Books, colored pencils, blocks and an apple on a table being used to represent the Early Childhood Certificate Online program at Dean College.

Do you want to change careers while still working full-time? A college certificate in early childhood education might be the best path to embark upon. Of course, going to school online requires some discipline, concentration, and dedication on your part. All courses within this program meet once a week within synchronous interaction, including live lectures from the instructor. This program also includes some independent course work, allowing students to get work done on their own time to meet assignment due dates. But this challenge only begins once you find and enroll in the right program. And how do you do that? You first need to do your research, lay the groundwork, and take a few initial steps that will set you up for success while obtaining your certificate online.

Determine What You'd Like to Learn

Why do you want to teach children? What would you like to learn that you don't already know? The answers to those questions will help you choose a program, especially if you enroll in the early childhood education program at Dean College, where you get to choose from electives like Classroom Behavior Management and Curriculum for Young Children. Selecting a school that doesn't offer the courses that you need defeats the entire purpose of going back to college to change or enhance your career. 

Ask Plenty of Questions About the Program

While you're examining early childhood education programs, make sure to ask plenty of questions. The School of Continuing Studies, which runs the certificate program at Dean College, has plenty of employees who can answer essential questions for you. It's important to learn as much as possible about the program and how it can fit into your educational plan in order to make an educated decision. 

Choose a School that Offers the Flexibility of Online and Hybrid Courses

Adults who plan to go to school and work at the same time often find themselves in a time crunch. It’s good to anticipate this, as it can be hard to balance everything. Thankfully, hybrid courses, such as those that take place in both the classroom and online and those that are offered 100% online, make it easier. Not having to travel to campus, find a parking space, and walk to class saves time that could be better used for studying. Plus, there's the ability to work on assignments on your own pace, as long as you meet the deadlines. Traditional courses don't offer these distinct advantages. 

Find a School with Rolling Admissions

Often, adults don't want to wait for a traditional semester to begin before they can start going to classes. Instead, they want to get started as soon as possible, before they lose their motivation or start getting too busy with life to find a proper balance that includes college courses. You probably feel the same, so finding a school that offers rolling admissions (meaning that you can apply and enroll at any time throughout the year), as well as shorter, revolving course sessions, is ideal. This is another topic to explore when you meet with the admissions department of the colleges that you're considering. If they don't offer this option, you need to decide whether or not you want to wait for a standard semester to begin. 

Working with children can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. So, weigh your options carefully when choosing where you want to obtain your college certificate in early childhood education. Obtaining an online certification allows you to put your education first without sacrificing your career or lifestyle.