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Top Universities for Early Childhood Education in 2022-2023

Apr 19, 2022

Best Colleges and Universities to study Early Childhood Education in the world

About Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Early childhood education is a branch of teaching that deals explicitly with children from ages as early as newborns to eight years. It is known that children from early years on start to observe and learn from the world around them. In addition, these years are crucial for a child’s brain development. 

For this reason, early childhood education plays a vital role in a child’s well-being. This branch is beyond just preparing kids for primary school. As early education specialists, teachers look after a child’s educational, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs.

Students who wish to pursue a teaching specialization in early childhood education should aim to build a solid foundation for a child’s lifelong learning and promote their holistic development.

Duties of an Early Childhood Educators

Primarily, the duties of an early childhood educator revolve around the well-being and development of the children under their guidance. But educators must fulfill several other managerial and administrative obligations to support child care. Some of such duties are listed below.

  • Developing schedules and planning activities to engage children productively
  • Ensuring safe learning and playing environment for children by appropriately furnishing the area, keeping harmful objects away from children’s reach, and repairing broken items and devices to prevent injuries.
  • Supervising children’s activities to protect them from any potential harm
  • Imparting necessary education in a way that entertains children and helps them learn faster
  • Communicating with parents about their children, giving suggestions and guidance for children’s betterment

Some early childhood educators work with differently-abled children. In such cases, the educators need to be skilled in handling such children and ensuring a safe environment. 

Qualities of an Early Childhood Education specialist

One cannot enjoy their profession as an early childhood educator if they do not have a love for working for children. Being compassionate and nurturing towards them ensures children feel safe and comfortable with the educators.

Patience is a vital characteristic of an early childhood educator. Working with children can get quite tiring and stressful, especially when there are multiple aspects of learning and protection to manage. However, an early childhood educator must remember that children are too young to tell the wrong from right and be patient enough to educate them. 

The work of an early childhood educator is not limited to children. Educators need to discuss several aspects of a child’s holistic development. The ability to communicate ideas well and convince parents to make the right choice for their kids helps. Educators also have the responsibility to keep children’s attention focused on them by being creative.

Other essential qualities of time management, schedule planning and management, and flexibility to adapt to the different needs of children help an educator easily carry out their day-to-day work. 

Popular degrees for pursuing Early Childhood Education

Universities worldwide provide ample opportunities for students to specialize in early childhood education. Some of the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs are listed as follows:

Undergraduate/Bachelor’s level

Early childhood education is a highly specialized field. To practice as an early childhood educator, students need a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, child development, or any closely related field.

  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)
  • Bachelor in Early Childhood Education (Hons) 
  • Bachelor of Early Childhood

Graduate/Master’s level

Students who already have a traditional bachelor’s degree in education can opt for a master’s degree in early childhood education. ECE programs at the master’s level can help students train for specialized job roles and benefit through career enhancement.

  • Master of Education
  • Master’s in Early Elementary Education
  • Master of Education with Early Childhood
  • MA in Early Childhood Education

Doctoral level

Students who wish to pursue research in early childhood education can choose a typical doctoral program in education with early childhood as their research area or choose a specialized doctoral program.

  • Ph.D. in Education
  • Ph.D. Early Childhood and Childhood Education
  • Ph.D. Child and Family Studies

Job Titles in Early Childhood Education

There are several job titles in early childhood education. Although most jobs in this field require a bachelor’s degree, some positions may place more prominence on prior experience. Most people choose to work in schools after a degree in childhood education. However, there are other avenues to explore.

Preschool teachers

Early years teachers work with kids ranging from ages 0 to 5. They are responsible for creating a safe environment for children and developing their cognitive, social, and communication abilities by devising preschool education strategies through creative and imaginative activities. 

Elementary teachers

Elementary teachers cater to ages above 5. They impart basic education to improve kids’ reading, listening, speaking, and writing abilities. Elementary education usually takes place in classrooms, and teachers are responsible for ensuring the kids’ safety in the class.

Childcare worker

Childcare or family support workers usually work in local social services departments or charitable organizations. Childcare workers extend emotional and physical support to distraught children going through unfavorable circumstances. They may also work with parents and other family members to address difficulties in child upbringing and suggest practical solutions.

School Counselor / Psychologist

School counselors help children overcome or remedy issues outside the classroom. These could be issues with social skills or family. Children learn to express their concerns instead of limiting themselves. An adult trained in counseling young children can contribute significantly to their overall personality development.

Special Education teachers

A more specialized area within early childhood education deals with children facing physical, mental, emotional, or learning disabilities. Special education teachers are equipped with the training to impart valuable education through alternative teaching methods.

Subjects in Early Childhood Education

Each university offering programs in early childhood education may design its course differently. But the below-listed subjects can be observed in most course curriculums. A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is geared towards making students understand the way children perceive the world, the tools they engage with, and how teachers can navigate through a child’s world to develop their personalities.

  • Early Child Development
  • Early Childhood Rights, Safety and Wellbeing
  • International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education
  • Developing Children’s Thinking and Understanding
  • Children’s culture and language
  • Family and Community Engagement in the early years
  • Developing Teaching Practice
  • Leading and Managing in Education

Salary of Early Childhood Educators

Salaries for early childhood educators tends to differ depending on the countries, and cities within a country. Starting salaries of ECE graduates tend to be lower than the average, at approximately 20,000 to 30,000 per annum. Salaries gradually increase as educators build up their experience.

United States– $37,400 to $46,300

Canada – $20,700 to $31,000

United Kingdom– $27,000 to $33,000

Australia– $29,700 to $55,000

Duration of completing Early Childhood studies

Country Bachelor’s level Master’s level Doctoral level
United States 4 years 2 years 4-5 years
Canada 4-5 years 2-3 years 4 years
United Kingdom 3 years 1 year 3 years
Australia 3 years 2 years 3-4 years

Top Early Childhood Education universities in the world

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 23 16 University College London United Kingdom Click here Click here
2 1 1 Harvard University United States Click here Click here
3 76-100 5 University of Oxford United Kingdom Click here Click here
4 10 16 University of Toronto Canada Click here Click here
5 6 3 Stanford University United States Click here Click here
6 76-100 8 University of Cambridge United Kingdom Click here Click here
7 47 4 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States Click here Click here
8 19 76 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click here Click here
9 17 6 Columbia University United States Click here Click here
10 32 14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States Click here Click here
11 51-75 33 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) Singapore Click here Click here
12 51-75 25 The University of Melbourne Australia Click here Click here
13 36 40 Monash University Australia Click here Click here
14 76-100 32 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom Click here Click here
15 42 35 University of British Columbia Canada Click here Click here
16 4 19 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States Click here Click here
17 38 886 The Education University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click here Click here
18 9 52 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States Click here Click here
19 2 108 Michigan State University United States Click here Click here
20 41 9 Johns Hopkins University United States Click here Click here
21 NA 1184 Gazi Üniversitesi Turkey Click here Click here
22 76-100 94 University of Helsinki Finland Click here Click here
23 76-100 33 King’s College London United Kingdom Click here Click here
24 3 73 Vanderbilt University United States Click here Click here
25 43 28 The University of Sydney Australia Click here Click here
26 51-75 1011 National Taiwan Normal University Taiwan Click here Click here
27 48 51 McGill University Canada Click here Click here
28 101-150 295 Beijing Normal University China Click here Click here
29 8 48 Utrecht University Netherlands Click here Click here
30 20 78 Pennsylvania State University United States Click here Click here
31 5 43 University of Texas at Austin United States Click here Click here
32 15 13 University of Pennsylvania United States Click here Click here
33 76-100 82 The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Hong Kong Click here Click here
34 201-300 92 University of Bristol United Kingdom Click here Click here
35 151-200 308 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) Chile Click here Click here
36 51-75 36 The University of Queensland Australia Click here Click here
37 51-75 118 The University of Auckland Australia Click here Click here
38 301-400 130 Seoul National University South Korea Click here Click here
39 24 38 University of Amsterdam Netherlands Click here Click here
40 301-400 45 Peking University China Click here Click here
41 151-200 84 University of Glasgow United Kingdom Click here Click here
42 151-200 58 The University of Manchester United Kingdom Click here Click here
43 51-75 218 Deakin University Australia Click here Click here
44 49 NA KU Leuven Belgium Click here Click here
45 NA 46 Sorbonne University France Click here Click here
46 151-200 151 University of Nottingham United Kingdom Click here Click here
47 NA 324 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia Click here Click here
48 NA 26 Tsinghua University China Click here Click here
49 7 7 University of Washington United States Click here Click here
50 18 190 Maastricht University Netherlands Click here Click here

Top universities for Early Childhood Education in the USA

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 1 1 Harvard University Click here Click here
5 6 3 Stanford University Click here Click here
7 47 4 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Click here Click here
9 17 6 Columbia University Click here Click here
10 32 14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Click here Click here

Top universities for Early Childhood Education in Canada

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
4 10 16 University of Toronto Click here Click here
15 42 35 University of British Columbia Click here Click here
27 48 51 McGill University Click here Click here
56 151-200 169 University of Calgary Click here Click here
72 201-300 151 Université de Montréal Click here Click here

Top universities for Early Childhood Education in the UK

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 23 16 University College London Click here Click here
3 76-100 5 University of Oxford Click here Click here
6 76-100 8 University of Cambridge Click here Click here
14 76-100 32 The University of Edinburgh Click here Click here
23 76-100 33 King’s College London Click here Click here

Top universities for Early Childhood Education in Australia

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
12 51-75 25 The University of Melbourne Click here Click here
13 36 40 Monash University Click here Click here
25 43 28 The University of Sydney Click here Click here
36 51-75 36 The University of Queensland Click here Click here
37 51-75 118 The University of Auckland Click here Click here

Academic requirements for studying Early Childhood Education in top-ranked universities

Undergraduate/Bachelor’s level

Most universities state the following requirements for students to apply fo Bachelor of Early Childood Studies or other relevant program: Most universities do not state any entrance exam requirements for admissions into their ECE programs. However, applicants are advised to check their preferred university program page before applying.

  • Students must have completed standard 12th with a minimum grade of 60-70% 
  • Subject pre-requisites may include English, General Mathematics, or equivalent
  • Proof of English proficiency with at least IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.
  • Program-specific application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Interviews (if conducted by the university)

Graduate/Master’s level

Applicants should ensure they can fulfill the following requirements for gaining admissions to Master of Education or Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education or other relevant master’s programs

  • Application
  • Bachelor’s degree with minimum undergraduate degree GPA of 2.75 or 3.0
  • Proof of English proficiency through IELTS, TOEFL, or any other standardized test
  • Motivation letter
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume highlighting academic or professional achievements
  • GRE scores (if required by the university)
  • Interviews

Doctoral level

  • Master’s Degree in ECE (or related field) with a minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Professional experience of two or three years, as specified by the university
  • Professional resume/CV
  • Essay on research interests and professional goals
  • GRE scores or any other prescribed test score above the 50th percentile
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Interview with faculty or department of Early Childhood Education

License to work in early childhood education

Students who wish to study in the US should check whether their chosen ECE program is accredited by the state laws to be able to practice as a preschool teacher. Each state of the United States specifies different requirements, which usually include a valid bachelor’s degree or certification and considerable work experience in the relevant field.

In Australia, the early childhood education programs should be approved by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) which has set up new quality standards to better the education and care in daycare centers, preschools, and care services. Students planning to study in Australia should enroll in an accredited program. 

Bachelor’s programs for early childhood education in the UK should be listed as accredited Initial Teacher Training providers. Students should aim to qualify for the status of EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status), which is different from QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). 

Prospective early childhood educators must check their local authorities’ requirements to be eligible for practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Early childhood educators can work in public and private schools. Beyond that, they can work in daycare centers or social service organizations as teachers, counselors, or social workers. They can even take up managerial or administrative positions and overlook the activities of organizations or schools.

Career choices are dependent on one’s interest in the area. Anyone who enjoys working with children and is compassionate towards them would enjoy varying degrees of job titles within the early childhood education field. Additionally, the job of a preschool teacher is low in stress, provides good work-life balance, and pays decently with experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers can earn approximately six figures a year. However, one should remember that high salaries are always subject to the level of education and experience one receives. You can consider enrolling in the best universities for early childhood education to improve your career prospects.

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