Early Childhood and Elementary Education Programs

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:

Requirements for an early childhood education degree in Massachusetts
Click to view the Requirements for Academic Year 2022 – 2023 for each of our Education Programs

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.

High Demand for Graduates of ECE Certification Programs in MA

The nation is facing a growing demand for teachers. Over the next decade, many will retire, opening up hundreds of jobs that must be filled. In Massachusetts, schools will look for candidates with early childhood education degrees. Getting the background and experience offered by MWCC sets you up competitively to vie for the many job openings in this industry.

Make sure to track all the early childhood education degree requirements, as this is a field where you must meet all guidelines before you can get a job in the classroom. You can consult with our Career Services Center to ensure you have all the right paperwork and testing you need to enter the field.

What Makes a Good Candidate for an Early Childhood Education Degree?

Great teachers aren’t born — they are made in the classroom. You can learn the skills you need to help children, whether you want to teach kids to read or have a heart for lifting up those with difficult home circumstances. The qualities of a fantastic educator include:

  • Patience.
  • Attention to detail.
  • The ability to engage students.
  • Outstanding communication skills.
  • Excellent preparation.

You will receive the educational tools with ECE teacher certification, but you can also improve yourself in these areas while you take classes. Caring about children is more important than anything else. Your kindness and concern for our future generations will stand out when you pursue a career in education.

 “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.

ECC education program

Take Early Childhood Education Courses at MWCC

When you go to MWCC, you join a supportive community that cares about every student’s well-being and offers many opportunities for assistance. We believe each student deserves the chance to share, learn, and grow through education. We continually strive to make our classes accessible, both from an academic and tuition standpoint.

Our many services encourage students to connect with people who can help them. We emphasize things such as free career planning and personalized academic planning that will set you up for success. The more guidance you receive on your career path, the better off you will be. Our many support opportunities include:

  • Our Career Services Center, which offers tools and resources for job seekers.
  • A food pantry where students can obtain up to 20 items each month, including school supplies and personal hygiene products in addition to food.
  • A Veteran Services department to assist soldiers who are becoming civilians and students.
  • Child care offered to parents during their classes.

MWCC also differentiates itself with a commitment to sustainability. We try to lower our energy usage and carbon footprint whenever possible. We also make sustainability a core aspect of our curriculum whenever we can.

At MWCC, we care about our students, and we want to see you succeed. We set you up for success at every turn. We love watching students who have earned elementary education degrees head into the Gardner, MA, and surrounding educational systems and begin making an impact on their students every day, just like we do. That is what makes MWCC one of the best colleges for early childhood education in Massachusetts.

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 about Mount Wachusett Community College degrees? Request information today!

You can also fill out an application and hear back on your status quickly. We don’t charge a fee, and we don’t require an essay.

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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