Early Childhood Education
New! 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 now 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 Initial Certificate, which is comparable to a CDA
- Next, add eight credits to earn a Short Certificate of Specialization
- Finally, add another 27 credits to achieve the State ECE Certificate
- Some additional classes and content are required to earn the Early Childhood Education Associates 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.
Grant Supports Early Childhood Educators
Early childhood education adult workers who want to earn college credits and advance in their careers are invited to apply for scholarships available through a new statewide workplace-based learning grant recently awarded to WCC in partnership with Skagit Valley College. Presented by the Washington State Workforce Education and Training Board and the U.S. Department of Labor, the grant will fund up to 40 scholarships for assistant teachers and aides and those currently unqualified to progress in their careers due to limited credentials. The Northwest Corner Professional Development Project will bring together employers, mentors, instructors and employee students in the workplace and online. Upon successful completion, students will qualify for advancement to Lead Teacher positions. Additional project partners include the Washington State Department of Early Learning, the Northwest Workforce Council, the Service Employees International Union Local 925 and local early childhood education employers. To apply, complete and return the application form (application pdf, or fillable form) or contact Project Director Sally Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 360.383.3224. For a full press release click here.
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 [PDF Format]
- Associate in Arts Degree / Early Childhood Education
- Certificate / Early Childhood Education ---Click here for Gainful Employment details.
What is the ECE program?
Whatcom Community College offers a 90 credit Associate in Arts degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and a 50-52 credit certificate. The programs prepare students to work in pre-schools, child care centers, child development centers, or establish their own in-home family care program.
Getting started is easy with options such as online courses and one-credit modules offered each quarter, for those who don't want to take more credits.
The certificate includes course work in early childhood education, education, English, math, and speech.
The 90-credit Associate in Arts degree in Early Childhood Education includes core requirements in early childhood education, education, music, art, and computer courses. General education requirements complete the degree.
Students may earn the certificate and continue the program requirements to complete the associate degree.
Certified teachers may specialize by adding an Early Childhood Education endorsement.
What are the prerequisites?
- There are no prerequisites for program entry, as students may enter any quarter and start the program. There are some prerequisites for individual classes, e.g. ENGL 100 is a prerequisite for ENGL& 101 and MATH 98 is a prerequisite for MATH 111.
- It is recommended that you finish the English and Math requirements for the degree or certificate within your first 30 credits. English and Math assessments are available by appointment. Call the Entry and Advising Center 360.383.3080 or the Testing Center 360.383.3050 to schedule an appointment.
- Computer Experience - extensive Windows-based application experience is needed for success in ECE classes. Students must have keyboarding and computer skills equivalent to OFFAD 100 and BIS 101. It is not necessary to have credit for these courses on a transcript. Students are asked to self-assess their computer skills using the above courses as guidelines.
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 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.
What is the application process?
If you are unable to apply online, request a WCC application by email at email@example.com, by phone 360.383.3001 or in person at the Entry/Advising Office, LDC 116.
There is no special program application for the Early Childhood Education program.
Career & Salary Outlook
- Median wage in WA for preschool teachers is $12.23
- Median wage in WA for childcare work $9.81
- Childcare workers are listed as "In Demand" in Northwest Washington
Advising and Education Planning
360.383.3080 for appointment
Kelly Hall, Room 205
What Students Are Saying About ECE
"Everyone at WCC, from admissions to financial aid to faculty, was really helpful and supportive. I loved the ECE program for the great instructors, diversity of coursework and all the hands-on learning."