What can you do with your early childhood studies degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with an early childhood studies degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your studies will provide a broad range of skills that are valuable to employers, including:

  • consideration and sensitivity towards the needs of children
  • understanding the different societal and cultural lives of children
  • development of critical thinking and understanding of theory
  • problem-solving and flexibility within work-based learning and related experiences
  • teamwork and leadership skills through group projects
  • increased awareness of developments within organisations and structures relating to children through multi-discipline events/modules, work-based learning and interactions with academics and professionals
  • researching, analysing and evaluating data through seminar work and independent assignments
  • time management through juggling different module assessment requirements and work-based learning alongside studies
  • emotional intelligence and negotiation skills
  • written and verbal communication through report writing and presenting
  • planning and project management through independent research tasks.

Career options

Working with children can be rewarding, challenging and diverse, as you consider the wider context effecting children and society around them. Graduates with an early childhood studies degree have gone on to become teachers, play specialists and family support workers, but the options don’t end there.

Teaching could involve primary, secondary or SEN (Special Education Needs) settings, which might lead to consultancy work within schools and/or support services. Play specialists work closely with local councils, charities and healthcare services, as do child therapists, counsellors and speech and language therapists. Family support workers also work across various settings, and if you are interested in helping children that have been the victims of crime, it would be worth considering the local charities and community initiatives that offer work experience or summer placements. Early childhood studies as a course offers work-based learning, and engaging with this effectively can help to build the experience you need to work within your setting of choice post graduation.

Researching your career options

It is important to research and explore these fully so that you can make informed decisions about your future. Keep an open mind and consider the wealth of skills you can offer.

Take a look at these websites for inspiration:  

Prospects- What can I do with an Early Childhood Studies degree

TargetJobs

Early Years Alliance

National Day Nurseries Associations

Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth early childhood studies graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as stepping stones to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Working in the early years sector
  • Working in local government (advisory roles)
  • Voluntary sector advisors/officers
  • Researcher
  • Lecturer in Further Education (with progression into Higher Education)
  • Family liaison worker
  • Family event organiser
  • Health service advisor
  • Special Educational Needs Coordinator
  • Voluntary work abroad
  • Children and adolescent mental health advisor/officer
  • Family liaison officer (with the police service)
  • Family link officer (for the prison service)
  • Graduate schemes
  • Support Worker (Family Practitioner)
  • Company Director (Nursery)
  • Deputy Nursery Manager
  • Nursery Practitioner
  • Sessional Advocate
  • Associate Lecturer
  • Teacher
  • Family Liaison
  • Learning Coach
  • Self-Employed Early Years Entertainer

Employers


Further study

Some of the careers chosen by early childhood studies graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to education graduates:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a careers consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme:

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our Bite-Sized Skills workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics, including:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service; however, they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.


Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn alumni’s tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • Click on ‘Alumni’
  • Filter the results by subject, sector, company or location

For more information about the alumni tool, click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.


Other advice and guidance

Gaining work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience allows the development of valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out some career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

On your doorstep the University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs and societies

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.  

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to your course, or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.    

Tutor and academic support

Your personal tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.