The primary requirement of an early childhood education major is to complete the educational requirements for a chosen degree at a school of higher learning and to comply with state licensing requirements. These requirements vary by state and college but typically include 120 credits of general education and specialized courses.
Many institutions offer both an associate's degree in early childhood education and a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. A bachelor's degree is generally required to teach at either a public elementary school or a Montessori School. Pre-kindergarten and private schools that are not subject to state requirements may offer jobs to those with only an associate's degree, while those with a master's degree in a related field may have an easier time finding work and being promoted.
Course requirements for early childhood education programs vary. The University of Phoenix offers early childhood classes focused on theory, ethics, teaching developmental learners, building student literacy and educational theories, among others.
For public teaching jobs, teachers must complete the licensing requirements for their state, which typically involves completing a teacher education program and successfully completing the Praxis II exam. Additionally, teaching at a Montessori school requires completing a separate Montessori teacher education program. Teachers may optionally pursue certification in specialized areas of early childhood education through the Council for Professional Recognition and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.