Careers in Child Development & Related Fields 

Child development is the multifaceted, scientific study of children’s continuing growth and discovery from birth through adolescence. Early Care and Education (ECE) focuses primarily on children ages birth through eight. We examine the many biological, cognitive, psychological and emotional changes that occur as a person progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy. Continuous research and innovation regarding the development of infant, toddler, preschools, school-age, and adolescent children makes this and exciting and rewarding field to work. 

Many ECE professionals begin their careers working directly with children and families in public schools, private schools, non-profits, special education, or government funded programs. Common career pathways typically include an upward progression of professional advancement.  You might begin your career as an assistant teacher, progress to a lead teacher and eventually, with more education and experience, become an administrator or director of a school or center. With greater responsibilities come greater financial rewards.

The Child Development field is vast including both direct and indirect work on behalf of children and families. For example, you might indirectly influence children’s development by administering effective programs, conducting ongoing research, advocating for children’s rights, initiating pro-child legislature, or supporting children’s physical and mental health. 

The Mt. SAC Child Development & Education Department offers an excellent foundation in the core competencies essential for a career working with young children and families. The nested certificates provide a basis for entry into the field and the AS-T degree is for transfer to a four-year university.  Comprehensive educational preparation does not only mean completing Child Development classes, it includes building all the skills, quality, and dispositions required to becoming an effective teacher or administrator.  Courses in English writing and comprehension, science, math and critical thinking are required for degree completion and transfer attainment.  Depending on your career goal, a more specific or advanced degree may be required to excel in that occupation.

Depending on your career goal, a more specific or advanced degree may be required to excel in that occupation. If you are interested in pathways to becoming a K-12 credentialed teacher, the  Teacher Preparation Institute provides counseling, advisement and assistance for students interested in becoming a K-12 teacher.  The Teacher Preparation Institute is located in 26A Room 1610.

Whether you are an entry-level student considering a career in early childhood or an early childhood professional expanding your career options, we hope this information will inspire you with numerous opportunities in this profoundly important and rewarding profession!

Occupation Groups Careers Projected Growth from 2016 to 2026 Projected Number of New Jobs by 2026
Arts and Design
  • Children’s book illustrator
  • Children’s fashion designer
  • Children’s furniture designer
  • Children’s television animator
  • Children’s music performer, producer
  • Toy designer
4% increase 33,700
Community and Social Service
  • Children’s religious educator
  • Parent educator
  • Social worker
  • Child and Family Public Policy Specialist
14% increase 371,900
Computer and Information Technology
  • Educational software developer
  • Educational app or web developer
  • Children’s gaming developer
13% increase 557,100
Education, Training, and Library
  • Preschool teacher
  • Elementary, middle, or high school teacher
  • Head start teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Intervention specialist
  • Reading specialist
  • Children’s librarian
  • Parent educator
  • Community College professor
  • University professor and researcher
  • Educational Curriculum and Resource Development
9% increase 888,900
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Child Psychiatrist
  • Child Psychologist
  • Dietitian
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Pediatric Dentist
  • Pediatrician
  • Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Board Certified Behavioral Analyst
  • Family Planning Consultant
  • Physical Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
18% increase 2.4 million*
Legal and Protective Service
  • Children’s advocate or lobbyist
  • Juvenile justice / Family court
  • Lawyer specializing in family law
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • Immigration & Migrant Families Services
5% increase 158,200
  • ECE Center director
  • Child welfare director
  • Elementary, middle, or high school principal
8% increase 807,300
Media and Communication
  • Children’s book author
  • Children’s television writer
  • Children’s television writer
  • Interpreter
  • Journalist specializing in children and family issues
6% increase 43,200
Personal Care and Service
  • Camp counselor
  • Coach for youth sports
  • Recreation worker
  • Parks and recreation planner
19% increase 1.2 million*