Study Early Childhood Education in Illinois
Early childhood education focuses on young children who need a very special approach to education to be able to learn and develop critical skills that will help them in the future.
As the child’s brain is the most sensitive to the environment during their first 8 years of life, they need educators that can effectively teach and care for them. Since it is such an important branch, various universities and colleges throughout Illinois offer degree programs for those who want to help future generations.
If you want to work as an early childhood educator, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in this area. Simultaneously, there are master’s programs that raise your chances of getting a good and high-paid job.
Early Childhood Education Programs and Colleges in Illinois
Illinois has a large number of universities that offer early childhood education programs for those interested.
Listed below are some of the popular schools offering early childhood education degree programs in Illinois:
- Grand Canyon University
- DePaul University
- Walden University
- Illinois State University
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Capella University
- Bradley University
- Lynn University
To find out how we rank colleges and universities, please click here.
DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Vincentians. The private university can be found in Chicago, with its two main campuses located in Loop and Lincoln Park. In 1998, it became the United States’ greatest Catholic university by enrollment.
The priorities of DePaul University are teaching and learning. Students come from all sorts of backgrounds and more than 60 different countries. The university offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, with more than 90% of the last graduate and undergraduate degree receivers being already employed.
DePaul University’s Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Early Childhood Education program is set to train aspiring educators in teaching and educating children up to 8 years of age. It will prepare you for experiences with children from different settings, including urban and suburban education. Moreover, students can enroll for both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
During the program, you will be taught educational theories and how to apply them in real life. On top of that, field experiences will help you connect to real-life situations as they allow you to witness teaching activities and take part in them.
As part of the Early Childhood Education program at DePaul University, you will take multiple courses that will help you understand and master the act of educating young children. Some of the courses you will have to attend include:
- Children’s Literature
- Reading Instruction
- Child Growth and Development
- Curriculum Development
- Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition
- Child and Family
- Teaching Strategies
- Speech and Language Development
- Math and Science Instruction in Early Childhood
- Exceptional Child Development and Instruction
Any student that enters this Bachelor of Science program should be aware that they will be required to complete at least 380 hours of daytime field experience in childcare centers and schools. 150 of them will be in bilingual/ESL education settings, with 230 being in early childhood settings, as well as special education ones.
To apply to this program, you must submit the following documents: a resume, official transcripts from all universities or colleges you have attended, and an admission application.
Furthermore, you need to write a personal statement where you explain why you wish to work in young children’s education and submit two letters of recommendation. Keep in mind that if you are an international student, additional documents will be necessary.
Illinois State University
Illinois State University is the oldest public university in the state. Located in Normal, Illinois, the university was founded back in 1857. Initially, it was called Illinois State Normal University.
The university features a diverse community of students, with more than 1,000 being from 47 states and 74 countries. According to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, Illinois State University is one of the top ten biggest teacher producers in the United States.
Illinois State University is dedicated to preparing aspiring early childhood educators for their careers. It offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Early Childhood Education program that helps train students in educating children up to 7 years of age.
A minimum of 120 credit hours are required, as well as 42 senior-level hours for this program. This all takes place over four years for B.S. students. Following graduation, students can apply for a master’s degree in teaching and learning, which includes a 30-hour degree sequence.
Students will partake in different classes of General Education, which may include:
- Language in the Humanities
- Communication and Composition
- Fine Arts
- Social Sciences
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Natural Science/Natural Science Alternatives
- United States Traditions
- Science, Math & Technology
The Early Childhood Education program offered by Illinois State University is recognized by the National Association of the Education of Young Children.
If you want to apply for this program, you will have to submit self-reported SAT or ACT scores, as well as an unofficial high school transcript. If you have a Social Security Number, you should submit it as well. You can also submit a personal statement, but it is optional.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 and it is located in Champaign. It earned a very good reputation over the years and is considered one of the world leaders in teaching, research, and public engagement.
The mission of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is to completely change the lives of its students by helping them discover, learn and engage. Their status allows them to create a powerful community of educators.
People who want to teach children from birth to grade two are the target of the Early Childhood Education Program offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In order to graduate from this Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs, students need at least 120 semester credit hours.
Anyone who wishes to enroll in the Early Childhood Education program must have a high school diploma. Furthermore, non-English speaking applicants must have obtained 102 for TOEFL IBT and 7.0 for IELTS to meet the English language requirements.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also offers a 2-years Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (EdM) program. After graduation, people have the chance to obtain a license and pursue their desired careers.
Undergraduate applicants can apply through the Coalition Application/MyIllini application, whereas graduate applicants can apply through the Online Graduate Portal.
Graduate applicants will also need three letters of recommendation and undergraduate & graduate transcripts, as well as a written statement and questionnaire about the student’s experience with children.
Bradley University was founded in 1897 and it is located in Peoria, Illinois. It has more than 185 undergraduate and graduate programs, with Early Childhood Education being one of them.
The university is a nonprofit, private, and nonsectarian one. Currently, it offers more than 6,000 students the chance to work for their future and obtain their dream job. Classes are not taught by teaching assistants but by professors.
Bradley University offers an Early Childhood Education Program that qualifies you to educate young children. On top of learning the theory, you will also discover more from extra field experiences.
The program requires 120 credit hours and it is a dual-endorsement one in Early Childhood and ESL. Courses included in the program are:
- Children’s Literature
- The History of Education in the U.S.
- Technology Applications
- Fine Arts
- Human Development
- Early Childhood Professional Roles and Responsibilities
- Language Development
To apply to this program, applicants need to submit the following documents:
- Results from the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, E3PT, SAT, or ACT
- A personal statement or essay of 1-2 pages
- An official copy of a high school transcript sent from the high school
- A completed application
Optionally, applicants may send one recommendation letter and standardized test scores.
Early Childhood Education Work Opportunities in Illinois
Studying early childhood education prepares you for working with young children whose brains are in the earliest stages of development. You can go through different jobs once you obtain your early childhood education degree. These include play therapist, family support worker, education consultant, early years teacher, primary school teacher, teaching assistant, social worker, and many others.
Illinois features numerous institutions where you can put what you have learned into practice. For instance, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is a great option for people who want to work as mental health consultants for young children. You can also work for the Illinois School District as an early childhood teacher.
As expected, employment can be pursued in different rural or urban areas across Illinois. If you want to help shape future generations and earn a nice salary of over $44,000 per year, this is a career to consider.
So, check out the early childhood education programs above or look for others that might interest you and make the appropriate choice for your future job.