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Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (suspended at this time)

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program prepares candidates to obtain the professional educator licensure (PEL) with the early childhood education endorsement (eligible to teach children up to second grade, the preschool special education approval (eligible to teach children with disabilities and special needs in pre-kindergarten) and the English as a Second Language or Bilingual Education Endorsement. Additionally, candidates who meet the PEL requirements will automatically be eligible to receive the Gateways to Opportunity Level 5 Early Childhood Education credential. The ECE program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Gateways to Opportunity.

Delivery Method

The Early Childhood Education program at the University Center is currently suspended. We welcome your interest in NIU’s program and you can find more information by clicking the link: Early Childhood Education (B.S.) - NIU - Department of Special and Early Education.   To learn more about the prerequisites and recommended courses for the bachelor’s degree with NIU,  please access the program guide at


The program may be offered in a hybrid format of online, interactive video, and face-to-face instruction. Students will have scheduled clinical practice, asynchronous online learning, independent study, and project work to be conducted outside of class. Individuals progress through the program with a cohort of students, completing the same courses together, in the same sequence.

Admission Requirements

To view the admissions criteria for this degree, please click on this link for more information: https://www.cedu.niu.edu/seed/undergraduate-programs/bachelor-early-childhood.shtml 

Transfer Policy

Students must complete the four semester professional sequence via NIU. Those transferring with an AA, AS, or AAT degree will transfer in with junior status. The Office of Admissions offers individualized advisement on the transfer policies and procedures, which can be accessed at: https://www.niu.edu/admissions/path/transfer/

Special Characteristics

All students in the program complete a common sequence of requirements. The program offering at UCLC is contingent upon sufficient enrollment for a cohort of students. Coursework focuses on preschool and early elementary pedagogy, assessment, play development, behavior management, as well as teaching children with disabilities and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Clinical experiences include placement in a preschool or kindergarten program, an elementary school, and two eight-week sessions of student teaching in preschool or kindergarten and elementary classrooms.

As part of educator licensure, candidates are required to pass the Illinois Licensure Testing System examinations as required by ISBE. Prior to student teaching, candidates must earn a passing score on the content area test (Early Childhood Education). During student teaching,

candidates must earn a passing score on the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) to receive a recommendation for licensure.

The clinical experiences within the ECE program provides for an inclusive, engaging and supportive environment with children of diverse backgrounds. For example, through the “Open Doors” program, candidates teach first- and second-graders at the Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood, Illinois, on how to identify their visions for their lives and how to achieve their goals.


Careers with an early childhood education license include preschool teacher, elementary school teacher through third-grade (in Illinois), child care administrator or director, family services worker, parent educator, resource and referral specialist, family child care provider, and intervention specialist.