What Is an ECE Certificate?

An ECE certificate is widely known as a certificate in early childhood education. If you are a teacher or child day care worker interested in acquiring an ECE certificate or diploma, there are many schools offering these types of programs. Explore coursework, online program options and credentialing requirements in the field. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are My Academic Options If I'd Like an ECE Certificate?

Many schools offer early childhood education (ECE) certificate programs. Course topics cover literacy and family life, child development and education for children in grades pre-K-4. You must also complete an internship.

There are also diploma programs in early childhood education. Like ECE certificate programs, diploma programs combine theoretical courses with opportunities to work as an intern or assistant for course credit. However, diploma programs also include math, English and professional development course topics.

Program TypesCertificates, diplomas
Online AvailabilityHybrid and online programs available
LicensureCertificate program may prepare you for the CDA credential; those hoping to become licensed teachers need an education bachelor's degree
Median Salary (2018) $29,780 (for all preschool teachers
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% growth (for all preschool teachers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Will I Be Able to Find Any Online Programs?

There are a handful of schools offering hybrid or online ECE certificate or diploma programs. You can complete coursework online via interactive or asynchronous course lectures. However, you will still have to complete an internship at a nearby child care facility.

In most cases, you'll need a broadband Internet connection in addition to software like Windows Media Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may also need Microsoft Word or Excel to complete assignments.

Will These Programs Prepare Me for Licensure?

ECE certificate and diploma programs may be helpful to students seeking entry-level positions at day care centers. These programs may also be appropriate for those seeking the Council for Professional Recognition's Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many states require preschool teachers or other early childhood care providers to hold this credential to meet licensing requirements (www.bls.gov). Applicants with at least 480 hours of experience and 120 hours of training in early childhood education can earn the CDA credential after undergoing a formal observation and passing both oral and written examinations, according to the Council for Professional Recognition (www.cdacouncil.org).

If you're an aspiring kindergarten or elementary school teacher, an ECE certificate or diploma program will not prepare you to become licensed. You will have to complete a teacher education bachelor's degree program to earn your teaching certificate, according to the BLS. However, kindergarten teachers can enroll in an ECE certificate program to meet continuing education requirements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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