specialist.
More than 200 hours of diversified clinical experiences are incorporated throughout both programs prior to student teaching (Option 1) or the practicum (Option 2).
The on-campus Family Development Center serves children from the local community while providing students in education programs a chance to practice teaching models under the guidance and supervision of licensed educators. In addition, teacher candidates also have field experiences in local early childhood and elementary schools.
Reach Your Career Goals
As an early childhood educator, you will support the academic, social, and emotional development of children in a variety of settings: infant/toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and first and second-grade classrooms. Employment for preschool teachers is expected to grow over the next decade - faster than the national average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Kindergarten and early elementary positions are also expected to grow due to a statewide shortage of qualified teachers. Teachers with an ESL endorsement and special education approval are especially in demand (ISBE, 2018).
Jobs and Salaries You Can Get With an Early Childhood Education Degree
Once you have a BA in early childhood education and are ready to take on the world, you might wonder what types of jobs and salaries you’re qualified for. Prospective educators have a lot of different types of opportunities to cultivate learning in some of the most precious young minds who are our future. What jobs are a part of your opportunities, and what are the salaries?
Some parents looking for a nanny don’t require any form of education, but then there are others that place a high value on education and may be willing to pay more if you have a degree in early childhood education. As a nanny, you would typically work in the private home of your employer, completing daily tasks associated with the children and acting as a “parent” while the actual parent works or takes care of other responsibilities. If you work with an infant, you may be paid more than if your children are in grade school. Most nannies are paid by the hour, which averages around $18 per hour. Typically, the more education you have, the higher you are paid.
As a preschool teacher, you are often the child’s first teacher outside the home. You would be tasked with offering fundamental lessons that help your students reach the basic standards required in society. Teaching is fun in preschool, with opportunities to turn playtime into learning time and vice versa. The average salary for a preschool teacher is about $29,780.
Grade School Teacher
With an early childhood education degree, you would be qualified to teach kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Putting together lesson plans, understanding how to settle conflicts, and keeping track of student progress would be some of your main responsibilities. Once in grade school, learning becomes a little more structured. The average salary for a grade school teacher is around $57,980. This includes special education teachers.
Childcare Worker or Director
As a childcare worker, you would complete some of the same activities and tasks as a preschool or grade school teacher, though many of them are not required. Some childcare workers deal directly with the children’s teachers so they can focus on the same skills that need improving at the time. A childcare worker's average salary is $23,240 each year, and a degree typically isn’t required. A childcare director would need a BA in early childhood education, and the average salary is around $47,940.
Contact Governors State University To Get Started
At Governors State University, we are interested in the success of every student. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, transferring from another university, or continuing your education later in life, we’re excited to help you through it. If you are interested in the future success of children, a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education might be the perfect degree. Contact Governors State University today at 708-534-4490 to discuss admissions and learn more about our education program.