Early Childhood Studies, A.A.S.

Academic Programs

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Degree, Certificate or Diploma


Council Bluffs Campus

Program Information

Few careers can give you as much pleasure as teaching the very young, and the Early Childhood Studies program can prepare you for this field. This program gives you a chance to immediately work in an on-campus childcare facility. Students get field experience and practicum in numerous early childhood settings while earning an Associate of Applied Science degree.

The interaction of students and children in Iowa Western's childcare facility is an invaluable teaching tool that helps these future teachers understand how children interact with others, and how they react to the world around them. After two years, graduates can go right into preschools, family childcare homes, and Head Start programs.

If you want a higher-paying position, you can transfer to a four-year institution to work toward a bachelor’s degree. Iowa Western graduates often enter preschool environments or start their own childcare facilities. They’re comfortable in both arenas because of the many hours of interacting with children.   

Students who complete this AAS degree will have earned an Early Child Development certificate and an Early Childhood Studies diploma by completion.

Job Outlook

1,473 Jobs (2020)

+12.2% Change from 2020-2025

Data is from the Omaha Metropolitans Area, and the seven counties in Southwest Iowa that Iowa Western serves

What will you do

This program is designed for students intending to enter the workforce upon completion of this two-year degree. This program prepares students to become lead teachers and child specialists in preschools, family child care homes, and Head Start programs. Careers in the field of early childhood care and education are plentiful. In fact, employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Continued emphasis on early childhood education is increasing the demand for preschool teachers. Some states are instituting programs to improve early childhood education, such as offering full day and universal preschool. These programs, along with projected higher enrollment growth for preschool age children, will create new jobs for preschool teachers.


  • Entry: $14.04
  • Average: $20.78
  • Experienced: $36.13

Career Examples

  • Teacher Assistants
  • Child Care Teachers
  • Lead Teachers
  • Early Childhood Special Education Teachers
  • Educators
  • Preschool Teachers
  • Toddler Teachers
  • Child Care Assistants

First Semester

ECE 244 - Early Childhood Guidance with Lab 4.0 Credit(s)
ECE 103 - Introduction to Early Childhood Education 3.0 Credit(s)
ECE 170 - Child Growth and Development 3.0 Credit(s)
ECE 153 - Early Childhood Curriculum I with Lab 4.0 Credit(s)
SPC 122 - Interpersonal Communication 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 17.0 Credits

Second Semester

ECE 120 - Communication with Families 2.0 Credit(s)
ECE 156 - Early Childhood Curriculum II with Lab 4.0 Credit(s)
ECE 221 - Infant/Toddler Care and Education 3.0 Credit(s)
ECE 133 - Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition 3.0 Credit(s)
ENG 105 - Composition I 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 15.0 Credits

Third Semester

EDU 235 - Children’s Literature 3.0 Credit(s)
ECE 287 - Exceptional Learner 3.0 Credit(s)
ECE 268 - Early Childhood Field Experience 4.0 Credit(s)
ECE 290 - Early Childhood Program Administration 3.0 Credit(s)
MAT 711 - Business and Financial Mathematics 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 16.0 Credits

Fourth Semester

ECE 258 - Early Childhood Field Practicum 6.0 Credit(s)
MGT 195 - Workplace Empowerment 3.0 Credit(s)
REL 101 - Survey of World Religions 3.0 Credit(s)
SOC 120 - Marriage and Family 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 15.0 Credits

Total Semester Hours Required: 63.0


Additional Information

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Program Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the program students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the early childhood profession.
  • Identify developmental characteristics of children.
  • Create a developmentally appropriate curriculum that advances all areas of children’s development and learning.
  • Demonstrate a safe, healthy learning environment.
  • Apply a variety of strategies to encourage children’s social, physical and emotional development.
  • Demonstrate positive and productive relationships with families, colleagues and other professionals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills to ensure a well-run, purposeful program, responsive to participant needs.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of career related issues in our society.
  • Describe and demonstrate the development and learning of individual children, recognizing that children develop in a context of culture, language and ability diversity.

Program Disclaimers

  • Salary information from EMSI Analyst Database