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Early Childhood Education

Associate's Degree

Next start date

January 06, 2020

Finish in as few as

18 months1

Learning options

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Field Experience
  • Flex Choice®

As an early childhood educator, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of young children. Our online Early Childhood Education (ECE) Associate’s degree program allows you to gain the knowledge and skills that are needed for success as an early childhood educator in as few as 18 months. Through career-focused curriculum and practical, relevant opportunities in your Early Childhood Education classes online, you can impact children’s lives by promoting the healthy development of physical, social, emotional, intellectual and language skills. Our ECE programs do not prepare students for licensed teaching positions in any public school setting, but students will have the opportunity to help shape the futures of young children from birth to age five in a non-public school setting or leadership role. This ECE degree is available with Flex Choice®, which allows you to combine traditional online coursework and self-directed assessments—a more affordable way to receive credit for what you already know.

You can choose one of two specializations—Special Needs and Child Development—to enhance your skills in a particular area of interest. The Special Needs specialization teaches how to create an inclusive environment for exceptional learners, prepare children for future learning and bring together fellow caregivers, educators and family members critical to supporting the child. Specializing in Child Development can help you develop an understanding of developmentally appropriate practice, positive guidance and assessment of infants, toddlers and young children, and the importance of partnering with parents. You may also have the opportunity to choose between the Field Experience or Exploration track (based on the state in which you live) to gain hands-on experience and relevant early childhood education training.

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After this credential

What Will I Be Prepared to Do When I’m Done?

Advance Your Education

Rasmussen College’s ladder curriculum allows you to easily transfer your Early Childhood Education degree credits toward an ECE Bachelor's degree.

Be a Positive Influence

Our Early Childhood Education courses give you the knowledge and skills you need to create a positive and thriving learning environment for your children and their families.

Pursue Potential Job Growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected job growth potential between 2016 and 2026 for preschool teachers, except special education, is 11%.2 An Early Childhood Education degree online from Rasmussen College can help set you up for success in this growing field.

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Request More Information About Our Early Childhood Education Program

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  • Program Details and Applying for Classes 
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify)
  • Customized Support Services
  • Detailed Program Plan

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What Skills Will I Gain?

Promote Inclusive Environments

Special Needs Specialization

Develop strategies for promoting and supporting an inclusive environment and explore how to support young children with special needs and English Language Learners in the early childhood setting.

Effective Education Techniques

Special Needs Specialization

Use your knowledge and skills from our coursework to create customized curriculum and education techniques to effectively help students with special needs develop their mental, emotional and physical capabilities.

Infant and Toddler Development

Child Development Specialization

Understand the importance of creating environments for infant/toddler group care which fosters optimum social/emotional, physical and cognitive development.

Language Learning and Support

Child Development Specialization

Use your knowledge and skills to help infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged English Language Learners acquire language and literacy, as well as working with families to support children's home languages.

female childhood education teacher and young children
Make a lasting impression on a child’s life by gaining the necessary skills to create a safe learning environment.

Sample Courses

What Types of Classes Will I Take?

    Early Childhood Education Curriculum and Instruction

    • EEC 1202
    • Online
    • 4 Credits

    Includes student reflection upon cumulative learning from the early childhood education program. Students will critically analyze, reflect and problem solve experiences in the field of early childhood. Students will identify specialization-specific knowledge to inform best practices.

    Advocating for Children with Special Needs

    • Special Needs Specialization
    • EEC 2403
    • Online
    • 4 Credits

    Explore current trends, resources and advocacy on behalf of young children with special needs. Examines the role of early childhood educators in supporting and advocating for young children with special needs and their families.

    The Exceptional Child

    • Child Development Specialization
    • EEX 2010
    • Online
    • 4 Credits

    Explores the benefits of inclusion in the early childhood setting. Develops an understanding of exceptional development. Identifies the parties relevant to exceptional development and their roles as resources in support of the child and their families.

24 Courses to Complete

90 Credit Hours

Estimate Your Tuition

Estimate Your Tuition

Rasmussen College is committed to making education more affordable for all students. Our tuition estimating tool can help you visualize the cost of your degree and see what savings opportunities are available to help you achieve it.

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What Should I Know Before I Enroll?

Entrance Requirements

Entrance requirements at the Rasmussen College School of Education vary depending on the program. We do not require enrolling students to submit standardized test scores; however, every entrant must have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Talk to a program manager

Transfer Student

We believe in giving credit where it’s due. Prospective students who hold a current CDA Credential may be eligible to waive or transfer up to 12 credits into this Early Childhood Education program. Talk to a program manager today or explore our Transfer Policy page to review our seamless credit policies designed to maximize credits, potentially save money and expedite graduation.

Visit our Transfer Policy page

Help Paying for College

Higher education should be a manageable investment. Talk to a program manager and learn how these programs can make it more affordable with Flex Choice® learning options, loans and grants, scholarship opportunities and corporate and military discounts.

Learn more about Flex Choice

Class Locations

Where Can I Find an Early Childhood Education Program Near Me?

At Rasmussen College, we want our courses to be available on your schedule, not the other way around. Select programs are available for enrollment through a specific campus and nationally online, but students complete the courses online and are able to utilize online and on-campus support and resources. See below to find out where you can find an Early Childhood Education program near you.

  • Online
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  1. Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed May 30, 2018] Employment conditions in your area may vary.
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