Early Childhood professionals work in a variety of settings and roles which provide quality services to young children and their families. Trained professionals in this field may be employed as teaching assistants, lead teachers, administrators, or family service personnel. They work in early care and educations programs, including preschools, Pre-K classes, Head Start, infant and toddler programs, and family-based child care. Early Childhood professionals may also be employed as family or social service providers, working directly with families to meet their ever-changing needs. Qualified individuals also serve as administrators of early care and education programs, or may choose to become child care entrepreneurs, operating their own child care businesses.
The Child Development program is designed to provide students with a theoretical knowledge base and practical experience which will enable them to work within the field of child development and/or transfer to a university. Students may earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Child Development, an Early Childhood Certificate, an Early Childhood Administrator's Certificate, and/or a Family Advocate Certificate. Students may also engage in training for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, as preparation for assessment by the National Council for Professional Recognition.
Basic practicum and field experience is required in certain Child Development courses within the program. Specific skills performed in the practicum setting vary according to skills, interests and course requirements.
Students taking the practicum courses must meet the requirements for licensed child care facilities as outlined in the Texas Minimum Standards:
1) High school diploma or equivalent
2) Pass a Department of Protective and Regulatory Services criminal background check.
The purpose of the background check is to determine that a person has no criminal or abuse and neglect history; and that his/her presence would not be a risk to the health or safety of children in care. Students who do not meet the above requirements should see a CDEC program advisor.
Degree and Certificate Offerings
Students may work to earn the following degree and/or certificate(s). Courses taken for certificates may also be applied toward an Associate’s degree.
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Child Development (A.A.S.) – 60 credit hours of coursework, designed to provide students with a theoretical knowledge base and practical experience which will enable them to work within the field of child development. Four practicum courses provide opportunities for students to work “hands on” in early childhood programs (112 clock hours per course). Other child development courses also include field experience requirements (16 clock hours).
Early Childhood Certificate – 33 credit hours of coursework, designed primarily for those who wish to work as assistant caregivers. Basic skills such as positive communication, positive guidance, and development of the child from birth to eight years of age are emphasized.
Early Childhood Administrator’s Certificate – 32 credit hours of coursework, designed to prepare individuals to become program administrators and to assist those currently holding such positions to improve their skills. The curriculum emphasizes both program and business management skills needed for the implementation of quality programs for children.
Family Advocate Certificate – 46 credit hours of coursework, designed to prepare individuals to work with families and children in a Human Service capacity, and to assist those currently holding such positions. The curriculum emphasizes knowledge of child development birth through adolescence, early childhood education, and social work knowledge and skills through the Applied Rehabilitation Psychology Program.
Child Development Associate (CDA) Training – 9 credit hours of coursework, designed to prepare individuals for assessment by the National Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, D.C. The 3 preparation courses are offered online and may be taken in any order.