Early Childhood Education

The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree prepares students for a rewarding career planning, implementing, and evaluating quality programs for young children. The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) builds upon the skills and knowledge developed in the AAS program and prepares students for leadership roles in Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Education workers help positively shape children's formative years to prepare them for successful futures. The Early Childhood Education program at LWTech follows the standards set for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Learn From Faculty and Mentors

Experienced instructors work with Early Childhood Education students, both inside and outside the classroom setting, as mentors assisting them in professional application of age-appropriate best practices. The program is designed for students who are interested in working with young children and their families. Early Childhood Education students at LWTech:

  • Learn theory, current research, and best practices
  • Obtain a solid foundation for all coursework in a supportive environment
  • Gain experience inside and outside a classroom setting
  • Develop a solid foundation for working in a variety of early learning settings

Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (BAS in ECE)

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (BAS in ECE) program prepares students to work in a variety of roles including early learning lead teacher, administrators, mentors/coaches, and community based ECE support professionals. The BAS curriculum includes advanced applications of ECE topics that will provide students with additional knowledge, skills, and practice. The curriculum is built off the foundational ECE prerequisite classes included in previous ECE associate degree coursework. Students will enhance their teaching skills, develop teaching strategies to promote equity and inclusion, and design early learning approaches for effectively working with diverse groups of young children and their families. The program includes a research-based emphasis on developmentally appropriate practice, language and literacy, STEM, creative expression, learning environments, curriculum design, collaborations to support children’s development, advocacy, program design, administration, and individualized instruction.

The BAS in ECE program is designed to provide a baccalaureate pathway for students who have completed an associate degree in Early Childhood Education or equivalent combination of completed college coursework that meets each of the BAS prerequisite course requirements and includes successful completion of 90 college credits. The program includes 90 credits of bachelor level coursework, which can be completed in 2 years (six quarters) of full-time coursework. The part-time option extends the program to about 2 ½ to 3 years.

Features of the BAS in ECE Program:

  • Offered in a fully remote hybrid format with synchronous video class times, and online coursework.
  • Video-based synchronous class sessions are scheduled in the evenings starting at 6:30 p.m. and/or Saturdays to meet the needs of working students.
  • Cohort model for peer support and connections
  • Advanced application of early childhood education theory and current research.
  • Prepares students for ECE lead teacher roles, program administration and design, mentoring, leadership roles and community based early childhood education work.
  • Emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in early learning settings.

BAS in ECE graduates can choose to continue their education pathway by enrolling in graduate programs at other colleges or universities related to ECE, child studies, human development, leadership in education, and Master in Teaching (MIT) with teacher certification/licensure options teach in public school Kindergarten to 8th grade settings.

Stackable Certificates and AAS Degree in Early Childhood Education

The Stackable Certificate/AAS program is designed to help Early Childhood Educators to prepare for working in early childhood classrooms in childcare centers or in family home childcare environments. These certificates meet Department of Children, Youth and Families educational requirements for specific early childhood positions in licensed childcare environments. Students may attend full or part-time. Students may enroll in the program in any quarter.

This program will prepare students for entry roles and management roles within the early childhood industry. Students will obtain a well-rounded understanding of fundamental information including, but not limited to, understanding minimum licensing requirements, child development, interactions and communication skills with children and families, creating and implementing early childhood curriculum, understanding guidance techniques, working with children’s behaviors, understanding philosophies of care in childcare environments and parenting styles, working with the community, conducting observations and assessing children’s growth, and management of facilities.

These courses help students to understand theory and practice application in childcare settings. Our courses are taught in the hyflex model. Students may choose to attend via Microsoft Teams or attend in person courses on campus. In this model, students meet synchronously so students online can interact with students in the live classroom. Assignments, reading requirements and other information are provided through our learning management system Canvas.

Additionally, the Early Childhood program works closely with the I-BEST department to offer I-BEST support in our Initial, Short General Certificate and 47 credit State Certificate which includes a second instructor in most classes and an extra support course in many cases. I-BEST instructors support students with improving skills and provide feedback on assignments prior to submitting work for official assessment.

The Stackable Certificate program is the first year of the AAS Early Childhood two-year degree program. Students completing the full two-year degree program will obtain six certificates plus the degree if they complete the program.

Our program includes practicum courses requiring field experience in a licensed childcare facility. Student working in a licensed childcare can complete this field experience in their place of employment. Students not currently working in a licensed facility may volunteer at our on campus childcare facility or another licensed facility of their choosing.

Students will be required to have a MERIT account, MERIT ID number, cleared portable background check including fingerprinting, copy of a clear TB Test or clear chest x-ray, copy of an acceptable official ID (WA license/ID/Learners permit or other acceptable ID) and meet other requirements of the childcare facility before volunteering. Students should have a placement and these requirements completed prior to registering for EDUC&120 (Nurturing Practicum).

Students who complete the AAS Degree may then matriculate into our BAS in Early Childhood Education program. Students who are transferring in a prior AAS or higher degree may be eligible to complete the 47 credit Certificate program and then transfer into the BAS program without completing the second year AAS courses.

Certificates Offered

Initial Certificate (12 credits)

  • Initial Certificate:ECED&105 (Intro to Early Childhood Education), ECED&120 (Nurturing Practicum), ECED&107 (Health, Safety, and Nutrition)

Short Certificate Specializations (20 credits – 12 for the Initial Certificate plus 8 for at least one of the Short Certificates): Student only need to complete EDUC&115 (Child Development) one time. Students may not apply for a Short Certificate until they have also completed the Initial Certificate Courses, however Short Certificate class may be completed first based on the quarter the student joins the program.

  • Short General Certificate: EDUC&115 (Child Development), EDUC&130 (Guiding Behavior)
  • Infant Toddler Certificate: EDUC&115 (Child Development), ECED&132 (Infant Toddler Care)
  • School Age Certificate OR Family Childcare Certificate: EDUC&115 (Child Development) and ECED&136 (School Age Care) or ECED&134 (Family Child Care)
  • Administration Certificate: EDUC&115 (Child Development) and ECED&139 (Administration)

47 Credit State Certificate: Completion of Initial, at least one Short Certificate Specialization and students must complete: EDUC&150 (Child, Family and Community), ECED&180 (Language and Literacy), ECED&190 (Observation and Assessment), ECED&160 (Curriculum), and ECED&170 (Environments) or EDUC&130 (Guiding Behavior). Students must also complete English&101 and Math&107 but may require several courses of each depending on enrollment assessment scores to meet this requirement.

AAS Early Childhood Degree: Requires completion of the 47 Credit State Certificate and the following courses: ECED 130 (Practicum II), ECED 200 (Practicum III), ECED 215 (Capstone Practicum), ECED&134 (Family Childcare) or ECED&136 (School Age Care), ECED&132 (Infant Toddler Certificate), ECED&139 (Administration), ECED&170 (Learning Environments), ECED 140 (Diversity), ECED 145 (Science, Math, Music and Creative Activities), EDUC&203 (Exceptional Child), CMST&210 (Interpersonal Communication), and SOC&101 (Introduction to Sociology) or PSYC&100.

Dual Language (Spanish/English) Cohort

Our Dual Language program supports Spanish speaking students in being able to obtain the Initial and Short General Certificates required by the Department of Children, Youth and Families while building English skills. This program runs in a cohort model. Cohorts begin each Spring quarter. Students may attend via Microsoft Teams or attend in person courses.

Each class includes information in English and Spanish and are taught by 2 Spanish speaking Instructors. All materials are also offered in both languages. Extra support is often available through a supplemental instructor available during most classes and throughout the week for the completion of assignments and building additional skills.

Students who complete the Initial and Short General Certificate may then complete the necessary steps to join our 47 Credit State Certificate courses in English with I-BEST support to continue forward and complete the AAS degree if desired.

Learn more about the BAS, AAS Degree, and Certificate Requirements

Career Opportunities

When you complete the Early Childhood Education program, you will be ready for employment in a wide range of settings. Graduates find employment in preschools, childcare facilities, Head Start programs, and family child care. The AAS degree and certificate coursework is designed to allow students to meet the requirements for various levels of entry into the field of early childhood education. BAS graduates may pursue careers in management as directors or program supervisors.

Additional Early Childhood Education Program Information

Admission to the applied bachelor's degree is competitive. See the below requirements for admissions information and requirements.

Entry into the Early Childhood Education program, requires completion of LWTech's online application, as well as the application to the BAS in Early Childhood Education.

BAS Prerequisites

If you have not already taken classes at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, you must fill out the online admissions application to receive a Student ID number and an LWTech issued email address.You will not be able to fill out the BAS application without completing this step.

To be considered for admission to the BAS ECE program, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. An earned associate degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution in Early Childhood Education or a closely related field
  2. General education courses, or the equivalent, with a 2.0 minimum GPA.
    1. 5 credits of college-level math (with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite) or higher
    2. 5 credits of college-level English (ENGL& 101 or equivalent)
    3. 5 credits of college-level Social Science
    4. 5 credits of college-level Humanities
  3. Technical courses, or the equivalent, with a 2.5 minimum GPA
    1. ECED& 105 Introduction to Early Childhood Education
    2. ECED& 107 Health, Safety, and Nutrition
    3. ECED& 120 Practicum: Nurturing Relationships
    4. ECED& 160 Curriculum Development
    5. ECED& 170 Environments
    6. ECED& 180 Language and Literacy Development
    7. ECED& 190 Observation and Assessment
    8. EDUC& 115 Child Development
    9. EDUC& 130 Guiding Behavior
    10. EDUC& 150 Child, Family, and Community
  4. Minimum cumulative GPA across all college coursework of 2.5

BAS Application

Early Childhood Education BAS Application

Entry into the Early Childhood Education program, AAS-T, and Certificates, requires completion of LWTech's online application.

Additional Admission Considerations

Not Sure Where to Start?

Talk to An Admission Coach Today!

BAS Information Sessions

Find out more about the new BAS in Early Childhood Education here at Lake Washington Institute of Technology! Sessions include information about:

  • Program overview
  • The application process
  • Scholarship opportunities


Please contact Shanti Connors for meeting link information.


Please contact Shanti Connors for meeting link information.

LWTech Information Sessions

Not sure what program you want to apply to? Check out LWTech's general information sessions and weekly tours by going to LWTech.edu/Visit.

Please contact Karin Navarro for more information about Early Achievers Scholarships. To meet the Early Achievers requirements you must:

  • Complete the application
  • Be a Washington state resident
  • Be employed at an Early Achievers Childcare Facility (10 hours/week; 40 hours/month; min. 3 months)
  • Plan to pursue an Early Childhood Education Certificate or AA degree

Get Started in Early Childhood Education Today!

Explore Careers and Paths in Early Childhood Education

To learn more about transferring to another college or university, please visit our Transferring from LWTech page.

Get Started at LWTech! You're Ready!