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
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Early years teacher
- Education consultant
- Family support worker
- Health play specialist
- Learning mentor
- Play therapist
- Primary school teacher
- Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
- Special educational needs teacher
- Social worker
- Teaching assistant
- Youth worker
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Child psychotherapist
- Children's nurse
- Community development worker
- Educational psychologist
- Speech and language therapist
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What do childhood studies graduates do?
More than a quarter of early childhood studies graduates were working as nursery nurse assistants or teaching assistants. Those who go onto further study often study for teacher training qualifications.
|Working and studying||6.7|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Childcare, health and education work||37.6|
|Legal, social and welfare||10.7|
|Retail, catering and bar work||8.7|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Find out more
- Children & Young People Now
- Department for Education
- Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- National Youth Agency (NYA)