Early Childhood Education Technical Certificate

Early Childhood Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Early Childhood Education?  Early Childhood Education is an educational specialty designed to prepare individuals to work with children in various settings from birth through third grade and their families. 

What is the difference between Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education (the AST degree from Columbia State)? 

The Elementary Education program prepares students to teach children from kindergarten through fifth grade.  It does not include the pre-k programs in the public schools.  The methodology differs in Elementary Education because teachers use direct instruction, rote learning activities, some hands-on, child centered learning.  The Elementary Education program (AST degree) at Columbia State is designed to transfer to a University program.  Students MUST have at least a 2.75 grade point average, Pass the Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests  or have an ACT score of 22 or above, and have disposition forms completed in order to graduate from Columbia State and apply to a University to continue to the B.S. degree.  The Elementary Education program currently has a 2 + 2 agreement with M.T.S.U. which will provide classes at Columbia State for M.T.S.U. Junior students.  Senior year of the B.S. program is spent student teaching/learning at an approved site and having additional classes.  Teachers following the AST route usually will work in public school programs.  

Early Childhood Education is designed for individuals wanting to work with children from birth through third grade.  It focuses on the child as the learner and individualized developmentally appropriate activities to support the children's domains.  Most individuals working in day care facilities have a minimal National C.D.A. which is explained under "Early Childhood Education Certificate" on this web site.  Teachers in public schools are required to have the B.S. in Early Childhood Education as well as passing the Core Academic Skills Tests for Educators (or ACT Composite score of 22 or above) and pass the Early Childhood Education Examinations to be certified to teach.  Teachers wanting to be public school aides or some private school teachers must have the A.S. General Transfer, Early Childhood Education Degree.  The B.S. in Early Childhood Education and certification are required for teaching in public school pre-kindergarten through third grade classrooms.  The B.S. is required to teach in Head Start programs.  The Early Childhood Education A.S. degree does not require passing the Core Academic Skills Test for Educators or having dispositions before graduation with the two-year degree.  Students may graduate with the two year degree with a grade point average of 2.0.  Students wanting to move forward to the B.S. degree at a University must have at least a 2.75 grade point average.

What are the Core Academic Skills Tests?

The Core Academic Skills Tests will determine knowledge in reading, writing, and math.  A student may have an ACT Composite Score of 22 or above in lieu of the initial Core Exams.   There are also specific subject assessment knowledge exams that are required for certification with the B.S. degrees.  These subject assessments are taken as the student is in the Junior and Senior year levels at a University (like M.T.S.U.)

Can I teach pre-kindergarten in the public schools with the C.D.A. or the A.S. two-year degree? 
No.  A teacher must have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and have passed the certification exams if they wish to teach at any level through third grade in the public schools.

I have other questions about the programs or need help in the application process.  What should I do? 
Contact the director of Early Childhood Education through e-mail if possible (mwarren@columbiastate.edu) or phone 931.540.2858.  The director usually is not in office from mid-May through mid-August.  E-mails are usually answered during this time.  

Is there dual enrollment available if I am still in high school? 
Yes, if the student qualifies for enrollment.  It is recommended that the Safe, Healthy, Learning Environments (ECED 2010) be the best choice for enrollment.  It is not recommended that students take Practicum 1 (ECED 2130) for dual enrollment.  The high school should have articulation agreements specifying information regarding dual enrollment.  

Is there any financial aid available to help me with tuition or/and books?
Check with Financial Aid Office to determine what grants may be available for you.  There currently is a grant called TECTA (Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance) that provides assistance for the certificate courses IF the student is currently employed in child-care licensed through Department of Human Services AND had taken the free TECTA orientation course.  TECTA also supplies the text books for the certificate courses on loan for the semester.  TECTA may also assist on a per-case basis for a course per semester for students interested in the A.S. degree.

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