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Early Childhood Care & Education

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), "The demand for early childhood care and education programs continues to increase, not only in response to the growing demand for out-of-home child care, but also in recognition of the critical importance of educational experiences during the early years" ( This associate degree program in early childhood education prepares professionals who can provide high-quality educational experiences for their community’s youngest children. Students are usually practitioners working in preschools and other child-care and educational settings.

Graduates will be able to implement developmentally appropriate integrated activities and materials across the domains, including visual arts, music, movement, science and math, and early language development. The program also emphasizes working with young children and their families from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.


Quick Info

Program Code


Real-World Learning Components

Required teaching experience


2 years

Admission Criteria



Distance Learning Only
16.0 - 23.0


Early Childhood Learning Community
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services


361 Dyer Hall
PO Box 210105
Cincinnati,OH  45221-0105
Early Childhood Learning Community
Phone: 513-556-2336

Student Success Factors

Students who are successful demonstrate a passion for the field of early childhood education and a desire to master new challenges. Students must pass a background check, if not already required by their employer. Early childhood professionals must respect diverse children and families and be able to communicate effectively with children, parents, co-workers and supervisors. Computer skills are essential.

Career Possibilities

Graduates of this major pursue careers such as:

  • Head start teacher
  • Preschool teacher
  • Infant/toddler specialist
  • Program administrator in an early childhood setting

Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

Major Details

The associate degree in early childhood education is offered through the School of Education in UC's College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). The main goal of the program is to provide each student with an ethical and thorough understanding of early childhood theory and its application to the educational setting.

Each course teaches the relevant early childhood theory and developmentally appropriate practice. Classes are taught by faculty with experience as preschool, infant and toddler teachers and directors, so assignments allow professionals to apply their new knowledge in their own classrooms and reflect on their own teaching practice.

The associate degree requires a combination of general education courses along with early childhood courses. All degree requirements may be met online; no on-campus visit is necessary.

Almost all courses have at least one fieldwork assignment that requires access to children. For that reason, this degree option is highly desirable for working practitioners who can complete most fieldwork assignments as a part of their job duties. Likewise, the student teaching practicum and internship may be completed in the teacher’s own classroom, subject to approval by the program supervising faculty. Students videotape their own teaching and are mentored by a UC faculty and an on-site mentor who has been approved by program faculty. Students must log significant time in a preschool or an infant/toddler classroom during the internship. A video camera is necessary because video assignments must be completed and subsequently mailed to the ECLC offices for faculty review.

The successful completion of student teaching and all degree requirements may lead to faculty’s recommendation for Ohio’s pre-K license. (The minimum GPA for recommendation for an Ohio pre-K teaching license is 2.5, with grades of "C" or higher in all required education courses.) Out-of-state students should consult with their own state’s department of education to determine reciprocity, if out-of-state licensure is desirable.

Transfer credit is awarded from regionally accredited institutions only if it is equivalent to degree requirements. Application of all transfer credit is not guaranteed, even if it is acceptable to the university’s transfer center. 

Students may begin the program any semester during the academic year. Each student is assigned an advisor who can assist with an academic plan based on the student’s transfer credit and career goals. Completion of the program will vary depending on each student’s course load and work schedule; most students are employed full-time and enroll in two courses per semester.

Significant student support is offered through the CECH Student Services Center and the distance education support office in the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services.


These tools assist students to identify course requirements and individual progress toward completion of academic programs. It is important to utilize these resources with personalized guidance from a UC academic advisor regularly to ensure timely graduation..

My Degree Audit - for confirmed and current students

My Transfer Course Equivalencies - for students considering transfer to UC

UC Schedule of Classes - search course availability and descriptions

Curriculum Guide Versions:

Fall 2014

Predominant Program

    Core Curriculum
    • ENGL1001, English Composition, EC, 3
    • ENGL2089, Intermediate Composition, EC, 3
    • MATHxxxx, Student may select any college mathematics course., 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Student may select any college level natural science course., 3
    • CI1001, Educational Technology, TI, 3
    • EDST1001, Introduction to Education, DC, HP, 3
    • SPED1001, Individuals with Exceptionalities, DC, SE, 3
    • EDST1002, Educational Psychology, SS, 3
    • ECE1005, Learning Early Care & Education Online, 3
    • ECE1020, Health, Safety and Nutrition, 3
    • ECE2000, Introductory Child Development, SS, 3
    • ECE2025, Families, Communities, and Schools, DC, 3
    • ECE2010, Classroom Organization and Guidance, 3
    • ECE2040, Infant and Toddler Care and Education, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Student may select any 3 credit hour course as a Free Elective., 3
    Pre-K Focus
    • ECE2015, Language Arts & Literacy in Early Care and Education, 3
    • ECE2020, Creative Arts in Early Care and Education, 3
    • ECE2080, Preschool Student Teaching, 3
    • ECE2085, Preschool Internship, 3
    • ECE3010, Foundations of Math and Science, 3
    Infant-Toddler Focus
    • ECE2045, Physical, Cognitive, and Language Development in Infant and Toddlers, 3
    • ECE2050, Social Emotional Development and Guidance for Infants and Toddlers, 3
    • ECE2070, Supervision and Organization of ECE Programs, 3
    • ECE4050, Responsive Environments for Infants and Toddlers, 3
    • ECE4055, Infant and Toddler Practicum, 3
    Administrative Focus
    • ECE2xxx, Students will complete ECE 2070 Supervision and Organization of ECE Programs., 3
    • ECE2075, Operation of an ECE Program, 3
    • ECE3025, Assessment and Evaluation in Early Care and Education, 3
    • ECE3035, Administration and Leadership in Early Care and Education, 3
    • ECE3045, Creative and Instructional Environments for Young Children, 3

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

This educational opportunity is only available online. The Early Childhood Education Online (ECE Online) program supports over 600 students from every U.S. state and several foreign countries.

ECE Online has become a worldwide model for online education in the field of early childhood; conferences sponsored by national organizations like the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) have featured ECE Online as a model for effective online practices. In addition, several articles have been written and published about the student support system and the student teaching experience.

The online nature of this program has required an individualized approach to student support. Each student receives toll-free phone assistance prior to enrollment. Each student is assigned an advisor who is available via e-mail and phone for admission and registration advice and consultation.

ECE Online’s website may be accessed here.


Special Programs

Kappa Delta Pi (KDP)Kappa Delta Pi is a prestigious international honor society that recognizes scholarship and excellence in the field of education. Members must have a college GPA of at least 3.0 for undergraduate students or 3.25 for graduate students. KDP members work on several volunteer activities that focus on education. Some of the benefits of being a member of KDP include annual scholarships, professional development, a nationwide job database and access to the ideas, research, insights and expertise of internationally renowned educators.

Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC)
SCEC is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities and gifted children, as well as those typically developing. If you are committed to children, focused on becoming the best educator and want to meet new people, then SCEC is for you! Membership dues permit you to receive professional development opportunities, journals and newsletters with new research and classroom practices and the opportunity to attend conventions and conferences.

Admission Requirements

This program is open to all students with a high school diploma or GED and the desire to succeed in college.  Students accepted into the program must meet the academic standards of the program to advance to upper levels of study.

Transferring to UC Requirements

All transfer students must have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average.

Changing Majors Within UC

Students changing majors from other programs or colleges within UC will be considered based on the admission criteria for transfer students. Please contact an academic advisor for details.

International Student Requirements

International students should contact the University's Office of Admission for details. 513-556-1100

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, a student must:

  • Complete all required course work and program requirements.
  • Obtain at least a 2.0 university grade point average.
  • Be in good academic standing; that is, not on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Meet the college's residency requirement of 30 semester credit hours.
  • Submit formal application for the degree by the posted semester of graduation deadline.

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester


  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1*
  • Confirmation Deadline: May 1

* Your application must be complete by this date in order to be considered for scholarships and the Honors Program.


  • Application Deadline: July 1
  • Confirmation Deadline: Aug. 1

Spring Semester

Freshmen and Transfers: 

  • Application Deadline: Nov. 1
  • Confirmation Deadline: Dec. 1

Summer Semester

Freshmen and Transfers: 

  • Application Deadline: March 1
  • Confirmation Deadline: April 1


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The early childhood education program is accredited by the following:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Ohio Department of Education