Early Childhood Education

Do you enjoy working with children?
Are you ready to make a positive difference in the lives of children?
Would you like to be an advocate for families?

Become an Early Childhood teacher, assistant teacher or family childcare provider!

Programs & Degrees

The AS degree in Early Childhood Education is designed to provide a strong foundation of knowledge and skills for students interested in transferring to earn a four year degree in the early childhood education field – such as an early childhood teacher, elementary teacher, or family childcare provider.

The AS degree in Early Childhood Education will be awarded for successful completion of the courses listed below. Completion of the AS degree at Itasca allows you to transfer directly into the Early Childhood program at Mayville State University, with partial fulfillment of liberal education requirements.

The prospects for employment in early childhood are excellent. According to a report by the Blandin Foundation, Itasca County was found to be short on quality childcare for working parents. The Blandin Foundation has been involved in supporting the Child Development Certificate and the AS degree program in early childhood education to fulfill these needs. The children in these settings will benefit from caregivers who understand child development and are specialists in early childhood education.

NOTE: Students enrolling in the Early Childhood Education AS degree program must be willing to obtain and pass a Criminal Background check.

The purpose of the program is to enhance the quality of childcare by defining, evaluating, and recognizing the competence of childcare providers. The program has been developed to address the six national competency goals and standards required for the National CDC. Candidates can receive their CDC in any of the following three areas: Center-Based Preschool Setting, Center-Based Infant/Toddler Setting, and Family Child Care Setting. Students will have the opportunity to gain work experience through an onsite practicum in area early childhood programs. This experience, along with coursework, will prepare students with a strong foundation for working with young children in the community.

The CDC certificate is geared to both nontraditional students actively engaged in professional work with early childhood as well as to students in any related discipline who wish to increase their employability by successfully acquiring the skills in early childhood education and child development.

Students are eligible for the National CDC with the completion of:

  • a resource file
  • observation and testing
  • an additional 360 early childhood classroom contact hours

NOTE: Students enrolling in the Early Childhood Education AS degree program must be willing to obtain and pass a Criminal Background check.

Additional Information

Program Highlights

  • Strong relationship with Early Childhood programs in the community
  • Variety of class delivery methods: face-to-face or hybrid (virtual classroom) option to participate remotely if you can't travel to campus.
  • Evening classes with virtual participation option offered to accommodate employment and practicum opportunities.
  • Small class sizes
  • Learning community

​On-Site Teaching Experience

As part of the Early Childhood Program, you will be involved in a professional experience through an on-site teaching practicum. Opportunities are also available for you to earn income while gaining credit and experience through these practicums. This experience can be included on your resume, and quite often, these opportunities lead to employment for our students.

Employment Opportunities

The prospects for employment in early childhood are excellent. Itasca County has been the recipient of a large Blandin Foundation grant for an Early Childhood Collaborative Initiative since 2005 (Invest Early). This grant has greatly increased the opportunities for employment in the early childhood field in our area. The Early Childhood program at ICC has been a partner with Invest Early since 2005.

Itasca County has also recently been chosen (2012) as one of four sites in Minnesota to receive Race to the Top grant funding for Early Childhood. Learn more about Race to the Top on the MPR website.

Read about recent graduates from the Early Childhood program getting jobs in this newspaper article from the Herald Review.

Contact our Program Coordinator

Workforce Development Scholarships
$2500 to 10 students in Early Childhood & Nursing at Itasca

Scholarship Application - April 1 Deadline

Next year, Itasca will award ten $2500 Workforce Development Scholarships to students in the Early Childhood Education A.S. and Practical Nursing programs. These scholarships are funded by the Minnesota Legislature to meet critical workforce needs in key areas.

Preference will be given to recent high school graduates, but all applicants are encouraged to apply.

T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTAT.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA, a project of Child Care Aware of Minnesota, is a scholarship program intended to help early childhood and school-age care professionals increase their levels of education, compensation and commitment to the field. T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) has a history of helping Minnesota child care professionals earn college credits, degrees and credentials.


Benefits vary depending on scholarship type, but for most scholarship recipients, T.E.A.C.H. covers the majority of tuition and textbook purchases while also providing a travel stipend and paid release time. After increasing their education, T.E.A.C.H. recipients often see their wages, opportunities and professional recognition grow.

Join our facebook group

Videos & Media