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Early Childhood Education


(916) 484-8902


Early Childhood Education


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Assistant Teacher
Associate Teacher
Family Child Care
Infant Care
Master Teacher
Site Supervisor
School Age Childcare

Career Opportunities

National interest in the education and care of children has made Early Childhood Education a rapidly growing field. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing grants permits to those preparing to teach children younger than five or older children in after-school child care programs. These permits, known as Child Development Permits, authorize service in publicly-funded child care and development programs.

The American River College Early Childhood Education program is a partner with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in a special project designed to help students prepare for and receive Child Development Permits. Through this partnership, ARC students who complete one of a select group of American River College Early Childhood Education certificates and verify required experience are recommended by the ECE faculty for issuance of a Child Development Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The Early Childhood Education certificates and degree prepare students to work at various levels of the early childhood teaching profession--teacher assistant, teacher, supervisor, and director of child care and development centers; instructional assistant in kindergarten and primary grade classrooms in public schools; and teacher or teacher assistant in private school. The course work also prepares those who wish to be forster parents and family service workers. For students who have an interest in teaching in public elementary schools and plan to complete a four-year degree in child development, the AA degree provides a strong foundation.

Description of Major Program of Study

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is a field that addresses the needs of children from birth through eight years of age, with some services provided in after-school programs for children up through 14 years of age. ECE programs provide for the education of young children, and in doing so focus on all aspects of development-a child's mind, body, emotional security, and social competence. Early childhood educators work closely with the families of children served in their programs, supporting not only the education of the children, but also the well-being of the children's families. Such programs cover a diverse range of services-preschool education, child care, family child care, infant care, foster care, parent support services, instructional assistance in kindergarten and primary classrooms, children's advocacy, and resource and referral.


~ The Early Childhood Education program at ARC provides an opportunity for classes that put you in a classroom working with children.
~ The curriculum responds directly to the needs of childcare employers looking for qualified staff.
~ Direct career path to getting a California teaching permit or credential.
~ National interest in the education and care of children has made ECE a rapidly growing career field.

List of Required Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some career options/opportunities available to me after I earn the certificate? the degree?
The ECE program prepares students for two levels of entry in the profession. An AA degree and four certificates which meet the requirements for various levels of the Child Development Permit, the official teacher credential that the state of California requires for teachers working in publicly-funded early childhood programs at the kindergarten level. Five certificates which provide the minimum educational requirements for teachers and directors in privately-funded preschools and child care and development programs.

Upon completion of the AA degree in early childhood education, a student will possess the courses required to work as a teach in both privately-and publicly-funded early childhood education programs. These programs have various names, depending on the age group served-preschools, infant and child care centers, family child care homes, and before-and-after school programs. Students may also find employment at the kindergarten and primary grade level as instructional assistants in public schools and as teachers or assistants in private schools.

What types of companies are currently hiring graduates?
Students interested in an Early Childhood Education career can find employment in a variety of settings in the greater Sacramento area.

What is the typical level salary range?
Depending on the number of units complete, experience, and type of agency, public or private, the pay could range anywhere between minimum wage for an associate teacher to $14 per hour for a teacher who holds a permit or an AA degree in Early Childhood Education.

What is the average cost of the certificate program? the degree program?
American River College is a public community college. Fees are $46 per unit for California residents. Out-of-state and international students will pay higher fees. The minimum number of units required for a degree is 60 units and a certificate is 12-38 units depending on the certificate. Books and materials are additional costs.

What is the first step I need to take to enroll in the program?
Take the English reading/writing and mathematics assessment tests at the Assessment Center and meet with a counselor for course planning.