Choosing Your Path (Part 2): Skills Needed to Thrive in ECE

We established in the first part of our Choosing Your Path series that you enjoy helping children. It’s also clear that you want a job in education that is both personally and financially rewarding. But have you thought about the skills you will need to obtain the career you want?

For example, do you know what it takes to be an effective early childhood education (ECE) teacher?

Being an effective ECE teacher requires a combination of soft and hard skills but also, some that are specific to the field.

Although some ECE careers differ from one another – e.g., a child care director vs. a preschool teacher – the skills needed to perform them often overlap. While these might be completely different careers, they both require the ability to care for children and provide a comfortable and safe learning environment.

The chart below examines the five most popular ECE careers we featured in the first part of our series. But this time, it illustrates the skills employers are looking for from candidates for each of the careers.


The chart illustrates that the skills required for different ECE careers can sometimes be quite specific. For example, an infant lead teacher and a child care director are both careers in ECE, but they deal with two separate age groups and lesson planning is a main skill of an infant lead teacher, not a child care director.

So, if you are wondering how to leverage your skills into a career in ECE, consider these questions:

  • Which of the in-demand ECE skills from the above graph do you already possess? Did you ever serve as a nanny to the neighbor kids or work in a church nursery? Be sure to take those examples with you to future interviews.
  • Can you take one of your soft skills and turn it into one of the hard skills listed above? Are you part of a team in your current job? Are there any parts of your current job that require you to lead a team or oversee a process? Take your teamwork mentality and your leadership experience and apply those qualities to your desired role.

Hopefully the second installment of the Choosing Your Path series helps you understand more about what it will take to get into the ECE field.

If you have further questions, download the Career Guide to Education for more information on ECE careers.

Kendall Bird

Kendall is a Social Media Strategist at Collegis Education who is focused on bringing awareness and engagement to Rasmussen College's social media properties. She is passionate about helping others, the power of education and building strategies that put the needs of students first. 


Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college.

Add your comment


Please enter your name.


Please enter your email.


Please enter your comment.


chart-credential-laddering-rsd 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE icon-colored-advance icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-developement icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-national icon-colored-prep icon-colored-regional icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-paperwork icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-camera icon-filter icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-share-square-o icon-spinner icon-tag logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play