Many different jobs are available in the field of education, but they all have one thing in common – the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Qualified professionals are in demand, and you can prepare for this career at Moraine Valley.
Moraine Valley offers education programs for those who would like to obtain a position as a paraprofessional, as well as for individuals who would like to complete the first two years of an early childhood or elementary education degree and go on to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree. In addition, we offer stackable certificates in our early childhood program so students may begin to work in centers as educated professionals.
To teach young children (grades 1-9) in Illinois public schools, teachers must be licensed by the State of Illinois upon completion of a four-year degree. Students interested in elementary education are encouraged to complete the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree at Moraine Valley prior to transferring to a four-year college or university. Graduates of the Early Childhood Education A.A. degree and the Elementary Education A.A. degree program continue their education at four-year colleges and universities to complete a bachelor’s degree before starting a career as a teacher. The courses are designed to transfer to education programs at four-year institutions.
Moraine Valley’s education faculty members counsel students about four-year programs to help make the transition go smoothly. The Education Department believes that aspiring teachers should be able to use the technology available in today’s classrooms. Students create lessons using the smartboard and iPads. All faculty members integrate both into the courses so students gain a tremendous amount of experience and confidence with using the technology. In addition, projects and hands-on activities fill all courses, so students learn by doing.
Employment of elementary school teachers is favorable, with a projected growth of 12 percent through 2022. The average yearly salary in Illinois is $59,000, with starting salaries around $37,000. Teachers are most needed as self-contained elementary teachers, as well as specialized teachers in language arts, mathematics, special education, science, social studies, and physical education. In 2015 alone, elementary enrollments in Illinois were expected to increase by 8,500 students, meaning more teachers are needed. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Early Childhood Education Degree and Certificates
Early Childhood Educator (A.A.S.) – Qualifies graduates to apply for the Illinois Early Childhood Credential Level 4, Illinois Infant Toddler Credential Level 4 and Illinois Early Childhood Director Credential Level 1.
Before and After School Care (Certificate)
Infant/Toddler Level 2 (Certificate) – Qualifies graduates to apply for the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Infant Toddler Level 2 Credential.
Infant/Toddler Level 3 (Certificate) – Qualifies graduates to apply for the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Infant Toddler Level 3 Credential.
The stackable certificates and A.A.S. degree in our Early Childhood Program allow students to work in preschools, daycares and other settings. Many continue their education for advanced degrees and obtain leadership roles. Our faculty assist students with learning about available jobs and do everything possible to help graduates succeed in their field. The Illinois Professional Development System has more information on early childhood credentials.
Students who earn the Paraprofessional Educator A.A.S. degree typically begin work at a school or other program as a paraprofessional or similar role. Paraprofessional educators serve an important role in our education system. They work in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, special education classes, secondary (high school) programs, and social-service agencies. Duties of paraprofessional educators vary widely, but common tasks include assisting in instruction under the supervision of teaching staff, grading exams, preparing learning materials, keeping records, and using educational technology.
Moraine Valley’s program provides you with a strong foundation for a career in education through classroom work and observation in the field. This program also offers an internship option that allows you to gain valuable on-the-job experience to apply what you have learned in your courses. Clinical sites are in the southwest suburban area, and the hours are flexible based on workable schedules between your busy life and the needs of the clinical sites. The Illinois State Board of Education has more information on the paraprofessional credential.
Employment of paraprofessionals is expected to grow. The student population for which teacher assistants are most needed – special-education students and students for whom English is not their first language – is expected to increase more rapidly than the general school-age population. Legislation that requires students with disabilities and non-native English speakers to receive an education equal to that of other students will generate jobs for teacher assistants to accommodate these students’ special needs. Children with special needs require much personal attention, and special education teachers, as well as general education teachers with special education students, rely heavily on teacher assistants. Median annual earnings of teacher assistants nationally in 2010 were $23,220. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics). The median salary in Chicago for paraprofessional educators is $21,504. Salaries range between $19,925 to $28,232. (Source: Salary.com).
Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Gail Ditchman for more information.