Early Childhood Education Initial State Certificate

This State Initial ECE Certificate is a point of entry or a continuation of professional development based on Level 1 on the Washington State Career Lattice (meets minimum child care licensing standards or registered apprentice in high school, high school or equivalent and 20 hours Basic STARS/MERIT training OR 2 college credits in Basics of Child Care course, at least 2 hours of training in each of the ECE Core Competency areas.) The Initial Certificate (Level 2 Step 5) is the first “stackable certificate” providing a foundation for the ECE State Credential and Associate degree.

Learning Outcomes

1. Student will establish or improve, an early childhood learning environment using principles selected from classes (research, ECE theories and their life experiences).

2. Student will observe actions, language, and social behavior of young children in an Early Childhood Education classroom, assess children’s skills and behavior based on developmentally appropriate practices, and report their findings.

3. Critique organization and implementation of classroom processes in an early learning setting, identify concerns evident in the classroom, and formulate solutions to address these concerns.

4. Provide parent education and encourage parental participation in early learning experiences with their own and other children through opportunities offered at the early learning setting.


Many classes have prerequisites. Prerequisites are those classes that prove eligibility for entry-level classes by testing or by having satisfied prior course work. Course work earned at other institutions must be unofficially evaluated or approved by a program advisor before registering.

State Initial Early Childhood Education Certificate Prerequisites: Must contact Health and Human Services Department, 206-934-3790.

Note: Advanced placement testing, work experience, and transfer of credits may result in course waivers, credit transfer, and advanced placement.

Students enrolling in this program should have access to early childhood settings and preschool-aged children. Observations of children and their environments is a requirement of the ECE Curriculum.

In order to successfully complete the program a 2.0 grade or higher is required in all Early Childhood Education courses.

Course Title Credits
ECED&105 Introduction to Early Childhood Education 5
ECED&107 Health, Safety, and Nutrition 5
ECED&120 Practicum: Relationships 2
Total Credits
Total Credits -- Minimum
Total Credits -- Maximum

This program of study is outlined by quarter, and courses should be taken in the indicated sequence. However, it should not be concluded that students will always proceed through their program of study exactly as prescribed here. The number of quarters listed here is minimal. Not all courses are offered every quarter. Individual student experiences, educational and training background, and personal schedules and demands all may affect the time it takes to finish this program. Also, in general, summer quarter is not considered one of the full-time quarters in the program.

1st quarter: ECED&105

2nd quarter: ECED&107

3rd quarter: ECED&120


What Skills do I need to be successful in this field?

To be successful in early childhood education you have to appreciate children, their families, and develop the abilities to use observation and assessment in order to plan and implement developmentally appropriate curriculum that meets the individual child’s needs. This is best accomplished through formal education and lifelong learning in ECE.

What are some potential job titles?

Teacher Aide, Assistant Teacher, Lead Teacher

Wages, employment trends and pathways: 

The concept behind the stackable certificate is the end result of Community College ECE coordinators, SBCTC, and the Department of Early Learning (DEL) joining together in a concerted effort to have in place a much clearer professional development pathway for students/and employees in the field returning to school.  Because there are a variety of wages and positions based on credentials, degrees, and experience for those who work with young children, a career lattice has been established.  The more certificates an individual obtains that lead a two-year ECE degree; wages will be increased along the way.

Effective beginning: Winter 2014 
Early Childhood Education-State Certificate: Initial Certificate
40E / 13.1210