In today’s job market, there are few professions that offer a good wage while also sporting a high rate of job fulfillment. One of those professions is the field of Early Childhood Education. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing one of your students finally grasp a concept that caused them to struggle. With more and more parents enrolling their children in preschool, it is also a growing field. Career options include teaching in a preschool or child care center.
A bachelor’s degree and teacher certification allow you to teach in elementary schools from Kindergarten up until third grade. A master’s degree in Early Childhood Education opens up the doors to the administrative end of a school’s early childhood education program. The catch is students around the country are catching on to the amazing potential this career offers, so competition for jobs is getting fierce. Luckily there are some tips to follow to write a killer resume and sell yourself in the interview to land your dream job.
Why Early Childhood Education?
A career in early childhood education has several benefits. Not many people get to go to work with a purpose as important as shaping the young minds of the future. These early years are crucial for a child’s academic development, so the early education teacher can make a difference between a child who excels in school or a kid who falls through the cracks. Some people have a negative view of early childhood education because they think the teacher’s job is just one of glorified babysitter. The reality is you get to experience a wide spectrum of budding talents and field questions fueled by the child-like wonder towards the world. Working with kids all day inevitably draws out your inner child and keeps you grounded when the stresses of the adult world come crashing down.
There are also some new educational reform movements that make it an exciting time to start in the field. Whole Brain Teaching is a reform movement, started in 1999 by three teachers in California, with the primary goal of enhancing learning through bringing fun into the classroom.
Traditional learning only involves part of the brain. We nurture the logical side of the student’s brain but neglect and suppress the creative side. This is part-brain learning. Whole brain teaching champions whole brain learning, which is why it enforces comprehension of concepts through fun games. The strategy is backed by research that shows young children learn the best and quickest when they are having fun. Prospective teachers have an opportunity to adapt the whole brain style and instantly make themselves more marketable to schools with a progressive philosophy.
Early Childhood Education Careers
Common career paths for early education majors include Preschool teacher, K-3 teacher, caregiver at a child care center, and administration. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool teaching jobs are predicted to grow by 17% over the next seven years, which is faster than average. Kindergarten teachers are set to grow 12% over the same period. The median salary for elementary school teachers is $53,090, and that’s for only working 180 days out of the year. A job at a child care center doesn’t pay nearly as well but is a good entry level option to gain experience in the field. Those who go on to complete their graduate studies go on to hold administrative positions in charge of a school’s educational direction.
Educational Process & Requirements
The level of education you need depends on the career path you choose. Often a job at a child care center requires only a love for children and no degree. It’s a great option to build your resume while completing your studies. An associate’s degree is required to get a job as a preschool teacher, and a bachelor’s degree is required to teach at the elementary school level. Teaching at an elementary school also requires you to get certified, with certification requirements varying from state to state. Any position on the administrative end of education requires a masters degree or higher.
Don’t Miss These Features on Your Resume
Think of your resume as a brochure for your personal brand. After all, a job interview is merely a sales meeting in which you sell yourself. Thinking of your resume in this way gets rid of boring language. Use active verbs and the active voice to make your resume stand out.
You also need to make sure you are putting your most relevant experience first. If you are applying for your first teaching position, you want to list any job that involved working with kids first. For instance, list your job as a camp counselor over your job as a cashier so you can give details of how you successfully worked with kids in the past.
There is a couple of simple changes you can make to your formatting to make your resume visually stand out. Most people use Microsoft’s resume template, which uses bullet points and Times New Roman for the font. Remove the bullet points and change the font to Georgia, and your resume will at least receive a longer look. Another easy change is to make your objective stand out. You will never get the job if your objective is just ” To obtain a job in early childhood education”. Something like ” To obtain a job teaching kids critical learning skills to further their educational development” lets the school know you put some thought into your resume instead of simply plugging your info into a template.
The most important part of a teacher’s resume and cover letter is their teaching philosophy. Each school has a certain educational philosophy, so a big factor in selecting prospective teachers is a match in philosophy. Make sure you let your passion shine instead of it coming off like a corporate mission statement.
How to Sell Yourself to Employers
Your Resume is your marketing tool to set up the job interview, which makes the job interview the sales meeting. The key to selling any product or service, including yourself, is being an expert on features and benefits. An interview asks for your features and benefits when he or she asks your strengths, goals, educational philosophy, and weaknesses. The key is to sell your strengths hard and package your weaknesses as areas that you are working towards turning into strengths.
Another key factor in selling anything is product appearance. Make sure your appearance is impeccable before you step into that interview. It’s better to dress a little too professional than a little too casual. Also, carry yourself with confidence. Good body language makes a good impression on the interviewer before you even say a word.
The final and most important step in any sale is closing the sale. In the case of the interview, this involves letting the school know what makes you different than the dozens of other teachers applying for the position. This can be tough for those who don’t have teaching experience. Your best bet coming out of college is to sell the school on the fact that you are fresh blood with an untapped desire for making a difference in children’s lives. Your only chance to beat out teachers with years of experience is to convince the school that you approach your craft with an unrivaled passion.