Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) degrees prepare students for careers in teaching. Whether you want to work as a Lead Teacher after graduation, transfer to a 4-year institution, or take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), MWCC can help you reach your goals. We feature an observation classroom, which allows students to gain insight into how successful classrooms are run. Our graduates leave ready to positively impact the lives of children, their families, and their communities.

There are several degree and certificate options available to MWCC students:

Early Childhood Associate Degree Programs and Tracks

Early Childhood Education Career Degree (ECC)  The Early Childhood Career degree prepares you to work in a preschool or childcare center in Massachusetts certified as a Lead Teacher.

Early Education and Care for Exceptional Children (ECEC) The Early Education and Care for Exceptional Children is a degree track offering specialized training for educators who work with children with specialized needs.

Early Childhood Education Transfer Degree (ECT) The Early Childhood Transfer degree sets you on the path for a teaching career as a Lead Teacher with Preschool Certification. Most importantly, upon graduation, you will be ready to transfer into a 4-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree. This program prepares you to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).

Liberal Arts Degree (LAEL) The Liberal Arts Degree track enables you to transfer into a state college or university program in Elementary Education with the MassTransfer block of courses. You will take broad-based liberal arts courses as well as courses specific to childhood education. The Liberal Arts Degree program prepares you to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).

Early Childhood Certificate Program

Early Childhood Certificate Program (ECE) This certificate program prepares students for professional work with children from birth to age 5. The Early Childhood Certificate program is designed for those who are working in the field and wish to continue their education, as well as for those who are just getting started.

Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) MWCC’s Early Childhood Education CDA program gives 120 hours of supervised professional experience and academic training to students who want a professional credential to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach young children. The CDA program follows the curriculum for the National Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).

Why study Early Childhood Education at MWCC?

Mount Wachusett provides unique opportunities for future teachers pursuing their associate degree. The Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education offers the opportunity to observe one of two active classrooms. During this 2-part practicum, you will spend 150 hours over the course of each semester working in an early childhood setting under faculty supervision. No matter which degree path you choose, this experience sets you apart from graduates of other universities and community colleges. 

Our Educator programs promote high-quality early care and instruction. MWCC places an emphasis on understanding and meeting the state and national standards established by the Massachusetts State Department of Early Education and Care and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

 “I believe that by the time a child grows up, that child’s first teacher and second teacher and all the child’s important adults will have become incorporated into that child’s development…and will always be part of who they are.”
Fred Rogers

Careers in Early Childhood Education

Childhood education is a rewarding and important career. Shaping young minds requires strong analysis skills, the ability to design activity plans, and much more. Luckily at MWCC, Early Childhood Education majors focus on all the necessary skills needed to become an early education teacher. Choosing the Career Degree option allows students to teach in preschools and childcare centers after graduating.

In North Central Massachusetts, elementary school teachers make an average of $76,890 annually (after earning a bachelor’s degree.) Plus, in the state of Massachusetts, there is a projected 11% job growth in the elementary and early childhood education field, opening up 2,320 jobs. Your experience and knowledge after earning a bachelor’s degree or a certificate will help you find a job fast. After completing your degree, you will be ready to apply for the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Lead Teacher certification. Obtaining an Early Childhood Career certification indicates that you are qualified to work in childcare facilities.

Start your Early Childhood Education degree at MWCC

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Early Childhood Education Transfer associate degree and our Liberal Arts Elementary Education concentration offer the ability to further your education or start your career in teaching. MWCC’s affordable, high-quality education makes us the perfect school for future Massachusetts educators. Interested in learning more? Request information today!

This program satisfies the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Early Childhood Education Transfer Compact for transfer to a state college or university bachelor’s degree program (nursery school to grade 2).

Visit the MA Early Educators Website


“Everyone was so supportive at the Mount, from my first day filling out an application and financial aid forms. And the professors were always there for me. I felt so at home.”

Maria Paulino, 1999, Early Childhood Education

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