There are several degrees in child development for an individual who wants to be an advocate for children and have a lasting impact on their future development. Students in child development programs focus on the physical, psychological and biological growth of children from infancy through their adolescent years. Below are some options students have for degrees in child development.
Associate’s Degree in Child Development
Associate in Child Development programs take about two years to complete and include both childhood education courses and practical training in education settings. Course topics in an associate degree program include family dynamics, infant development, health and safety, toddler development, children’s nutrition, children’s literature and early childhood education. Graduates of associate degree programs are eligible for these careers:
- Teaching assistants in public schools
- Lead educator in early childhood development programs
- Childcare professional in licensed child care centers
The child development associate degree program can also act as a foundation towards advancement into a bachelor’s degree program in child development or early childhood education. Teaching assistants are expected to see an 8 percent increase in job growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development
The bachelor’s degree in childhood development program focuses heavily on leadership and advocacy in the field of early education. Its interdisciplinary nature combines traditional coursework with a bit of communication, psychology and social sciences. Students focus heavily on child development from birth to grade 3, but students choose a specific age group as they advance in the program. Graduates of the bachelor’s in child development are qualified for these careers.
- Child Life Specialist
- Parent Educator
- Special Education Paraprofessional
- Early Childhood Education Regulator
- Social Worker
- Early Childhood Education Consultant
The bachelor’s degree in child development takes about four years to complete. Many schools offer these programs online or as hybrid programs. The career outlook for these workers varies by occupation. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers should see a 7 percent job growth from 2016-2026, according to the bureau, and social workers could see a 16 percent growth during that decade.
Master’s Degree in Child Development
Students pursuing a master’s degree in child development can expect to attend college an additional two years beyond the bachelor’s degree programs. Many bachelor’s degree holding baccalaureate degrees earn their master’s degrees online while they continue to work and gain work experience in child development or teaching. Students in this graduate program usually have the choice of concentrations such as child life, infant and early childhood mental health, youth and behavioral health, and individualized studies.
Course topics include child life theory, applied child and adolescent development, psychopathy in early childhood, education psychology, human development and teaching adults, among others. Graduates of master’s degrees in child development are qualified for these positions.
- School administrator
- Community organizer
- School counselor
- Child behavioral psychologist
- Social worker
- Child and adolescent policy advocate
The bureau indicates that teachers and school administrators could see an employment growth of 8 percent, and child behavioral psychologists could see a 14 percent growth from 2016-2026.
Doctoral Degree in Child Development
Doctoral degrees in child development are usually aimed at individuals who want careers in research or academia. Many of the doctoral degree programs are completed online. Upon graduation, which generally takes two to three years beyond the master’s degree, the candidate can pursue work as a scholar or educator.
Related Resource: Top 10 Online Child Development Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2018
The study of child development continues to be a popular area of focus as teachers, social workers and other leaders continue to research factors that impact a child’s development. Earning a degree in child development is the first step towards reaching the goal of helping a child succeed in life.