Less than 2% of people working in the early years sector in Ireland hold a level 9 qualification according to the DCEDIY and Pobal’s Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2019/2020.
On the National Framework of Qualifications, a level 9 is a master's or postgraduate diploma. Portobello Institute’s contemporary MA in Early Childhood Studies is open to students who already hold a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies (level 8) or relevant qualification.
Source: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/66671-annual-early-years-sector-profile-report-201920/ page 80.
Those who hold a level 9 qualification have the opportunity to work in positions with governing bodies, policy-making and education. These are roles which allow you to be a change-maker in the sector and demand a higher pay scale for work you are passionate about.
With so few people in the workforce holding a level 9, it makes it all the more valuable as you will be part of a select few who will qualify for top jobs.
As with any other profession holding a Master's degree elevates your knowledge, qualifications and career opportunities offering you the opportunity to build further on the strong foundation you have acquired from your undergraduate studies.
This contemporary MA in Early Childhood Studies is designed for professional early years practitioners working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children.
Currently, there is an emphasis on continual professional development within the Education and Health sector, and this master’s programme provides opportunities for students who have successfully completed, a degree in Early Childhood Studies or a relevant discipline to progress into management positions or follow more varied career pathways.
Career Prospects with an MA in Early Childhood Studies
Employers in every sector are raising the educational requirements for emerging roles, the early years sector is not immune. A master's in early childhood studies can open up a range of job opportunities for you both in and out of the early years setting that you may not have previously considered or even been eligible for.
Broaden your Career Opportunities with a Masters
You can work in the sector you love at a higher level. Consider areas of
- Working as part of the inspectorate
- Tutoring on level 7 degree programmes
- Policy development
- Research into the early years sector
- Working as a Standards Verifier of external results
The opportunities are much wider than you possibly are aware of and all of these opportunities put your expertise and experience in the early years sector to good use, enhancing your career opportunities.
Be a Leader in the Early Years Sector
With an MA in Early Childhood Studies, you have the opportunity to lead and enhance the early years sector and gain the recognitions deserved for the early years profession.
You will continue to have an impact on children at a critical part in their lives, but you can develop how and where you do this; taking on advisory and consultation roles, lecturing roles and inspectorate roles to lead change in the sector.
You may become a thought leader, engage in collaborative research and take part in conferences and webinars.
For example, Portobello MA in Early Childhood Studies students have had the opportunity to speak at our webinar series alongside experts such as Professor Noirin Hayes, Dr Geraldine French and Dr Judith Butler to name a few. You can watch these webinars here.
Command a Higher Pay Scale
A Master's degree will immediately increase your earning potential due to the wider range of career opportunities that will now be open to you. An MA qualification will elevate your employability and give you the opportunity to command a higher pay scale than your less qualified peers.
What will a Master's Mean to me in Practice?
All of the knowledge you will gain together with the experience you already have, you will find beneficial when you are working with children or you have children or grandchildren of your own.
Understanding why children behave in a particular way, how to support them during difficult times, and being aware of what they are doing and why they do these things.
You will see the bigger picture. As you advance through your Master’s everything that you absorb – psychology, research techniques, theory, curriculum design, classroom management, diversity, complexities of childhood in context – will all come together to give you a well-rounded understanding of childhood learning and development.
Develop Your Leadership Skills for Quality Provision
You will further develop your skills of reflective practice, leadership, innovation and quality provision. You will continue to develop and strengthen your powers of observation and assessment.
Watching and assessing children is a big part of our practice, especially at early childhood level. Assessment of progress in these early stages relies solely on your sense of where their needs lie and will rely on your powers of observation.
Your engagement with psychology and child development will enhance this area of your skills, making you a valuable asset to any part of the early years sector. A Master’s will help you to become a careful, dispassionate observer of young children, effectively appraising their progress and highlighting potential areas of concern.
Interested in our MA Early Childhood Studies Programme?
If you are interested in finding out more about our upcoming intake for the MA in Early Childhood Studies, you can find in-depth information on the course page.
You can also reach out to our Early Years Admissions Advisor, Jennifer Matteazzi, who will answer any questions you may have.
You can book a 15-minute free consultation call with Jennifer at a time that suits you here. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her directly on 01 892 0031.
Dr Marguerita Magennis is the Programme Manager, you can read more about her here and read her articles in our early years Knowledge Zone.
Read More: Reflecting on Change-Making, Professional and Practical Development Through the MA in Early Childhood Studies
Note to the Reader:
Pobal’s Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2019/2020 was the most recent report at the time of writing. A survey is currently open for the 2021/2022 report which you can find here.