Major in Early Childhood Education to Make A Difference in Your Community
It’s a vicious cycle: high-need schools are frequently in need of quality teachers, yet they often struggle to recruit, retain, and develop the teachers that come through their doors. Frequent staff turnover leaves underserved schools with a lack of educators who can invest themselves in the school’s continued growth from year to year. This isn’t just a problem for the school administrators; ultimately, the effects of teacher retention are felt by students as well, and can negatively impact their academic performance.
Perhaps you remember a particularly influential teacher from your years in kindergarten or elementary school. Maybe you recognize our education system’s shortcomings and want to change the way it engages with communities of color. If you believe in the power of education and are looking for a career that will have a tangible positive effect on your community, a career as a teacher is an excellent fit for you. And as a student at an historically Black college or university (HBCU), your presence in the classroom is needed.
A report by the Learning Policy Institute noted that “when taught by teachers of color, students of color have better academic performance, improved graduation rates, and are more likely to attend college.” As an educator, your role and your visibility both make a difference. Today’s students create tomorrow’s society.
There is no shortage of opportunities for you to explore the field of early childhood education and get a better idea of what your future career could look like. HBCUs offer hands-on, supportive education programs that will give you the chance to learn, observe, and practice the skills you need to be an impactful educator.
Careers in Early Childhood Education
While becoming a teacher is likely the most obvious career path for people with a degree in early childhood education, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not the only option available to you. A degree in early childhood education (ECE) will prepare you to perform important work in a variety of different roles, such as:
- Kindergarten or elementary school teacher
- Pre-school teacher
- Special education teacher
- School administrator
- School counselor
- Education director
- Education consultant
- Childcare program professional
- Child development center professional
Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in early childhood education? Looking for help with financing this degree?
How to Prepare for Success
Any experience working with children or schools will help lay the groundwork for your degree in early childhood education, and will also give you a chance to try out different settings and roles to see which one you like best. If you can, consider volunteering at an after-school program such as the Boys & Girls Club, or working as a tutor or teacher’s aide.
Strong communication skills are essential for anyone with a career in education, so taking classes in writing and communication will be extremely helpful. Your ECE major will likely require you to take classes in developmental psychology and pedagogy as well, so any background in those subjects will give you a leg up in your coursework as well. Finally, if you’re able, consider studying a second language. As the United States becomes more and more diverse, learning another language can help you be more relatable to your students.
UNCF Schools to Consider
As you prepare for your journey as an early childhood education major, consider the following HBCUs:
- Benedict College
- Claflin University
- Clark Atlanta University
- Huston-Tillotson University
- Lemoyne-Owen College
- Miles College
- Morris College
- Paine College
- Rust College
- Shaw University
- Spelman College
- Texas College
- Tougaloo College
- Wiley University
For a better idea of the larger field of early childhood education, you may also want to consider looking into the following professional organizations:
- Childhood Education International
- National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Child Care Association
- National Head Start Association
There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in early childhood education than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for early childhood education majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements.
Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study early childhood education.
As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in early childhood education. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!