The Associate in Applied Science: Major in Early Care and Education degree is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers working with children and families in early care and education. Academic, technical, and professional knowledge and skills are cultivated by learning opportunities based on best practices and current research in the field. The program offers a balance of developmental and educational theory and practice, a foundation in ethics, advocacy, leadership skills, supervised hands-on experiences, and general core coursework necessary for successful employment. Program graduates are qualified for employment in early care and education settings, including Head Start, child care centers and 4K programs, elementary school paraprofessional positions, and other agencies serving children and families. The program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Early Care and Education program's successful student must possess effective communication skills with adults and children, strong critical thinking and decision-making skills, and a well-grounded professional work ethic. These students must enjoy a variety of creative activities and be actively involved with children for extended periods. For all courses requiring off-site fieldwork and the capstone field placement course leading to graduation, the Early Care and Education program requires the following prerequisites:
Clear criminal background check
Health assessment denoting good health
Negative tuberculosis skin test
Student liability insurance
Current certification in First Aid and Infant, Child, and Adult CPR (EDU 243)
Admission to the Associate in Applied Science with a Major in Early Care and Education program is open to all students who have met the appropriate prerequisites or have acceptable placement scores. Students must successfully meet all applicable course prerequisites before enrolling in program courses. A criminal record could make a student ineligible for enrollment or participation in a supervised field experience, creating an inability to graduate from the program. Persons who have been convicted of a felony offence are not employable in the early care and education field.