5 Professional ECE Associations You Can't Ignore

Are you looking for a place to share your interests and passion for early childhood education? How about a place to create new friendships and encourage others in the field of education?

The early childhood education (ECE) field has a wide variety of professional associations that  can help and support you in your pursuit for a future teaching position.

“It is absolutely critical that early childhood professionals advocate on behalf of children and families with and through associations or organizations,” says Cecelia Westby, Dean for the School of Education at Rasmussen College. “This is understood as part of the rich history of the field of early childhood education.”

Why should you join one of these associations? Here are three reasons:

Professional associations will not only help you find your groove in the education field; they will also help with professional development and, ultimately, further your career.

Below is a list of five ECE associations that you can’t afford to ignore.

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)

ACEI is an international association designed to support and encourage the development and education of all children. This organization specifically works with children from birth to early adolescence, and encourages education professionals with the resources and support they need.

Why should I join?

This community of educators claims it is different from other associations because it provides its members with the latest top-notch information on best practices in ECE. In addition to sharing education news, ACEI offers interested educators seven different types of membership to choose from, and even provides awards, grants and scholarships.


Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

This international association builds relationships between educators who are working with special and gifted education children. The CEC is dedicated to improving education for children with disabilities  in addition to children demonstrating unique gifts and talents.

Why should I join?

As the largest international association in special education, and with over 30,000 members, among the benefits CEC offers educators is professional development, complimentary CEC publications, 17 special interest divisions, along with networking opportunities and leadership positions.


The Division for Early Childhood (DEC)

As one of 17 divisions of the CEC, the DEC strives to encourage and assist families with developmentally delayed, at risk or disabled children. Unlike the CEC, this association works with educators who work with early childhood students with special needs from 0-8 years of age.

Why should I join?

Along with several testimonials for why you should join DEC, members are actively a part of national committees, initiatives and shaping special education legislation. A few more benefits include subscriptions to DEC research journals and discounts to education conferences.


Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

With over 1,500 members, the MCEC is a worldwide association that addresses and identifies the challenges behind being a military child and increases awareness of the difficulties military children face when their families relocate several times within their lives.

Why should I join?

There are four types of membership and, depending on your level, MCEC members receive monthly eNewsletters, a calendar designed by military children and a discounted rate on registration to MCEC National training seminars.


National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

NAEYC was founded in 1926, as the largest young children association in the world. As the leading membership association for educators working with children from 0-8 years of age, has around 80,000 members and over 300 state and local affiliates.

Why should I join?

As a member of NAEYC, you’ll receive 20 percent off NAEYC books and resources, discounts at conferences, and networking and leadership opportunities, among several other benefits.


By joining one of these ECE associations, the goal is to become a strong leader and educator. Opportunities to network, volunteer and encourage childhood development, are ways to accomplish this while also providing for your family and being a good role model.


Do you know of an early childhood education associations not listed above? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Kendall is an Online Community Specialist at Collegis Education who oversees online communities on behalf of Rasmussen College. She has a passion for social media and enjoys motivating and encouraging former, current and future learners.

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