Becoming an Early Childhood Educator
Working in the early childhood education field may seem fun and playful, but these positions require specific skills and qualities. Find out about the qualifications and training programs that are necessary for early childhood educators to launch careers in this constantly growing sector.
Early childhood educators plan and organize activities for pre-school and school-age children (0-12 years of age in Canada). Early childhood educator assistants, on the other hand, provide care and guidance to pre-school children under the supervision of certified early childhood educators. Together, these professionals lead children in activities that promote their intellectual, physical and emotional growth. Their goal is to stimulate psychomotor, emotional, language, social, and moral development while preparing children for life in society.
According to the current regulations in Quebec, in order to work in early childhood centres (centres de la petite enfance or CPEs), educators must be qualified, which means that they must possess:
- an undergraduate degree in pre-school education or psychology with a specialization in early childhood development or in a field related to education, or
- a diploma of collegial studies (DEC) in child care education, or in social work technology supplemented with an attestation of collegial studies (AEC) in child care education
For educator assistants, a secondary school diploma is normally required, as well as experience in the child care field and a first aid certificate.
Job prospects in the early childhood education field are very promising. Job opportunities mainly come from staff turnover, retirements and the creation of new positions. In addition, employers may offer temporary positions on a regular basis to replace staff on maternity, parental or illness leave.
According to census data, in 2006 approximately 82% of early childhood educators and educator assistants worked in early childhood centres, including family day cares. Another 14% of these professionals worked in primary schools. In Quebec, about 50% of early childhood educators (éducateurs de jeunes enfants, or EJE) work in day nurseries, drop-in centres, CPEs and day care centres. If they have the required skills and qualifications, they may also work in specialized settings such as special needs nurseries and child care homes.
With experience, they may also move on to positions with increased responsibilities, such as a day care centre coordinator.
Training in early childhood education is within the reach of anyone who wishes to undertake a rewarding and stimulating career. CDI College offers an Early Childhood Education training program that prepares to become early childhood educators and quickly enter the workforce. For more information about the Early Childhood Education program, fill out the form on the right.