Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Earn your degree and impact future generations

Prepare for a variety of careers working with children. The OCC Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is versatile. Choose an option that fits your goals.

Earn a certificate of achievement to meet state licensing requirements. Complete an associate's degree to prepare for your dream career. Continue your education at a four-year university. It's up to you.

Our program satisfies requirements for Michigan licensing, offering many career opportunities ranging from directors, lead teachers and assistant teachers. We align with the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

An In-Demand Career with Good Pay

There are many 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
  • Child Care Resource and Referral agency staff

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

Job Market Outlook

Igniting your Passion for Teaching

The ECE program follows research-based and state-approved HighScope curriculum. The HighScope Curriculum is a comprehensive approach to early childhood education that focuses on active learning and child development. It is designed to help children develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in school and in life.

Experience-based Early Childhood Education

We believe that active learning is not just for young children but adult learners too. We will prepare you to become a highly qualified educator ready to enter the field. Experienced-based activities include:

  • Group work
  • Hands-on activities
  • Fieldwork and Internships
T.E.A.C.H. offers scholarships specifically for ECE students that could cover your tuition and books. For more information, visit the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship program.
Did you know?

Earn your CDA Credential along the way

Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is nationally recognized for early childhood educators. Completing an ECE certificate program includes the required training for the credential application. These courses also count towards your associate degree in early childhood education.

Continue your Educational Journey

We have articulation agreements with the following colleges and universities to make sure you can transfer with ease, while saving money.

  • Rochester Christian University
  • University of Michigan-Dearborn

Explore our certificate and degree options

We have customized degrees designed to achieve your career and educational goals. Find the path for you:

Early Childhood Education Associate Degree

This program prepares you to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program and satisfies Michigan state requirements for licensing as directors or lead teachers in child care centers, home-based center providers, early education support staff in public schools, and head start agencies.

Meet State Licensing requirements with a Certificate of Achievement

All certificate offerings are the same program, except for one class specific to that certificate. You can acquire multiple certificates by taking one or more additional classes and applying the credits to the ECE associate degree.

These certificate programs meet the state licensing requirements for the following careers: 

Lead Infant & Toddler Teacher

Specialize curriculum will allow you to meet the State of Michigan Child Care Licensing requirements for a lead infant and toddler teacher. This certificate meets infant/toddler development and care practices.

Lead Preschool Teacher

Acquire the training hours and education that is required for a Preschool CDA through the Council of Professional Recognition. You will earn credits specifically centered on leading a preschool classroom.

School-Aged Teacher Site Supervisor

This certificate provides you with the training hours and curriculum that is required for a MiYDA credential through the State of Michigan.  You will also meet the State of Michigan Child Care Licensing training requirements for School-age teachers and/or Site Supervisors.

Early Childhood Education Administrator

This certificate meets the State of Michigan Child Care Licensing required training if you are an ECE Director with a degree in an outside field. Courses are specifically centered on directing an early childhood education program.

Hear from OCC grad 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 Christian 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

Faculty brings real-world experience to the classroom

We have actively worked in the early childhood education field, for over 20 years. Our experience allows you to connect complex theories to real-life practice in a variety of capacities:

  • Early and Head Start Programs
  • Private Child Care Centers
  • State ECE Programs
  • Public Schools
  • Early Childhood Specialist-Coaching-Mentoring
  • Special Education
  • Administration/Directors
  • Professional Development Presenters
  • Advocacy
  • Licensing

Program Requirements

  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
  5. Additional requirements may be needed by employers to satisfy State of Michigan Child Care Licensing Rules.

Get Started Today!

Ready to begin your studies? Get started now:

  • Apply to OCC. If you’re not already an OCC student, create a profile and complete our online application.
  • On the application select the degree program ‘Early Childhood Education’.
  • Existing OCC students can update their academic program using the Student Update Information Request form.