Working individuals and those who can’t make it to campus and want to study early childhood education or public relations now have online options at Millersville University. Beginning this fall, Millersville will offer online degree programs in early childhood education and in public relations.
Early Childhood Education
Many professionals who work in the childcare field and as paraprofessionals in schools want to earn a degree in early childhood education, but the face-to-face commitment does not align with the other commitments in their lives. The program also addresses the current teacher shortage and provides a possible solution for the issue.
Dr. Lara Willox, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, explains why this program is important to offer online. “The online program is a social justice issue. Most teacher preparation programs are geared toward traditional undergraduate students requiring someone to be able to participate fully face-to-face with little room for outside employment. By having a fully online degree program, we can market to non-traditional students who are not able to participate face-to-face because of either family or work responsibilities.”
Willox also notes that the program will allow many people to further their education and careers. “There are many paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides who are working in early childhood settings and schools that need to continue working but would also like to pursue teacher licensure. Moving into a certified teaching position allows for greater benefits.”
The face-to-face and online programs have the same requirements but with one main adjustment to the online program. Students who are completing their degree fully online must be employed in a setting with children for at least eight hours a week to accommodate field-related activities. This allows students to work and complete their degrees simultaneously.
Additionally, the College of Education and Human Services will be launching a fully online program for a special education certification with a similar design to the early childhood education online program. The Pre-k – 12 special education program will be available in the Spring of 2024.
Public relations is a rapidly growing field. According to the US Department of Labor, there will be a 5% increase in public relations jobs in the next 10 years. In order to keep up with the demand for jobs, there need to be more accessible ways to obtain a degree in public relations.
Dr. Thomas Boyle, a professor in the Department of Communication and Theatre, explains the importance of the program. “The program allows those who have professional and family obligations during the day to be able to complete a degree. It is designed to meet the needs of working professionals.”
The online program has the same material, content and experiential learning that occurs in person, but it is designed to be completed in three years after transferring into the program from a community college. Classes will be taught throughout the fall, spring and summer on a part-time schedule.
Boyle also notes that many of the students already have obtained their associate’s degree or have taken classes previously but may have had interruptions in their educational experience, “Along with students who are completing the online program and are new to the department, it is also an opportunity for students who have started the in-person program and have had their education experience interrupted by life events and circumstances.”
Boyle explains that students will gain many valuable skills throughout the program, “Students in the program will gain theoretical foundations and professional skills required of professional communicators, especially those in the public relations field.”
Interested in the Online Early Education Program? https://www.millersville.edu/programs/online-early-education.php
Interested in the Online Public Relations Program? https://www.millersville.edu/programs/online-public-relations.php