Early Childhood Education Career Pathway Certificate

Investing in Children

The early years shape a life. Research in child development has demonstrated that during the years from birth through 6 years old, important growth occurs in all domains, including social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and physical development. The early childhood educator – whether a teacher, family or child care provider – plays a critical role in fostering children’s development and investing in their future.

In OCCC’s Early Childhood Education program, we offer you the skills you need to succeed in the world of early childhood development, early childhood education centers, preschool programming, infant and toddler care, and family child care programs. Employment opportunities may include teaching assistant, child care aide, lead teacher, family child care provider and program director.

Program Overview

OCCC offers a Career Pathway's Certificate in early childhood education for those interested in working with children and families.  

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program prepares teachers and home care providers of young children, ages birth through five, to plan environments, develop suitable learning experiences, and work closely with families in childhood care and education contexts. They also supervise play and physical needs of small children, organize daily activities, keep records of children’s progress, and confer with parents. Early education graduates may also work in related fields such as child care resource and referral.

Academic Prerequisites

Placement into RD 115 and WR 115.

Program Outcomes

• Employ their understanding of and relationships with children and families and their understanding of developmentally and culturally effective approaches to teaching and learning to implement and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for all young children (critical thinking & problem solving; communication; cultural awareness)

• Identify themselves as collaborative learners who demonstrate reflective perspectives on their work, making decisions that integrate knowledge from professional sources. (Self reflection; communication)

• Know and use professional standards related to early childhood practice. (professional competence)

• Use observation and documentation, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence children’s development and learning. (professional competence, communication)

• Use their understanding of the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities to create respectful reciprocal relationships that support and involve all families in their children’s development and learning. (cultural awareness; self reflection)


1.    At least 6 credits must be earned at OCCC, all of which must apply to the certificate requirements.
2.    The final 6 credits that apply to the certificate must be earned at OCCC; the department chair may waive this requirement if the student can demonstrate currency in the field.

Early Childhood Education Career Pathway Certificate

Minimum 36 credits. Students must meet all certificate requirements.

While in the program, students must:

  • Receive a grade of "C " or better in every required early education class in order to receive a certificate or degree
  • Meet practicum competencies for the certificate and degree.


Practicum (student teaching) is a required component of the program. Practicum allows students to develop skills in working with children in a group setting using developmentally appropriate methods.

Before students can begin practicum, they must submit documentation of registration with Oregon’s Criminal History Registry, of measles immunization, and of a current Food Handler’s Card. All required forms are available from the program office (HT 318) and the Child Development Center.

Students are advised to begin gathering this documentation early (well before practicum begins). Students who have not submitted the required documentation to their practicum instructor may not begin practicum.

Additional Information

Prospective students should note that a completed not-for-credit credential (the CDA: Child Development Associate and the Oregon Registry Step 7) may apply to the Early Childhood Education program and the student’s transcript for program credit. Please speak with a program advisor for more details.


Students with a valid CPR card may receive non-traditional credit.


Students must enroll in practicum seminar each term they take practicum.

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