It is estimated that 30,883 staff work in the early years sector in Ireland, 85% of whom worked directly with children according to a recent report by DCEDIY.
Many of those working directly with children may be considering other job opportunities within the sector but outside of the classroom.
This can be for various reasons from the desire to improve your salary to personal development, preparing for your future, wanting different hours to suit your family life or just wanting a different type of role while still contributing to children’s first years.
An excellent way of opening doors for yourself in is to gain your BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree.
This degree allows you to keep up with the graduate-led workforce while opening the following job opportunities:
- Registered Childminder
- Early Years Practitioner
- After School Service Practitioner
- Room Leader
- Assistant Manager
- Setting Manager
- Quality Lead (in chains of childcare settings) Early Years Specialist with Pobal
- Early Years Specialist with DES
- Various role in DCEDIY, Tusla, Ombudsman for Children’s Office, Early Childhood Ireland
- Tutor with VEC and Private Colleges (with additional training in teaching Further Education)
- Route to Primary School Teaching (with professional Master’s in Education)
Natasha Murphy is the Manager of Portobello Montessori School, a tutor in the Portobello Early Years department and a current student of our Master’s in Early Childhood Studies.
Completing her Level 8 BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree opened the opportunity for her to tutor the levels below her own qualifications. She now tutors the Level 5 and Level 6 ECCE courses at Portobello.
She explains how topping up your Level 7 to a Level 8 can seem daunting but is worth it, especially because at Portobello your Level 8 is one module of a thesis which is one research project on a topic of your choosing that you are already interested in or passionate about.
“When I was in school, I didn’t perform very well like in the Leaving Cert because I was told I had to do it whereas going to Portobello I had such a big interest in early education that I ended up excelling further than anybody would have ever thought so then I knew the Level 8 was going to suit me because it was something I could link to my own interests.
“We are probably going to become a degree led workforce so what I said to myself was that I wouldn’t do any more after my Level 7 because a Level 8 just sounds so hard and that’s why it was so important that it was something I was interested in because it took my idea of being hard out of the question.
“It’s just daunting when you think Level 8 you think oh my god this must be so difficult but actually because you are writing about something you enjoy, you enjoy it!
"That reflects what we do in the classroom, the child is at the center of everything that we do, and we are linking to their interests constantly, so it was nice to be able to link to my interests for my own topic.
“I also went on to my Level 8 because I was in the rhythm of studying and the thoughts of taking a five-year gap and having to come back to do Level 8 was even more daunting for me.
“If I could give anybody advice I would say to keep studying and try not to take that break from Level 7 to Level 8 keep going because what’s stopping you when you have your Level 8 the world is your oyster it can be a classroom it can be lecturing, working with Tusla, once you have a Level 8 under your belt there’s nothing stopping you,” she said.
Natasha is the Manager of Portobello Montessori School and says that having a Level 8 degree gives you an edge when applying for jobs.
“Even for a job interview no one can say there is someone more qualified unless they have a masters, but you are going in and you’re probably going to be put top of the pile.
“With Level 7 it’s great to get the higher capitation but just from a managerial point of view I love when I see that people have their Level 8 because it shows that you have delved deep into something that you are interested in you can bring whatever you did in your thesis into the classroom,” she said.