Early Childhood (A.A.S.)

Early Childhood Associate Degree - naeyc accredited logo
The Early Childhood program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The Early Childhood degree presents you with a broad understanding of the psychological, emotional, intellectual and developmental needs of children.

The program emphasizes direct work with children in various early childhood education settings. You will spend one day a week during your first year and two days a week during your second year placed in student teaching. These field experiences take place under the supervision of a college faculty member.

The program provides each student with the opportunity to explore the foundations of education and child development in a culturally sensitive, inclusive and interactive environment.

Coursework and training prepare graduates for work in an early childhood education setting or for transfer to a four-year program. Strong and long-standing transfer agreements are in place with several local colleges that offer bachelor's degree program.

This program is offered by the Teacher Preparation Department.

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Program Highlights

  • Students engage in field experience within a school or childcare agency each term in urban, rural, and suburban settings with traditional, high risk and special needs children. Three hundred hours of student teaching field experiences are offered in the Early Childhood courses.
  • The Early Childhood program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
  • The program works collaboratively with Head Start centers around the Capital Region to help teachers and classroom staff earn the credential they need, right at their place of employment.
  • Individuals who already work in an early childhood classroom or registered day care setting may have a funding source to pay for part or all of their tuition. The state's Child Care Educational Incentive Program, which is funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, provides tuition reimbursement up to $2,000 annually based on student income.
  • About 70 percent of the program’s graduates continue their studies by transferring to other colleges.

Scholarships Available Scholarships available.

Career and Transfer Opportunities

This degree qualifies graduates for jobs in public and private agencies, and at schools that serve young children.

Some of the employment opportunities open to graduates of the Early Childhood program are reflected in the jobs currently held by program graduates. These jobs include: day care and nursery school teachers, who interact with young children and manage the staff and resources of childcare facilities; teaching assistants and substitute teachers in public and private schools and preschools, who work as members of a childcare and/or educational team; staff employees in hospital pediatric wards or in developmental facilities that provide specialized child care.

Recent employers have included: Greenbush Child Caring; Little Feet Daycare Center; Little Friend Daycare; Mercy Cares for Kids; Noah's Ark Preschool; North Albany YMCA Daycare Center; North Country Academy Daycare; Parkside Preschool; Robert C. Parker School; Samaritan-Rensselaer Children's Center; The Goddard School of Worthington; Toddler-Time Daycare and Learning Center; Trinity Worship Daycare; Tutor Time Child Care; Unity Sunshine; Unity Sunshine Daycare Center; Viking Daycare; Washington County Head Start; Wee Day Care Center; and Woodland Hill Montessori School.

Salaries vary based on position and degree attainment. Here are median salaries taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of 2015): Childcare Worker, $20,320; Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, $45,670; Preschool Teachers, $28,570.

The Center for Careers and Transfer offers Career Services and Transfer Services to all students.

For more information regarding this program, please contact:

Antoinette Howard
Department Chair
Teacher Preparation Department
Higbee Hall, Room 109
(518) 629-7250

Note: Employers looking to hire students from this program should contact the Center for Careers and Transfer.

For more information about admission to this program, please contact:

Admissions Office
Guenther Enrollment Services Center, Room 223
(518) 629-7309