Early Childhood Education

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Program Overview

Degrees & Certificates

Two-year degree for students who want to start a career immediately after graduation.

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  • Credits to complete: 90.0
  • Estimated program length in quarters: Full Time - 6 | Part Time - 11 to 12

Early Childhood Education Opportunities

Young children need high quality, well-educated teachers. Families need caring, informed advocates. Become an early childhood professional by enrolling in North's ECE programs. North's Early Childhood Education pathway includes statewide stackable certificates, an Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree and a Bachelor of Applied Science. Start with the new Early Childhood Initial Certificate.

Whether you are new to the field of Early Childhood Education, or bring decades of experience with you, the Early Childhood Education program at North Seattle College will provide you with valuable training and insight into child development and family support. Our curriculum is rooted in anti-bias education, current child development research and family centered practice.

The program is designed for students who already work full-time, so classes are offered in evenings and weekends and online. We have multiple pathways for those with limited English proficiency, including I-BEST and classes taught in Somali, Arabic, Spanish and Oromo.

Because you don't have to follow a set course sequence, you can choose classes that best fit your schedule and specific needs. We offer prior learning assessment for students who bring significant professional experience or training in a specific area and wish to substitute it for a specific course.

Professional & Educational Advancement

You can complete the AAS degree in as little as 2 years, although many students extend this time because they are working and balancing other responsibilities. With an AAS degree in Early Childhood Education, you will be qualified to serve as a lead teacher for Head Start, childcare organizations and private preschools. Graduates

also go on to coach, work as family support specialists, curriculum specialists, or take on other roles in the field. And because many local schools recruit from our program, you'll have an edge when you look for employment.

Students enrolling in the program or taking classes for their own professional development should have access to early childhood settings and preschool-aged children for at least three hours per week. Observations of children and their environments is a requirement of the ECE program.

If you plan to continue your education, the AAS degree can be a valuable stepping stone. It transfers in to North’s BAS in Early Childhood Education, and potentially to other applied bachelor’s degrees. The pathway can continue from a BAS to a Masters in Teaching, or Master’s in Education.

Solid Curriculum

Our program is rooted in anti-bias, applied learning. This means we recognize and address systemic racism and how it impacts the children and families we work with. We are applied, which means students reflection their practice and learn strategies they can implement in their practice immediately.

North Seattle College offers common courses in Early Childhood Education that can be transferred to other two-year schools. We offer the 12-credit State Initial Certificate in Early Childhood Education, which can be earned in one quarter, the 8-credit State Short Certificate that builds upon the Initial Certificate, and the 27-credit State Certificate that builds upon the Initial and State certificates.

These stackable certificates can lead to our AAS in Early Childhood Education, which requires 90 credits, or 43 in addition to the Stackable Certificates

Class Formatting 

Due to overwhelming student demand, at this time, the Early Childhood Education courses for certificates and the AAS degree will remain virtual (on Zoom) and online (using Canvas). This allows our students to continue to work full time, spend more time with family, and engage in self-care. For more information about the differences between online and virtual courses, you can visit this E-Learning page

Online courses operate via Canvas, our online learning platform. Instructors will put course learning objectives, materials, and assignments in modules which you can access throughout the week. There is no required “class time”, meaning your learning is independent with no scheduled class time. This option is best for people who can work independently and can meet course deadlines. Visit this E-Learning page for more information about taking online courses and to see if it’s the right fit for you. 

Virtual courses will have class over Zoom one or two nights each week. Students enrolled in virtual courses will be expected to attend class over Zoom and complete assignments on Canvas, our online learning platform.

Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Education

We believe that all children, families, and caregivers have the right to an equitable and meaningful education. We recognize that barriers have been put in place to hinder the growth and achievement of students of all ages, especially those who are part of BIPOC communities, those who have immigrated to the United States, members of the LGBTQI+ community, those with both visible and invisible disabilities, and those who are economically disadvantaged, among many others. We also recognize that our spaces to learn and work are located on stolen Indigenous land, specifically on the land of the coastal Salish peoples. In each of our program courses, you will discover a focus on how each area of knowledge can be enhanced to reflect the anti-bias and anti-racist values of our community here at North Seattle College.

Anti-bias and anti-racist education include, but are not limited to, understanding the history of racism, misogyny, prejudice, and oppression in the United States and how they continue to impact us and the youngest members of our communities today. Using the phrases “anti-bias” and “anti-racist” requires us to identify and actively work against historically biased and racist policies and practices, dismantle them, and create more equitable opportunities for learners of all ages. Students, faculty, and staff reflect critically on practices and policies and in creating equitable spaces in early childhood education and higher education. 

International Students

We encourage International students to start fall quarter for the ECE AAS and Certificate program each academic year. Applicants will need to meet the International Programs standards for admission and meet with an ECE Staff member for advising support. Prospective ECE BAS students can contact ecebas@seattlecolleges.edu.

Program lengths are estimates, not guarantees. For the most current program information, please check with the program contact.