Early Childhood Education
Step-by-Step Guide

The following is a step-by-step guide for ECE students pursuing a certificate or A.A.S. degree.

All of the information presented here is also shared at our quarterly Group Advising Workshop. All new students and students with less than 45 credits are encouraged to attend. Find our next session listed here.

We offer certificates that stack into an Associate of Applied Science degree, which then stacks into a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. See the full pathway here for stackable certificates, A.A.S, and B.A.S. degrees. These certificates and degrees are recognized statewide.

Different employers have different expectations about which credential and how much experience you need to become employed as an early childhood education professional (assistant teacher, lead teacher, coach, family specialist, director, etc.) but one thing is universal: the field is professionalizing and standards are rising, especially at high-quality early learning centers.

Please note that if you already have a two- or four-year degree in another field, you may only be a few prerequisites away from starting the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

1. First, you must apply to the college. You must apply to the college to get a student ID number before you can move forward with other tasks. Go to Steps to Admission & Enrollment and follow Step 1. You will soon receive your Student ID number via email and you can proceed with a transcript evaluation, if applicable.

2. Transcript evaluation: If you previously attended another college or university, you are urged to submit your official transcripts to North Seattle College at your earliest opportunity. Please follow these steps to have your evaluation completed. Official evaluations can take up to three months to complete, so do not delay! This is the foundation of making an education plan and having a smooth and successful experience! Be sure you send in this form after all of your transcripts have been received!

You can monitor the status of your documents and the completion of your evaluation by logging into Degree Audit and checking "Notes" in the top right hand corner. A note will be left when all transcripts are received, again once your Application for Evaluation of Incoming Credits is received, and again once your official evaluation is complete.

3. Degree Audit: Once your official evaluation is complete, log into Degree Audit to see which classes came in. In the “Select a degree” drop-down, look under ECE to see the full list of options. Now, compare this to a copy of your transcripts. (If you don’t have a copy of your transcripts, contact your previous college or university.) Check to see which classes did and did not come in. You can e-mail or meet with your advisor to see if there are any classes that did not come in but can be brought in through the Academic Exception process. Many students need an advisor’s support at this phase so be sure to reach out! If ECE classes from other local colleges were not brought in, check this course equivalency crosswalk and let an advisor know if your equivalent class is missing. This does not apply to you if you have never attended college before.

• Many students use financial aid to fund their education. Please apply at fafsa.gov (if you do not have a social security number, visit readysetgrad.org/wasfa to apply). Take note of the deadlines for North Seattle College. Our Office of Financial Aid is a useful resource.

• The Early Achievers Opportunity Grant is a great option for those who are pursuing certificates or an associate and work at an Early Achievers facility. Must meet specific eligibility criteria to apply. 

• The Childcare Aware Bachelor’s Pathways Scholarship is a great resource for those working at an Early Achievers site and meeting specific eligibility criteria. If you are nearing completion of your A.A.S. degree and hope to begin the B.A.S. next fall, apply early!

• The Seattle Preschool Program has funding for teachers working in SPP classrooms. For more info. click here or call the Seattle City Department of Education and Early Learning at (206) 233-5118.

• The Seattle Colleges Education Fund is another great resource for current students. Applications are typically accepted in the spring for the following school year. Read about this scholarship and several more opportunities here.

• For more information about financial aid and funding, see Step 2: Plan Funding. Be sure to follow the worker retraining link and complete the Start Next Quarter Survey to find out if you pre-qualify for Workforce Education funding.

Before you begin, you'll want to be sure that you have demonstrated the proficiency needed in English and/or Math to register for the classes outlined in your education plan. For more info, see Step 3: Placement for Classes.

Next, be sure you’ve made an education plan and follow it (see "Tracking Progress") ! Otherwise you may lose time and money taking classes that do not apply toward your goal. See above for information on creating an Education Plan. Next, follow Step 4: Register.

Please note that classes for any given quarter are typically listed on our registration website about one week before registration for current students begins. It is important to use the Academic Calendar to make sure you register at your first opportunity, before classes fill up. In the unanticipated event that a class is not going well for you, it is very important to be mindful of Add/Drop Deadlines to minimize the impact to your finances and academic record.

ECE students are not required to attend/complete the general orientation for new North Seattle College students.

However, they are required to complete an online orientation for the ECE program. The orientation can be found at canvas.northseattle.edu in the Early Childhood Education Community page. You will be able to access this Canvas page after you follow the steps above for applying and registering for your first ECE course. Registering for your first ECE course will trigger you to be added to the Canvas page with the orientation on it.

This orientation provides information about course sequences, student resources, graduation procedures, and more. At the end of each section there is a quiz you must complete in order to get credit for that section.

Students who have not completed orientation will not be allowed to meet with an advisor. This can delay your graduation given that you must meet with an advisor to graduate. Please complete orientation as soon as possible after you register for your first ECE class to prevent such delays.

Online orientation is offered in order to be flexible with your schedule and can be completed in multiple sessions, over any time period. It will also answer many questions you may have for an advisor. Feel free to refer back to it at any point during your time at NSC.

1. Using Program Planning Sheets: These worksheets  list all of the classes you need to complete a certificate or degree. You can use this in combination with Degree Audit to check off the classes you have already completed and see what other classes you still need to take. Here is the official Program Planning Sheet for the AAS degree, which offers more detail.

2. Create an Education Plan: Once you figure out which classes you still need to take, you can create a plan that maps out when you will take those classes. Use this online tool to do so, and when you meet with an advisor, they can help you edit it and approve it officially.
Please note that not all classes are offered all quarters. We have created a tentative ECE Annual Schedule to indicate when we anticipate classes will be offered this academic year. IMPORTANT: Changes are made to this most quarters—use it for tentative planning purposes only. If there is a class you need and it is not offered at NSC when you need it, you may take it at another college and transfer it to NSC via official transcript evaluation, provided you have the financial means to do so.

3. Meet with an advisor: It is highly recommended that you meet with an advisor no later than halfway through your certificate or degree. You are encouraged to meet sooner if possible. It is required to meet with the advisor to apply to complete your certificate or degree, which can happen as soon as you register for your last quarter of classes. Finally, eligible students must meet with an advisor to apply for the Early Achievers Opportunity Grant.

Please email eceinfo@seattlecolleges.edu to find out who your advisor is. If you are planning ahead for the B.A.S. degree, contact Anne Garrett and you should follow the corresponding step-by-step guide for B.A.S.

Office hours are hosted by appointment on Wednesdays in the ECE offices.

Most courses in the certificates and degrees expect you to work or volunteer with early learners (age 0-8) at least a few hours per week. If you are not currently working in this setting, you will need to volunteer. We have found that most early learning programs are eager to accept our students as volunteers. We encourage students to choose a program that is both aligned with their career goals and conveniently located for them. Students are expected to take the lead on making their own arrangements. We do not directly monitor the hours you put in, but rather see it come through in the quality of your work. If you have reached out to several programs but have not been successful in securing a practicum, please contact our staff for referrals.

MyNorth is your student portal. It is your link to many important services. You will need to use this regularly to stay on top of things. Log in at the top right hand corner and click on the little "i" at the top of the page to be taken to a menu of services. You can pay, view grades, purchase a parking pass, check your financial aid award, etc., from here.

Canvas is your resource for class information and general ECE information. It contains course materials and there is also a general ECE page for orientation, discussions on job postings, etc. It should be one of the first resources you check in with for any questions!

Student Services are plentiful at North Seattle College and can increase your success! Please view our menu and reach out as needed. Most of these services are included in the cost of your tuition, so take full advantage of them!

Completion: I think I’m almost finished with my certificate or degree. How do I officially finish it, and what next?

• Follow the Graduation Procedure. You can do this as soon as you register for your last quarter of classes, so be sure to schedule an appointment with your advisor as soon as this will be done.

• Graduation ceremony: Congratulations on completion! We would love to see you at commencement. Please learn more here. Note that there will be updates on this page each spring quarter.

• If you will finish your A.A.S. degree, we highly encourage you to continue your education onto the bachelor’s level. To learn more about our bachelor’s program, review the website and contact Program Manager Anne Garrett to get started.