Early Childhood Education

Kids playing with shaving cream in the classroom

Early Childhood Education

Associate Degree

60 Credits | 2 Years

Associate Degree | Financial Aid-Eligible

New Richmond, Rice Lake, Superior

Career Cluster: Education & Training

Early childhood educators work with young children during the pivotal years that build the foundation for future success. They use play, science, art, language, math and music to help young children of all abilities and backgrounds develop physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. If you have a passion for education and creativity, and you enjoy working with young children, consider a fun and rewarding career in early childhood education! 


Heart logo ECE and Pathways



Financial assistance may be available as part of the QUEST: Support for Early Childhood Education and Child Care Grant. Learn more about this opportunity here.


Program Overview

The Early Childhood Education program will prepare you to work as a teacher or caregiver in an early childhood setting. You will have the opportunity to combine hands-on learning and student teaching experiences in community-based early childhood settings with related academic work at the college. As a student, you’ll take a variety of courses related to early childhood development, curriculum, behavior guidance and working with families that will prepare you for success in this high-demand field. Graduates of this program will be recognized as Wisconsin Registry Career Level 12.

Program Outcomes

Early Childhood Education graduates will be able to:

  • Apply child development theory to practice
  • Cultivate relationships with children, family, and the community
  • Assess child growth and development
  • Use effective, research-based practices in teaching and learning
  • Demonstrate professionalism
  • Integrate health, safety, and nutrition practices
A toddler playing with blocks

In this program, you'll apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world field experiences within community-based childcare settings. Readily access teaching and learning materials, equipment, and resources within open lab environments.

Early Childhood Education student playing with kids

Flexible scheduling. 

An Early Childhood Education student reading to a toddler-aged kid

Learn by doing. 

An Early Childhood Education student and a kid playing with Play-Doh

University transfer opportunities. 


All required program coursework is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) statewide curriculum, which aligns with Wisconsin’s YoungStar requirements and allows for numerous seamless transfer opportunities between area technical colleges and baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities. Graduates of this program will be recognized by The Registry, Wisconsin’s recognition system for the childhood care and education profession, as Wisconsin Registry Career Level 12. 

As a student of this program, you may be eligible for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood WISCONSIN scholarship. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN provides higher education scholarships to professionals who work in regulated early childhood and school age care settings seeking approved credit-based education, such as the Early Childhood Education associate degree. 

Strong Employment for Grads

The demand for early childhood professionals continues to increase as parents look for providers who can guide their child’s development. According to Northwood Tech’s 2021-2022 Graduate Survey Responses, 89 percent of Early Childhood Education graduates were employed in a related field within six months of graduating.

Career Pathways

As an Early Childhood Education student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! Graduates of this program will earn an
E-Connect Child Care Services technical diploma and a Group Child Care Essentials pathway certificate.

Experienced Instructors, Small Class Sizes

You’ll learn from knowledgeable and passionate instructors who care about your success. Small class sizes allow you to connect and interact with your instructors and classmates in fun and meaningful ways. 

Required Courses

Courses address the essential theoretical and practical instruction to develop skills in early childhood education procedures and professionalism. 

Explore the Required Courses

Featured Early Childhood Education Courses

| 3 CR
This 3-credit course will focus on beginning level curriculum development in the specific integrated content areas of social studies, art, music, & movement (SSAMM).
| 3 CR
In this 3-credit introductory field experience course, you will be introduced to the foundations of early childhood education under guided supervision of a mentor teacher in an early childhood setting, working with children birth through age 8. This course meets the requirements for the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards 18-hour training. PREREQUISITE: Admission to Early Childhood Education/E-CHiLD or E-Connect-Child Care Services or dean approval.
| 3 CR
This 3-credit course will focus on beginning level curriculum development in the specific integrated content areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Early Childhood Education is Part of a Career Pathway

As an Early Childhood Education student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

You could take this first and get a credential.

Pathway Certificate
6 Credits / 2 Semesters Part Time
Potential Careers
Child Care Teacher, Assistant Child Care Teacher
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Advance your skills to earn a technical diploma.

Technical Diploma
27 Credits / 1 Year / 2 Semesters Full Time; Part Time Option Available
Potential Careers
Child Care Teacher, Child Care Assistant Teacher, Family Child Care Provider, Infant or Toddler Caregiver, Au Pair/Nanny, Early Childhood Special Needs Assistant, Public School Teacher Aide/Assistant
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This is the program you’re looking at.

Associate Degree
60 Credits / 2 Years
Potential Careers
Child Care Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Family Child Care Provider, Infant or Toddler Caregiver, Early Childhood Special Needs Assistant, Program Director / Administrator, Public School Teacher Aide / Assistant, Head Start Assistant, Au Pair/Nanny
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Continue your education to earn your bachelor's degree.

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has an easy admission process that can be completed in one visit. Please see the details under the "Requirements and Application" section to get started.

Requirements and Application

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost. 

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work-study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits, and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the costs that you may incur while attending Northwood Technical College.

Learn More About Cost of Attendance

Estimated Total Program Tuition 2023-24*

Early Childhood Education

60 Credits | 2 Years


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Early Childhood Education Program

Upon completion of the program, you will earn a pathway certificate in Group Child Care Essentials, a technical diploma in E-Connect - Child Care Services, and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Center

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college to earn your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Center


Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

Student studying at laptop


T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Wisconsin logo, a program of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN provides higher education scholarships to professionals who work in regulated early childhood and school age care settings. Since its inception in 1999, T.E.A.CH. has provided more than 14,000 scholarships to over 8,000 early childhood teachers.

Learn more about T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN here.

2908 Marketplace Drive, Suite 101, Fitchburg, WI, 53719

Call 800.783.9322


Professional Licensure and/or Certification Information

Northwood Tech’s Early Childhood Education Associate Degree is designed to prepare students to obtain the required licensure to be employed/practice in the state of Wisconsin. However, Northwood Tech has not made a determination whether this program meets licensure requirements in states other than Wisconsin. Students who may be seeking professional licensure or certification in states other than Wisconsin should contact the appropriate licensing board in that state to verify that the Northwood Tech program meets licensure or certification requirements. To be eligible for testing and/or licensing in the state of Wisconsin, you may be required to obtain a social security number.

To learn more, visit: 

The Registry

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families


Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Nicole Messicci

Admissions Advisor



Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor



New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor



Superior Admissions Contact

Anna Kalin

Admissions Advisor



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