Program News

Whatcom has enhanced ECE classes, certificates and the AA degree to better prepare Early Learning professionals for workplace advancement and academic transferability!

  • 16 ECE courses are aligned with state-wide standards to improve transferability.
  • Three "stackable" certificates meet State requirements and allow progression without course repetition for students who wish to earn higher level certificates or degrees.
    • First, the 12-credit State Initial Early Childhood Education Certificate*
    • Next, add eight (8) credits to earn a State Short Early Childhood Education Certificate of Specialization; options of specialization include: General, Administration, Family Child Care, Infants and Toddlers, and School Age Care
    • Finally, add another 30-32 credits to achieve the State Early Childhood Education Certificate
  • Some additional classes and content are required to earn the Early Childhood Education associate in arts degree and will help students stay current with workplace demand and academic transferability.

Meet with your advisor to plan your educational pathway, confirm which classes have changed, or to adjust existing study plans.

*The Washington State Department of Early Learning allows family home child care providers with the State Initial Early Childhood Education Certificate in lieu of a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) to remain in good standing.

What can I do with an ECE degree or certificate?

Depending on the program you choose, you may find work as an in-home child care provider, a child care or preschool aide, preschool teacher, or childcare center administrator.

Preschool and childcare workers help supervise and care for infants and young children. Duties may include developing and implementing appropriate curriculum, nurturing social skills and emotional development, providing for the physical well-being of children, supporting and educating parents, collaborating with fellow teachers and staff, and managing the business of providing child services.

Certificate graduates usually work under the supervision of a teacher or a director. They may:

  • Assist in a pre-school program
  • Assist in a Head Start/ECEAP program
  • Work as a child care provider in a center or home

Associate degree graduates are often employed as lead teachers or administrators in early learning programs. They may:

  • Direct or teach in a pre-school program
  • Teach in a Head Start/ECEAP program
  • Operate or work in a child care facility
  • Care for and teach children aged birth to eight years old in a variety of settings

Degree and Certificate Information

How can the Opportunity Grant Scholarship support you?

This program assists and supports students as they work toward a career in Early Childhood Education. The Opportunity Grant Scholarship offers tuition assistance to eligible students. Please click here [PDF] for a detailed explanation of eligibility and contact information. Apply Now!

When can I start?

Students may enter the Early Childhood Education program any quarter on a full- or part-time basis. There is no special program application for the Early Childhood Education program.


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