Explained: Early Childhood Education and Special Needs Education

Education is a worthwhile and heartfelt career field, and early childhood education truly shapes and molds a child from the very beginning. Although there are many paths you can go down in the field of education, the distinctions between early childhood education and special needs education are important to understand. You may be still trying to weigh out your options or you may have decided to already take the dive into the world of education. Below we explain the differences between early childhood education and special needs education for you, so you can make an informed decision.

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education (ECE) professionals could be daycare workers, preschool teachers or kindergarten teachers. Typically, these teachers will instruct children from birth through age eight. As an early childhood educator you will be teaching students the basics of reading, writing and math with simple, hands-on techniques.

In addition, you should also be aware of the requirements needed for becoming an early childhood educator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, daycare/childcare workers and preschool teachers must have a high school diploma or certification and preferably a college degree. Kindergarten teachers need a college degree along with a state license to be a certified educator. Along with schooling and degree requirements, different states have their own rules and regulations.

Special Needs Education

As a special needs educator, you’ll teach young students who are just learning and who face numerous challenges and obstacles in their lives every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. At Rasmussen College our Special Needs degree  teaches you  about current trends, resources and advocacy on behalf of young children with special needs.

With so many rewarding aspects of being an integral part of a child with special needs’ life, you may have a desire or interest in becoming a special needs educator; check out these signs that special needs education might be right for you.

Do you have a desire to be an educator? If so, check out this informative infographic on the long-term advantages of early childhood education and be sure to stop by our Facebook page to ask us any questions you may have on early childhood education and special needs education.

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. 


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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 www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu 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 and Public Benefit Corporation.

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