Harper College

Early Childhood Education

Start your career in early childhood education

Harper College offers several degree specializations and certificates to begin your career in early childhood education or add teaching credentials. Harper offers Early Childhood Education degrees with Teacher, Director and Infant/Toddler specializations, as well as numerous transfer options.

At Harper, you'll get hands-on experience through the Early Childhood Laboratory School, an onsite pre-school.

Harper instructors are highly credentialed and experienced educators who make classroom theory come alive through interactive experiences and teaching practices.

Earn a career-ready or transfer degree

The Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is designed to prepare you for immediate entry into this career field. This is one degree with different areas of specialization. Coursework in the A.A.S. will also prepare you to transfer to a four-year college or university. Speak with your advisor about the best courses to take to meet your academic goals.

Harper also offers institution-specific transfer information to help prepare you to transition to a four-year university. To learn more, visit our Transfer Information page or see your advisor.

Earn a workforce credential

Jumpstart your career by learning new skills through a certificate program. Many of Harper's certificates are stackable to a degree program through additional course work.

Flexible program options

ECE College Credit Available with Current CDA Credential

Providers with a current (i.e. not expired) Child Development Associate (CDA) Credentialâ„¢ could earn the following Early Childhood Education (ECE) credits at Harper College:

Preschool CDA: ECE 101 Introduction to ECE and ECE 149 ECE Special Topics

Infant/Toddler CDA: ECE 101 Introduction to ECE and ECE 149 ECE Special Topics

Family Childcare CDA: ECE 101 Introduction to ECE and ECE 140 Family Childcare Management

Follow these steps to pursue college credit for your CDA:

Step 1. Apply to the College. For an application fee waiver code, email ecestudent@harpercollege.edu

Step 2. Send a copy of your current CDA certificate to the ECE department at ecestudent@harpercollege.edu. Include your full name and contact information with email address. The state of Illinois limits one CDA per student.

Step 3. During the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, all fees are being paid for with grant funds.

(6 credit hours x $30 per credit hour = $180). No payment is needed.

Step 4. The ECE Faculty will review your submission to determine if credits have been earned. If you have successfully earned course credits, they will be posted to your permanent record as ungraded credit but will not show on your end of semester grade report.

Explore Early Childhood Education Careers

Learn more about career outcomes for Harper's Early Childhood Education degree/certificate programs. Each career profile offers a complete picture on the local job market, including salaries, open positions, top local employers and more. To learn more, visit our Early Childhood Education Careers page.


Student Support

To schedule an appointment with an ECE support staff member or to obtain more information, click on the links provided.

For any additional questions, please email ECEStudent@harpercollege.edu.

Early Childhood Education Program News

Get the latest news and updates from the Harper Early Childhood Education department.

ECACE ECE Students

With ECACE grant, Harper provides scholarships, resources for early childhood education students

As a member of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity, Harper College is removing barriers for childcare workers seeking to upskill their qualifications. Read More

Last Updated: 4/8/24