A degree in early childhood studies is an excellent foundation for a career working with young children in many sectors, including education, health and social care

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Make the most of any work placements, field trips or work shadowing opportunities offered as part of your course to build up your knowledge, gain practical experience and make contacts.

There are many ways to get relevant experience of working with children. You could try local youth and sports clubs, Brownies and Scouts groups, summer play schemes, summer camps and Sunday schools. Private tutoring or mentoring is also a possibility, particularly if you have a useful skill. If you wish to go into social work, some experience of working with the local community will be helpful.

If you're considering a career in teaching or social work, you'll need to evidence as much experience as possible as competition is fierce for course places. Classroom experience can be gained by arranging visits to schools to observe and talk to teachers.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Early childhood studies graduates work in a variety of sectors with a range of employers, including:

  • nurseries and pre-schools
  • state and independent schools
  • local authorities
  • local and national charities
  • health authorities.

Sure Start Children's Centres and the National Health Service (NHS) also employ graduates from childhood studies degrees.

Find information on employers in teaching and education, healthcare, charity and voluntary work, and other job sectors, or learn more about working with children.

Skills for your CV

An early childhood studies degree provides you with specific skills and knowledge around the subject of how children aged 0 to 8 develop, learn and think.

Topics covered include the history and culture of childhood, contemporary factors and influences that have an impact on children and their development, and the major theories of social, emotional and cognitive development.

The degree allows you to develop the professional knowledge and skills to work with young children and their families on graduation.

Employers are also interested in the broader skills you acquire, such as:

  • written communication, developed through essays
  • oral communication, gained through reasoned debates during seminars and presentations
  • the ability to work as part of a team, through collaborative group work
  • research and analytical skills with the ability to judge and evaluate information
  • organisational and time management skills, by prioritising tasks to ensure academic, social and work commitments are completed on time
  • negotiation, informally with peers and formally with staff
  • problem solving
  • IT skills.

Further study

Early childhood studies graduates that go on to further study tend to take courses that lead to professional status. The most popular option is the postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), as many graduates go on to work as primary or secondary school, early years or special education needs (SEN) teachers.

Other popular professional courses include nursing and postgraduate courses in social work. Another option, if you'd like to pursue a career in social work, is the intensive 14-month Step Up to Social Work training programme. There are also options to undertake further training to work in educational psychology.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do childhood studies graduates do?

More than a fifth (22%) of early childhood studies graduates are working as nursery nurse assistants or primary and nursery education teaching professionals. Those who go on to further study often work towards teacher training qualifications.

Further study13.6
Working and studying7.2
Graduate destinations for childhood studies
Type of workPercentage
Childcare, health and education49
Retail, catering and bar staff6.4
Legal, social and welfare5.2
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other early childhood studies graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Find out more

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