Early Care & Education Degree

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Prepares students for careers in the Early Care & Education field as child care directors, teachers, leads, and assistant child care providers.

Degree Info at a Glance

Type: AAT or AAS-T

Approx. # of Quarters: 8-10

Estimated Cost: $8,570.84

Admission Dates: Fall, winter, spring and summer quarters

Prerequisites: COMPASS Reading 68 and Writing 33, or successful completion of ENG 82.

To obtain the degree, a student must complete the required courses and elective credits. Students participate in practicum experiences at the Hayes Child Development Center on the Lakewood campus or in an approved local child care center.

Students will complete four practicum experiences. The fourth practicum will be in an area of the student’s choice: Leadership in ECE, Child Development – Infant/Toddler, Child Development – Preschool, Child Development – School Age, Family Childcare Professional, or Special Needs. Degree candidates may petition for credits based on possession of a current CDA credential.

Students are required to develop a program portfolio to be completed and presented prior to graduation.

All courses must be completed with a minimum of a C grade to graduate. The Foundation Certificate and Specialist Certificate are embedded in the degree program, so the student may earn stepping-stone credentials on their way to completing an associate degree.

Proficiency in reading, writing, and an understanding of the English language is required. ENGL& 101 must be completed by the end of the fourth quarter. Students are required to take the COMPASS test before entry into the program and must meet with an ECE faculty advisor. All degree students must fulfill portfolio requirements, which must be completed by the time of graduation from the program.

Employability Requirement: To become a licensed child care provider in Washington, you must participate in a Department of Early Learning (DEL) licensing orientation and apply for and receive licensure. State law requires DEL to run background checks on anyone who is authorized to care for or has unsupervised access to children in licensed child care facilities.

Program Length: This program is approximately eight to ten quarters long, depending on the time students need to satisfactorily complete all graduation requirements and hours of enrollment.

Admission Dates: Summer, fall, winter and spring quarters

Prerequisites: COMPASS score of 68 in reading and 33 in writing, or successful completion of ENG 082.

In addition to the program course requirements, students must also complete the general education requirements for the degree they seek to obtain. The two degree options in this program are the Associate of Applied Technology (AAT) or the Associate in Applied Science–T (AAS-T). The different requirements for each degree are listed below.

AAT Degree General Education Requirements (15 credits)

  • ENGL& 101 English Composition or CMST& 220 (or higher)
  • MAT 105 Math for Industrial Professions (or higher)
  • PSYC& 100DIV General Psychology (PSY 112DIV, SOC& 101DIV, or other humanities course that meets the diversity requirement)

AAS-T Degree general education requirements (20 credits):

All AAS-T degrees must have a minimum of 20 credits of transferable general education. These credits replace the academic courses required for the AAT degree. Required credits include:

  • 5 credits in communication: ENGL& 101
  • 5 credits in quantitative reasoning: MAT 110, MATH& 141, MATH& 142, MATH& 146 or MATH& 151
  • 5 credits in a social science that meets the diversity requirement (PSYC& 100DIV or SOC& 101DIV)
  • 5 credits in social science, humanities, or science (choose one from the following): PSYC& 100DIV, PSYC& 200, PSY 210, PSYC& 220, SOC& 101, ART& 100, MUSC& 105, ASL& 121, BIOL 118, BIOL& 160, BIOL& 175, BIOL& 241, BIOL& 242, CHEM& 121, CHEM& 110, GEOL& 110, PHYS& 114, ECON 101, ECON& 201 or ECON& 202

Students pursuing an AAT or AAS-T degree must complete all College degree requirements prior to graduation. This includes courses that meet the capstone project, diversity, and computer literacy requirements.

Program Requirements

AAT Program Course List

Course # Course Name Credits
ECE 120 Interpersonal Skills for the ECE Professional 2
ECE 141 ECE Curriculum: Math 2
ECE 142 ECE Curriculum: Science & Technology 2
ECE 230 Inclusion in ECE 3
ECE 245 Diversity Awareness and Curriculum Development 3
ECE 290CAP Portfolio Adventure 2
ECED& 100 Child Care Basics (STARS) 3
ECED& 105 Introduction to Early Childhood Education 5
ECED& 107 Health, Nutrition and Safety 5
ECED& 132 Infants & Toddlers — Nurturing Care 3
ECED& 160 Curriculum Development 5
ECED& 170 Environments for Young Children 3
ECED& 180 Language and Literacy Development 3
ECED& 190 Observation & Assessment 3
ECS 110CL Computer Essentials for the ECE Professional 4
ECS 160 ECE Curriculum: Music/Movement/Creativity 5
ECS 181 ECE Practicum I 5
ECS 182 ECE Practicum II 5
ECS 183 ECE Practicum III 5
ECS 235 Issues & Trends 2
ECS 277 Professionalism & Ethics 2
ECS 292 Theories of Child Development 3
EDUC& 115 Child Development 5
EDUC& 130 Guiding Behavior 3
EDUC& 150 Child, Family and Community 3
  Subtotal Credits for Completion 88

Students Must Choose One of the Following Practicum IV Courses

Course # Course Name Credits
ECE 190 ECE Practicum IV Green 3
ECE 194 ECE Practicum IV The Emotionally Intelligent Child 3
ECE 198 ECE Practicum IV Working with Families 3
ECE 217 ECE Practicum IV Infant/Toddler 3
ECE 230 ECE Practicum IV School-Age 3
ECE 286 ECE Practicum IV Leadership 3
ECE 287 ECE Practicum IV Child Development 3
ECE 288 ECE Practicum IV Family Child Care 3
ECE 297 ECE Practicum IV Special Needs 3
  Subtotal Credits for Completion 91

Students must complete a minimum of 6 elective credits:

Course # Course Name Credits
ECE 102 Introduction to Apprenticeship 1
ECE 125 Just for the Fun of It: Preschool 1
ECE 126 Nature and the Outdoor Classroom 2
ECE 132 Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child 1
ECE 133 Emotionally Intelligent Parenting 1
ECE 135 School Age Math, Science and Technology 2
ECE 136 Raising a Physically and Nutritionally Intelligent Child 1
ECE 143 Just for the Green of It 1
ECE 156 From Seed to Table: Gardening with Children 2
ECE 157 Just Recycle It 1
ECED& 139 Administration of Early Learning Programs 3
ECS 149 ECE Curriculum — Health, Safety, Nutrition and Cooking Lab 4
ECS 202 Preschool Activities 2
ECS 206 Signing with Infant & Toddler 2
ECS 220 Curriculum for School Age 2
ECS 225 School Age Environment 2
ECS 260 Curriculum for Family Child Care 2
ECS 266 Leadership in ECE 4
ECS 290 Mentoring in ECE 1
ECS 295 Dap-Special Needs 2

PARA Electives (Can Be Taken for ECE Elective Credit)

Course # Course Name Credits
PARA 105 Intro to Education 5
PARA 124 Intro to Exceptional Children 5
PARA 133 Augmented & Alternative Communication 4
PARA 140 Strategies for Teaching Reading 4
PARA 201 Core Competencies Portfolio 5


Subtotal Technical Course Requirements 97
General Education Requirements (See Listing Above) 15
Total Credits for Completion of AAT Degree 112

AAS-T Program Requirements

Technical Course Requirements (Same as AAT) 97
General Education Requirements (See Listing Above) 20
Total Credits for Completion of AAS-T Degree 117
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