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! 

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 best 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 practicum experiences within community-based child care 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 2018-19 Graduate Survey Responses, 100 percent of the early childhood education graduates were employed 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 also earn a Child Care Services Technical Diploma, Preschool Education Professional Pathway Certificate (and upon commission completion, The Registry Preschool Credential), and 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. 


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

Explore the Curriculum

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
The 3-credit course examines child development within the context of the early childhood education setting. Course competencies include: integrate strategies that support diversity, cultural responsiveness, and anti-bias perspectives; analyze social, cultural, and economic influences on child development; summarize child development theories; analyze development of children ages three through five; analyze development of children ages five through eight; relate child development research findings to teaching practice; analyze the role of heredity and the environment; examine the role of brain development in early learning (ages 3-8); examine developmental and environmental assessment strategies for children ages 3-8.
| 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! 

Download the Career Pathway Map

You could take this first and get a credential.

Continue your education.

Advance your skills to earn a technical diploma.

Technical Diploma
27 Credits / 1 Year / 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
Range of Yearly Salary
$17,744 - $31,120 annually
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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
Range of Yearly Salary
$14,400 - $51,600 annually
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Continue your education to obtain your bachelor's degree.

Early Childhood Education & E-CHiLD Transfer Options

UW-Oshkosh |UW-River Falls | UW-Milwaukee | UW-Stevens Point | UW-Stout | UW-Superior | UW-Whitewater | Concordia University | Franklin University | Lakeland University | Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) | Northland College+ | Viterbo University

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. To start the process, simply fill out an application form along with a $30 application fee. After you’ve successfully submitted your application, your next step is to schedule an admissions meeting with a Northwood Tech counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it!

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

Estimated Total Program Costs 2021-22*

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 obtain Pathway Certificates in Group Child Care Essentials and Preschool Education Professional (The Registry Preschool Credential), a technical diploma in E-Connect - Child Care Services and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

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

View Transfer Options

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 a 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 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

Tia Dietz

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Mary Glad

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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