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preschool age girl with raised arm
Certificate Program

Early Childhood Education: Associate Teacher

The youngest minds teach us the most

Establish Candidacy View Individual Courses

Certificate Description

Note: We've recently revised our ECE certificate programs.

Teach our youngest to love learning.

Preschool teachers and child care center operators in the Early Childhood Education Associate Teacher program gain the academic preparation and field experience needed to work in preschools, day care facilities, infant and toddler centers and other programs serving young children. You will study the latest instructional techniques that promote intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth in children.

Key focus areas

  • Child growth and development
  • Strategies for effective classroom teaching
  • Developmentally based curriculum
  • Current research and trends in this field

ECE Associate Teacher Learning Outcomes

  • Develop daily schedules and implement age-appropriate curriculum for a center or classroom.
  • Identify social, intellectual, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of infants through middle childhood.
  • Distinguish differences in major learning theories and curriculum models relating to early childhood education center philosophies.
  • Communicate effectively with families, staff, and communities about the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs of children.
  • Decode healthcare policies and procedures that relate to child care setting licensure.
  • Develop positive guidance strategies to work with diverse groups of children including those with special needs.

Estimated Cost (You pay only for courses you enroll in): $2,975, includes certificate fee. | International Tuition Cost
Required Credits: Total Required: 5 courses (20 units)
Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 6–12 months.


Course Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Required Course(s):
ECE 1: Development in Early Childhood 4.0
ECE 2: Introduction to Teaching Young Children 3.0 Fall TBD
ECE 3: Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Programs 4.0
ECE 4: The Young Child in the Family and Community 4.0
ECE 8: Child Health, Safety and Nutrition 5.0
2. Completion Review:
Early Childhood Education Associate Teacher Certificate Completion Fee None
3. Related Course(s): These Courses Are Not Part of The Certificate Program
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the Classroom 3.0
ECE: Brain Development in Early Childhood 3.0
ECE: Creative Arts for the Young Child (Preschool Through Grade 3) 3.0
ECE: Infant/Toddler Growth and Development 3.0
ECE: Principles of Infant/Toddler Caregiving 3.0
Math Development in Young Children 2.0
Science Play: Inquiry-Based Learning Made Easy 1.0

Certificate Inquiry Form

Contact Us
Speak to a student services representative.

Call (408) 861-3860

Envelope extension@ucsc.edu

Professional Development

Child Development Permit

Here's what you need to apply for the Child Development Associate Teacher Permit:

  • Coursework completion of coursework.
  • Complete 50 days of experience in an instructional capacity in a child care and development program, working at least three hours per day.
  • Instructional experience needs to have occurred in the last two years.

Please visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for more information.

Licensure and Certification Policy

Professional licensure or certification is mandatory to practice in this field of instruction.

Please see our Licensure and Certification Policy to learn more.

Requisite Knowledge

There are no requirements to join the program.

Advisory Board


MELISSA LE, B.A, Multi-Subject Teaching Credential (MSTC), has more than 23 years of experience working with infants, preschoolers, and children in K-6 classrooms. She has worked in public and private school settings and examined a variety of learning programs such as Challenger, Montessori, High Scope, and college-run preschools including De Anza College, San Jose State University, and Stanford University. As a K-6, afterschool program supervisor, she developed lesson plans and curriculum to meet the needs of diverse populations and students with special needs. Le has extensive experience mentoring emerging teachers in the SJSU and Stanford student-teacher programs, as well as beginning teachers completing their two-year BTSA programs. Her expertise is in identifying the needs of her students, both children, and adults, and helping them reach their full potential. She currently serves as chair of the Early Childhood Education Associate Certificate Program for UCSC Extension.

Establish Candidacy

Establish candidacy in a certificate or specialization

Once you create your student account, you can establish candidacy in a certificate or specialization program any time during your studies.

The benefits of enrolling early
  • Lock in your certificate requirements.This means that even if program requirements change, the requirements to complete your certificate will remain the same for you
  • Receive program updates
  • Set your intention
  • It’s free

To complete a program, you must enroll in the certificate program before enrolling in the Certificate Completion Review.

You have five years to complete all necessary courses in a certificate program or three years to finish up a specialization program.

All the necessary units in a certificate must be completed within this window.* The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2017, you would have to complete all of the required units in this certificate by Sept. 4, 2022.


Enrolling in a certificate program does not trigger the beginning of the five-year window. It begins the first day of the first course that applies to a certificate program. The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the five-year timeframe.

For more information: How do I get my certificate or specialization?

* Students participating in a special program, such as workforce, international, Personal Financial Planning, or curriculum partner programs (Udacity, Microfacturing Institutes) may have a shorter completion requirement.

Establish Candidacy

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C- or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.

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