Early Childhood Education - Associate Degree
The Early Childhood Education program prepares students to work as teacher-caregivers in early childhood settings. It combines hands-on fieldwork in area centers with related academic work at the college. Graduates become responsible for the care and education of children in the birth-to-eight-years age range. They create and maintain safe and healthy play environments, guide behavior, plan and implement learning activities, and work cooperatively with staff and parents.
Follow Your Path
All of the credits from the following technical diploma(s) apply toward this associate degree:
Early Childhood Assistant Teacher, 313076
All of the credits from the following certificate(s) apply toward this associate degree:
Early Childhood: Licensing Basic Ages 0-2, 613073
Early Childhood: Licensing Basic Ages 3-5, 613072
Early Childhood: Preschool, 9030711
Some of the credits from the following certificate(s) apply toward this associate degree:
Early Childhood: Infant Toddler, 903073
Ask your advisor about 2+2 transfer opportunities.
- Online: Some courses include practicum hours which must be completed in person at a work site.
How do I get started in this program?
Requirements for Program Entry
- Apply at www.nwtc.edu/apply.
- Submit the following:
- High school transcript (or GED/HSED transcript).
- College transcript.
- In your cumulative GPA is below 2.6, complete or submit a placement evaluation.
- Demonstrated suitability to the early childhood profession as indicated by completion of a functional ability checklist.
- Complete physical examination within three months prior to Practicum course.
- Completed an American Heart Association CPR course prior to program entry to include the AED component for infants, toddlers and adults. Students are required to maintain a current CPR card on a two-year renewal cycle.
- Mastered basic math before entering this program. Basic math covers whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents and measurements.
- To be admitted to this program, learners must achieve a prior cumulative high school or college grade point average of 2.6 or higher OR a satisfactory academic skills assessment score. College grade point average must be based on 15 credits or more. To learn more about starting this program, please contact an academic advisor at (920) 498-5444 or (888) 385-6982.
- Complete caregiver background check. A fee is charged for this service. Must be completed to be accepted to the program.
- Attend mandatory program orientation.
- Tip! Our admission advisors will assist you through every step. Have questions? Connect with NWTC Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-498-5444.
What are my courses?
Students following the study plan below will complete the Early Childhood Education Associate Degree in the number of semesters shown. Courses are offered in person, online, web conference and blended, and may be taken in any order as long as prerequisites are met. For additional course and certificate offerings, refer to the information on the NWTC website.
- Curriculum Note: Practicum courses require student teaching in the community, in addition to course work. NWTC faculty arrange practicum settings for/with students. Students are required to complete student teaching in each practicum placement. Only one practicum course may be taken in any semester. Students are required to achieve a grade of "C" or better in the practicum courses to continue in or graduate from this program. Failure to pass a practicum course on the second attempt, the student will be removed from the program. Read more about Practicums online.
- If a student is considering pursuing a 4-year degree, Intermediate Algebra w/Apps, 10-804-118, should be taken in place of Principles of Sustainability, 10-806-112.
- The credit for 10-890-101, College 101, is an Institutional Requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program credit requirements, but must be passed with a "C" or better. This course must be taken in the first semester.
- Students must earn a "C" or higher in all 10-307-XXX courses to successfully graduate the Early Childhood Associate Degree Program. A student must repeat the particular course with a "C" or better final grade to continue in or graduate from this program. If the course is sequential, the successful retake must occur before continuing the sequence.
- The Preschool Practicum may be applied to the Early Childhood Technical Diploma, Associate Degree Program or it may be applied as the capstone course in The Registry Preschool Credential. Learners interested in earning the Preschool Credential from The Registry should complete the following courses prior to the Practicum. 10-307-167 ECE: Health Safety & Nutrition; 10-307-179 ECE: Child Development; 10-307-110 ECE: Social Studies, Art, Music; 10-307-108 ECE: Early Language & Literacy; 10-307-188 ECE: Guiding Child Behavior OR 10-307-174.
- The Preschool Practicum is for students enrolled in the Early Childhood Associate Degree and the Preschool Credential. Students taking the Preschool Practicum class for the Preschool Credential need to be working with preschool age children in their workplace. Students taking the Preschool Practicum class for the Early Childhood Associate Degree will be placed in a preschool classroom to complete their required practicum hours.
- Apply child development theory to practice.
- Cultivate relationships with children, family, and the community.
- Assess child growth and development.
- Use best practices in teaching and learning.
- Demonstrate professionalism.
- Integrate health, safety, and nutrition practices.
What careers are in my future?
with 71% in field
Source: NWTC 2019 Grad Outcome Survey
A graduate of this program will have the potential for employment in the following areas:
- Early Childhood Teacher in Preschool or Group Childcare Centers/Head Start Teacher: plans and implements daily activities with concern for health, safety, and welfare for a designated group of children; supervises the assistant childcare teacher; administers instructional program to young children that promotes their physical, social, psychological, and intellectual development; and provides a flexible balance of active and quiet activities, individual and group activities, indoor and outdoor activities, free choice, guided activities and conduct developmental assessments.
- Family Childcare Provider/Teacher/Owner: same functions as above only in a home setting.
- Early Childhood Program Director, Day Camp Director, Child Care Center Administrator, Child Care Center Manager: The above positions may require responsibilities of one or more of the following items: responsible to the Board of Directors for day-to-day operations of entire school, including programming, facility, fiscal responsibilities, working knowledge of professional organizations for higher standards, providing customer service, and all human resource functions such as: hiring/firing, supervision, training, and evaluation of staff according to state requirements.
What's next after graduation?
Start here. Finish at a four-year.
NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer.
What else do I need to know about the program?
- It is necessary to show good health as evidenced by a medical examination within three months before practicum (student teaching) placement.
- Students will be required to wear a NWTC issued name tag, provide their own transportation to assigned sites and cover any other expenses related to practicum experiences. Students may be expected to travel distances. A NWTC approved Education program shirt is required for practicum students, along with specific dress code per placement.
- Availability: Student Teaching hours will span between 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. with the majority of the required hours occurring in the morning.
- Completion of a Wisconsin Technical Skills Attainment (TSA) is required to graduate from this program.
- NWTC offers credit-based courses, credentials and degree options that align with the YoungStar requirements.
Study Abroad Opportunities
The International Programs staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses. To find out more about which of your program courses may offer an opportunity during this academic year, contact your academic advisor or visit nwtc.edu/studyabroad.
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Classes wherever you have an internet connection.
- An in-person career experience, such as an internship, practicum, or credit for prior learning, may be required.
- Some online courses may be held at specific dates/times.
- Classes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- Classes between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
- A combination of online classes and Saturday and/or Sunday classes.
- 12 or more credits per term.
- Fewer than 12 credits per term.