The need for child-care professionals and educators has never been greater than it is today. While teachers continue to retire, school enrollment is always on the increase creating a perpetual need for top-quality educators. Parents too are recognizing that a solid foundation in early childhood learning is connected to their children’s future success and educational growth. The need of the hour is for trained educators to provide high-quality education to the younger generation. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there is a favorable growth expected in the field of early childhood education over the next decade.Before you embark on a career in early childhood education, a healthy dose of soul searching is recommended. A career in early childhood education is not to be taken lightly. It may involve a whole lot of play and fun, but there is a serious responsibility attached to the molding of minds and shaping the lives of little children. If you are thinking of an early childhood education degree, you need to ask yourself if you truly love children and have an aptitude to continually impart patient loving care. There can be no middle ground here. You will be spending the better part of your day with them so you will need a great deal of patience and love to truly succeed. In addition to this, you need to be creative with excellent communication skills. It will open up multiple opportunities for you.Early childhood educators deal with children from infancy to eight years of age. As a teacher to these youngsters, you will be training and developing their physical, emotional and intellectual skills in a variety of challenging ways. There will be a whole lot of creative expression and hands-on activities involved such as games, artwork, story time, music, role-playing in order to nurture the child’s imagination and learning.An Associate degree in Early Childhood Education is an effective stepping-stone leading to a wider scope in the field of education. Normally, this is an extensive program that will lead to a broad range of career options and advancement after graduation. Approximately, two years are required to complete an AOS degree in Early Childhood Education. This degree provides all the necessary training you would require for teaching young children. It includes functional knowledge and understanding of early childhood education through the completion of courses covering curriculum, child development, child center administration, health and safety, and related fields. A general knowledge of science, social science and language arts is generally part of the curriculum as well.There are a number of career options available to graduates with an Early Childhood Education degree. You can be an elementary school teacher, pre-school teacher, a school counselor or administrator. This will also prepare you to work in areas such as education policy or advocacy. As an educator you can find employment in nursery or elementary schools, as specialists for children with disabilities or learning disorders, as program supervisors and directors in schools and as family childcare home providers.Equipped with a childhood education degree, you will be ready to invest your life in the future generation. You’ll find educating children, molding and shaping their lives, challenging them for the life ahead, an extremely rewarding experience!