Gain the skills you need to start helping promote a positive environment for young children and their families. A Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) can help you lay the foundation for a career fostering healthy development in as few as 15 months.1 With a schedule designed for working adults, you can combine traditional online coursework and self-directed assessments for a more affordable way to receive credit for what you already know.
Our ECE programs do not prepare students for licensed teaching positions in any public school setting, but students will have the opportunity to help shape the futures of young children from birth to age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting or leadership role.
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Apply for the CDA
This program's ECE courses are aligned to the standards of the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Students will be academically prepared during their courses to apply for the CDA credential.
Advance Your Education
Rasmussen University’s ladder curriculum allows you to easily transfer your credits toward an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Upon receiving your Associate's degree, you can transfer those credits toward an ECE Bachelor’s degree.
Pursue Potential Job Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the yearly projected job growth potential between 2019 and 2029 for Childcare Workers is 2%.2 Enhanced skills and knowledge from Rasmussen University can help set you up for success in this growing field.
Choose between two specializations—Special Needs and Child Development—to develop your skills in your particular area of interest. Both paths emphasize working with diverse families and dual language development while also exploring unique aspects of early childhood education.
Child Development Foundations
Utilize your knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice as it relates to child development, individual needs and using interpersonal skills and communication within the early childhood education setting or program.
Promote Safe Educational Environments
Implement strategies for health policies, controlling disease, establishing proper nutrition and responding to children's special health concerns.
Techniques for Exceptional Children
Special Needs Specialization
Create an inclusive environment for exceptional learners, including children with diagnosed and undiagnosed special needs and English Language Learners, and bring together fellow caregivers, educators and family members critical to supporting the child.
Active Parent Education and Support
Child Development Specialization
Use your knowledge and skills to help families manage resources through various problem-solving methods.
- EEC 2401
- 4 Credits
- Special Needs Specialization
- EEC 2271
- 4 Credits
- Child Development Specialization
- EEC 2213
- 4 Credits
Dynamics of the Family
Focuses on the dynamics of the family and the family’s influence on the growth and development of children. The history of family systems, child rearing and parenting styles will be discussed. Explores the issues that families of today face.
Curriculum and Instruction for Children with Special Needs
Explores how to adapt developmentally appropriate curriculum to support the development of children with special needs. Studies strategies for effective partnering with other professionals and parents to ensure the achievement of developmental goals.
Language and Literacy Acquisition
Examines how infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged English Language Learners acquire language and literacy. Studies early childhood programs that support children’s home languages and explores how to create an environment that sustains English Language Learners.
18 Courses to Complete
70 Credit Hours
Additional Ways to Save
While we aim to reduce your tuition through our own scholarships, military tuition grants, credit transfer policies, and other ways to help you save on your education—we encourage you to seek outside scholarships as well.
You can also receive course waivers if you have earned specific professional credentials:
Florida Child Care Professionals Credential (FCCPC)
Florida Early Childhood Professional Credential (ECPC)
Florida Child Care Apprenticeship Credential (CCAC)
Wisconsin Infant and Toddler Credential
Wisconsin Preschool Credential
Wisconsin Administration Credential
Wisconsin Leadership Credential
AIM4Excellence Director Credential
CDA Credential awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition
For more information, please view the School of Education Waivers from the course waiver section in the course catalog.
MN T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship ProgramT.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees.
WI T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship ProgramT.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN provides higher education scholarships to professionals who work in regulated early childhood and school-age care settings.
FL T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship ProgramT.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® FLORIDA provides scholarships for early childhood teachers and facility/family home directors to work toward earning an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in early childhood education, a Florida Staff Credential, a Director Credential, a National CDA Assessment or credential renewals.
IL Gateways Scholarship Program
The Gateways Scholarship Program will pay a portion of tuition for eligible professionals working in early care and education or school-age programs who want to earn college credit, credentials or degrees.
As an entitled institution, Rasmussen University has aligned coursework to the IL Gateways Credentials. More information on the IL Gateways Credentials can be found here.
There's no application fee and you can get started sooner with 8 start dates throughout the year.
Entrance requirements at the Rasmussen University School of Education vary depending on the program. We do not require enrolling students to submit standardized test scores; however, every entrant must have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.
We believe in giving credit where it’s due. Prospective students can transfer credits and receive course waivers in this ECE program. For example, if you already have your CDA credential, you may be eligible to transfer up to 12 credits toward your certificate. Talk to an admissions advisor today or explore our Transfer Policy page to review our seamless credit policies designed to maximize credits, potentially save money and expedite graduation.
Help Paying for College
Higher education should be a manageable investment. Talk to an admissions advisor and learn how these programs can make it more affordable with self-directed assessments, credit for prior learning, loans and grants, scholarship opportunities, and corporate and military discounts for those who qualify.
- Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed July 7, 2021] www.bls.gov/ooh/. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement. Employment conditions in your area may vary.