Early Childhood Education… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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School of Education
Early Childhood Education Birth-Grade 3
education student reading to children
School of Education

Early Childhood Education Birth-Grade 3

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Undergraduate

136 credits

required for program

136 credits

136 credits

required for program

Study under experienced professors who are deeply committed to the integration of a Christian worldview with the profession of teaching. The early childhood education degree will prepare you to teach and engage children from birth to Grade 3 in a public or private setting. This degree will also prepare you for further graduate study.

Why study early childhood education at Northwestern?

You’ll learn professional practices to engage children from diverse backgrounds and develop an appreciation for diversity in the classroom. Northwestern’s Child Development Center (CDC) serves as a professional hands-on development school site for the early childhood teacher education program. You’ll observe and participate in the intergenerational program with young children and senior adults at the Eagle Crest Senior Community.

The School of Education offers you the opportunity to travel to Haiti for one week to learn how education is different outside the U.S. This will equip you to teach in diverse communities. You can also study abroad in China over spring break or participate in a Civil Rights Pilgrimage spring break trip with other education majors. You can gain even more experience by participating in our international student teaching program.

Northwestern’s School of Education provides you with four levels of classroom practicum experience. The first allows you to find your personal "fit" within the teaching profession. The second level focuses on developing theory and skills related to diversity. The third level engages you to apply methodologies within your chosen field by creating, teaching, and evaluating lessons in a school classroom. The final level is full time student teaching in a chosen licensure field.

The School of Education provides teacher education programs approved by the MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Boardand, and meet the state standards adopted for licensure programs as defined in state Rule 8710.2000 through 8710.8080. All licensure programs are aligned with INTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards and the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice.

The School of Education has hosted Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) events, and is a member of CEAI.

The School of Education attends the Compass Educator Breakfast each fall (through Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN).

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving education system.

If you enjoy working with young children, are eager to serve, enjoy teaching, and are interested in a career in education, this might be the right degree for you.

What will I learn?

You will develop effective communication skills and be able to teach children in early childhood education programs.

I was passionate about early childhood, and Northwestern fueled that passion and gave me the tools I needed to be an excellent teacher. I now, more than ever, have a continued desire to learn more about infant/toddler development so I can be effective in what God has called me to do. Teaching is not easy, and Northwestern's early childhood program is not a breeze, but rather it pushes you to excellence. The professors prepared me well, and I am forever grateful for their high standards and encouragement.
Nicollete - Early Childhood Education, 2015

Careers in early childhood education

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in early childhood education.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Teaching in your area of specialty
  • Private tutoring
  • Creating/directing educational programs
  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional design (technology training may be required)
  • Textbook editing
  • Online education
  • Student life/student affairs
  • Corporate or business training and development

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) Centers and Headstart Programs
  • Schools of all kinds-public, private, charter, international, government, residential (Kindergarten—Grade 3)
  • Daycares, nursery schools, preschools
  • Parks and Recreation departments
  • Educational testing companies
  • Curriculum/educational publishers
  • School district offices
  • Educational research firms
  • Universities and colleges
  • Employee training programs
  • Youth camps and youth programs
  • Social service agencies, homeless shelters, and adoption agencies
  • Children’s bookstores
View Career Guide

of seniors feel faculty set high, clearly stated expectations


in our intergenerational learning program at Northwestern's Child Development Center


meets licensure requirements for the Minnesota Board of Teaching

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Requirements for certification/licensure vary by state; multiple certifications will increase employability. A master’s degree will increase earning potential.
  • Be willing to work hard at finding a job and to go where the jobs are.
  • Obtain part-time, summer, internship, or volunteer experience with the age group you intend to work with in various settings: pre-schools, daycares, camps, community agencies, adult centers, YMCA’s, etc.
  • Participate in co-curricular activities and related organizations to broaden skills, interests, and opportunities.
  • Identify transferable skills learned in teaching applicable to other careers: written and verbal communication, teaching and instruction, program planning, organization and record keeping, working under pressure and meeting deadlines, motivational skills, creativity, working autonomously, decision-making, problem solving.
  • Assume leadership roles and actively engage in activities to develop leadership skills in your field.

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