Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

The OCC Early Childhood Education (ECE) program provides training to effectively work with young children in a variety of areas. A degree in Early Childhood Education offers many career and transfer opportunities. We also offer four Certificates of Achievement in various areas of the ECE field. 

The program satisfies requirements for Michigan licensing as directors of child care centers, lead teachers in child care centers, home-based center providers, and assistant teachers in public school early childhood programs and Head Start agencies.

Our teaching approach and curriculum are based on the constructivism approach. We believe that active learning is not just for young children but also adult learners. Learning is experienced in the Early Childhood Education program - not just taught. 

The learning and program outcomes for the ECE program align with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. The ECE program teaches the research-based and state-approved HighScope curriculum. The strong ECE curriculum at OCC prepares students to become highly qualified educators ready to enter the field.

For more information, review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

There are many potential directions this degree can take you including, Child Care Center Director, Child Care Center teacher and aide, State-funded Preschool and Head Start teacher and aide, Home Child Care provider, Early Childhood Education Non-Profit agency staff, Community Program staff, Teacher Para-professional, Preschool teacher and aide, and Child Care Resource and Referral agency staff. The regional projected job outlook for Early Childhood Educators is positive and in high-demand.

For more information about ECE Careers check out the MiRegistry ECE Career Pathway and Michigan ECE Careers Directory.

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Eligibility Information

No prior experience is needed. Prospective students must meet standard OCC eligibility requirements - there is an open admissions policy, placement test and a new student orientation required in most cases. Students must meet with an OCC counselor before attempting this plan of study.

Entry into the program does not guarantee that you will be granted employment in the ECE field. Additional requirements may be needed by employers to satisfy State of Michigan Child Care Licensing Rules.  

Program Policies

  1. Many ECE courses are offered online. ECE courses are offered at various times. We also have Saturday (7 weeks) offerings. Attendance is required for all courses. There is an ECE-specific attendance policy.

  2. Students must earn a minimum of 2.0 in all ECE and supportive courses. Students planning to transfer to a bachelor's program should check the transfer guide for the institution they are transferring to for more information about transfer requirements.

  3. All required fieldwork and internship hours must be completed in an assigned setting.

  4. Students will need a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) – Central Registry Clearance and a State of Michigan Criminal History background check (ICHAT) or proof of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Clearance to complete fieldwork and internship hours. Additionally, students may be asked for other documents such as a TB test and a physical. 

Credentials Received

Program Plan

Certificates of Achievement

Program Plan

Early Childhood Education Scholarships

Along with OCC scholarships and financial aid, TEACH offers scholarships specifically for ECE students. Through the TEACH scholarship, you may be eligible for tuition, books, and study time. The TEACH scholarship is not based on family income. For more information about TEACH scholarships, visit Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Danae Cota "Attending OCC and graduating with my associate degree in Early childhood Education encouraged me to continue my education in the field. I decided to attend Rochester University to pursue a bachelor’s degree, which opened a lot of opportunities for me in the field of education as I was attending school. This also motivated me to pursue my master’s degree to help me seek a supervisory role to help teachers and families. Currently, I am attending Northern Michigan University pursuing a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had and I am looking forward to what will come next for me."  - Danae Cota