What You Should Know About This Degree
A degree in child development is a generalist degree which allows you obtain a professional position or continue on to doctoral studies in areas such as psychiatry. For teachers who are required to have a master’s degree, it is a good choice that is accepted by most school districts.
Locations that are likely to hire professionals with this degree include child welfare agencies, schools, group homes, parenting programs, and hospitals. Any public or non-profit agency that serves the needs of children may have child development specialists on staff.
Professional credentials are not mandatory for jobs in child development. The most common credential available for a child development professional is one from the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program of the Council for Professional Recognition.
Here are some questions to ask when researching child development programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? For most of these programs, you will need to have earned an undergraduate degree with a 2.5 or above GPA from an accredited college or university. You’ll need to submit an application that may include an essay or letters of recommendation. If your undergraduate degree is in psychology, education, social work, or a related field, it will make for a stronger application, but is not required. Be sure to review the requirements for the program you choose on the institution’s website.
- Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? This depends on the institution, as well as the nature of the program. Online courses may meet at a designated time (synchronously), or you may have the opportunity to watch the classes at your convenience, with some flexibility on when you submit assignments (asynchronously). If you are attending school part-time while you continue to work, an asynchronous situation might be your best option.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the admissions office of any institution that interests you. Counselors should be able to answer your questions and help guide you to the program that’s best for your own circumstances.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the financial aid that the school offers, which can be a game-changer if your finances are tight. Also look for scholarships, grants, and loans through any professional organizations you belong to.