Updated December 2023
In Canada, the term early childhood education refers to the education of children 12 years and under. The field includes children at the preschool and elementary school level.
These are the most crucial years of human development. During the first five years, children reach many physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development milestones.
This is why early childhood educators play such an important role in our academic system and society.
ECEs are a child’s first teachers outside of the home. They help lay the foundation for a child’s well-being and success in school and in life.
So, what exactly are your career options as an early childhood educator? Where can a college certificate in this field take you?
You have more options than you might think. Here are four different positions you will qualify for with a college certificate in early childhood education.
You can work as an Educator at a Daycare or Preschool
Across the country, there is a growing number of single-parent families and families where both parents work. As a result, we're seeing skyrocketing demand for quality childcare services.
Daycares and preschools are the most popular options for working parents. These businesses provide supervision, care, and educational programs for children age zero to five.
Daycares can be operated out of a home or community centre. Preschools are more formal and often follow a stricter academic curriculum.
What is your role at a preschool or daycare? In this setting, early childhood educators are responsible for the following:
- Developing and leading educational activities
- Keeping children safe
- Providing quality nutrition (meals and snacks)
- Creating opportunities for physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development
- Encouraging teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving
- Assisting with proper eating, dressing, and toileting habits
- Helping children become more independent (prepare them for kindergarten)
- Monitoring each child’s progress and keeping parents informed of any challenges
With experience, successful ECEs can advance to daycare or preschool director positions. A director oversees staff, educational programming, budgets, marketing, and other leadership activities.
You can start your own daycare business
Want to become an entrepreneur? Many ECEs choose to open their own daycare business after college.
This is a great option for graduates who want to set their own hours, be their own boss, and design their own learning programs for young children.
You can operate a daycare out of your home or rent space in a commercial centre.
Things to keep in mind: You will need to market and manage the business yourself, so you’ll need to be prepared for some extra responsibilities.
The good news? There are federal and provincial grants available to support new daycare owners. These grants provide financial assistance to help you start and run your daycare business.
You can become a teaching assistant at an elementary school
Early childhood educators don’t just work at daycares and preschools. With an early childhood education certificate, you can get hired at an elementary school as a teaching assistant.
A teaching assistant works under the supervision of a licensed teacher. In this role, you would be responsible for:
- Helping the teacher lead educational activities
- Setting up the classroom for activities
- Assisting students who need extra support
- Helping to supervise students
Important to know: In Quebec and other parts of Canada, elementary school teachers require a university degree and teaching licence. You cannot qualify for a teaching position without these credentials.
However, with an early childhood education diploma, you are qualified to assist a licensed teacher. Many teachers rely on assistants to help them manage large class sizes and support students with special learning needs.
You can become an Early Childhood Education Instructor
Can you see yourself teaching a college course one day? Some experienced ECEs go on to become college instructors, teaching the next generation of early childhood educators.
If you decide to teach an early childhood education program, you will be responsible for:
- Designing courses
- Setting learning goals
- Promoting and modelling best practices in early childhood education
- Creating tests and other assessment tools
- Evaluating students
- Supervising internships
- Reporting to the college director
- Staying informed on ECE industry trends
Is there demand for Early childhood educators?
There is good or very good demand for early childhood educators across most of the country, according to the Government of Canada Job Bank.
Employers prefer to hire applicants with a college certificate in early childhood education, or an Attestation of College Studies in early childhood education.
Bottom line? If you want to become an educator and build a successful career in this field, you need college training.
Want to learn more?
If you’re interested in early childhood education training, your next step is to speak with an admissions advisor.
An advisor can guide you through program details, how to apply, job opportunities, and how to get started. They can also answer questions about tuition costs, financial aid, government student loans and grants, and class schedules.
Click below to explore Herzing College’s early childhood education program and chat live with an admissions advisor. We’re here to help!