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Early Childhood Education

If you enjoy working with young children and want to nurture their growth and development, a certificate or degree in early childhood education could be a good fit for you.

In this program, you will study the social/emotional, physical/motor, language/literacy, cognitive, and creative development of children from birth through age 8. Courses are also available for teachers of school-age children, ages 5 through 14. The fully online program includes opportunities to work with children through specialized pathways in infant/toddler, family child care, school-age care, administration, and home visitor/family engagement and provides practicums and other on-the job learning opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in the diverse early care and education field.

Whether you want to become a teacher of young children, own/operate a childcare center or family childcare home, work with school-age children, or as a family support specialist, this program will help provide the professional preparation you need to pursue a career in the education and care of young children and supports further study and transfer opportunities to four-year programs.

Want more information about the program, the Early Achievers Scholarship, or how to apply?

What You’ll Learn

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Total Credits: 20

First Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
ECED& 105
Introduction to Early Childhood Education
ECED& 107
Health, Safety, Nutrition
ECED& 120
Practicum-Nurturing Relationships
ECED& 137
Outdoor Learning for Young Children
EDUC& 115
Child Development
Total Credits

Maximum estimated costs for completing this program

  • Tuition

  • Resident

  • Non-Resident

  • International

  • Books

  • Course Fees

  • Institutional Fees


  • The amounts listed for tuition and lab & course fees reflects a maximum estimated cost and may be lower based on courses selected.
  • The amount listed for books is a maximum estimated cost based on the price of new textbooks purchased during the previous school year. Costs may be lower based on student choices and availability (used books vs new, rental vs purchase).
  • For more information about costs, visit our page How Much Does It Cost?

  • Leah Ruiz
    Leah Ruiz
    ESBS Pathway Specialist

  • LeighAnna Drake
    LeighAnna Drake
    Early Childhood Education
    A.A., Spokane Falls Community College; B.Ed., M.Ed., Eastern Washington University
  • Alicia Elsasser
    Alicia Elsasser
    Mgr Par Edu/Coop Presc Pro
  • Elodie Goodman
    Elodie Goodman
    Dean Ss/Acct/Econ/Hum Serv
    B.A., M.A., University of Washington
  • Cathy Meier
    Cathy Meier
    Early Childhood Education
    A.S., B.S., University of Montana, Western; M.Ed. Brenau University; Ph.D., Walden University
  • Kim Rector
    Kim Rector
    Early Childhd Ed Poc/Ea Grant

Practicum Information

Early childhood education certificates and degrees cover an interdisciplinary array of topics to prepare graduates to work with children, usually from the ages of birth through around age 8. Courses include opportunities to work with children through specially design practicum and course application components. You may complete your work with children in a variety of early learning settings including:

This broad exposure to a variety of settings with children, under direct supervision of a master teacher, is one of the program's strengths. A Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) background clearance and proof of negative TB test will be required prior to a practicum placement with children.

Background Check Requirements

It is highly recommended students successfully complete the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) background check BEFORE enrolling in the program’s practicum courses. The DCYF background clearance process may take considerable time to fully complete and there are some criminal charges that can disqualify individuals from being allowed to work with children. Students cannot earn a degree in the ECED program unless they are able to complete ECED courses with practicum hours which require direct contact with children.

Washington State law directs DCYF to conduct background checks on anyone authorized to care for or have unsupervised access to children in licensed child care. For more information on background clearance please visit DCYF’s background check requirements page.

Certificate and Degree Options

In Washington State (DCYF), early learning professionals who need to meet employment requirements or want to further their education have a clear path to follow: stackable certificates/degrees are made up of common courses available statewide. These courses will build on one another in a sequential manner leading to certificate and degree completion.

Washington State ECED Stackable Certificates (12-47 credits)

  • Certificate - State Initial Early Childhood Education (12 credits)
  • Certificates - State Short Early Childhood Education (Initial + 8 credits = 20 credits)
    • Administration
    • Family Child Care
    • General
    • Home Visitor/Family Engagement
    • Infant Toddler Care
    • Outdoor Learning for Young Children
    • School-Age Care
  • Certificate - State Early Childhood Education (State Short + 27 credits = 47 credits)


  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS) - Early Childhood Education (ECED)
    • A two-year degree designed to begin or advance your career quickly and conveniently.
  • Associate in Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) - Early Childhood Education (ECED)
    • A two-year degree designed to better prepare students for transfer to a four-year institution.
  • AAS-T Articulation Pathways:

    • ECED AAS-T WSU BA in Human Development
    • ECED AAS-T EWU BAE in Early Childhood Education P-3 Teacher Certification

How do I get started?

Before you start the application process, look through Getting Started to learn the different options for becoming a student at Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC).

How are courses offered?

The ECED program at SFCC is a fully online certificate and degree program.

When are courses available?

Courses are offered every quarter, including summer. More information can be found on the ECED Prospective Students website. Scroll to ECED Program Information section and click on the ECED Course Schedule.

Will I get to work with children while taking classes?

Some ECED courses include an application and/or practicum component. These hours are in addition to time devoted to your coursework each quarter and equal approximately 2-13 hours per week depending on course requirements. See Special Application Requirements tab.

What if I have taken classes for credit at other institutions or completed community-based training?

Note: SFCC ECED program policy requires students transferring credits from other schools to successfully complete 50% of the required certificate/degree credits at SFCC, including ECED/EDUC credits.

Can I transfer my ECED credits, certificates/degrees from SFCC to four-year institutions?

Students who complete the Associate in Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) in Early Childhood Education at SFCC have transfer opportunities that include Eastern Washington University BAE PK-3 and Washington State University BA Human Development. Students are encouraged to work closely with an ECED faculty and/or staff member for additional information to determine the best pathway for transferring.

I still have more questions. Who can I contact?

Our Guided Pathway Specialist (GPS) can help you navigate registration and/or find answers to your remaining questions. Please reach out to:

Leah Ruiz
Pathways Specialist
Building 16, Room 133D

Have a question? Let's hear it.

Leah Ruiz

Pathways Specialist
Building 16, Room 133D

Kim Rector

Early Achievers Scholarship Point of Contact

Cathy Meier, PhD

Google Voice: 208-820-4250
Virtual Lounge Mondays: 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting
Zoom password: 066792

LeighAnna Drake