Early Childhood Education
Teach young children and their families!
Are you looking for a program that will prepare you to teach young children and their families? Our Early Childhood Education-Unified program leads to a state of Iowa license that will allow you to teach children from birth through third grade, in both general and special education. This ECE-Unified program prepares you to help all children reach their potential, regardless of their abilities.
In the ISU program:
Did you know that children’s early experiences affect their whole lives? Teachers are key people who give children positive experiences to help them grow and develop to their best. Our program will prepare motivated and dedicated people to become early childhood teachers who will be certified to teach young children from birth through grade 3, including certification in special education. Graduates of the program are well prepared to help all students (even those who are at-risk for learning problems, have disabilities, or who are English learners).
Learning in courses AND applied settings
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program combines learning in courses and applied settings to obtain all the skills you need to teach children birth to age 3, preschool (ages 3-5) and kindergarten to grade 3. When you join our program you will:
Best combination of ISU faculty expertise
The ECE program is unique because it is an interdepartmental major – meaning it is administered across two departments in the College of Human Sciences: Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and School of Education (SOE). This allows students to work with faculty who have expertise in the ages, grades, and curricula that will better prepare graduates to work with children and their families, as well as with other professionals.
A degree in ECE enables students to get two teaching endorsements to teach in public schools in the state of Iowa:
In addition, students are eligible to get additional teaching endorsements (many students obtain endorsements for reading K-8 and coaching). For more information about teacher education at Iowa State University, go to the School of Education.
ISU Child Development Laboratory School
The program includes an exemplary child care center housed here on campus, the ISU Child Development Laboratory School.
You will be involved in a clinical experience with the Lab School starting in your first semester to learn about pre-primary education, observing from specially designed observation rooms. Later, in other classes, you will be interacting with the children during learning and play activities. You will be supervised and given lots of feedback and support to improve your interactions with young children and teaching staff.
To learn about primary education, you will participate in practicum experiences related to specific content methods courses in area school classrooms from kindergarten through third grade. These experiences will be supervised and will include observation, opportunities to teach large and small group lessons, and teaching one-on-one with a specific child. To ensure everyone’s safety, all students complete an Iowa criminal background check before participating in any clinical experience.
At ISU, you will be prepared to help all children reach their utmost potential, regardless of their abilities. You will receive more practical experience in classrooms than students at many other universities. You will also participate in more classes and experiences that will prepare you to work with children who have special needs.
For current and recent syllabus examples go to the Class Websites page and choose Human Development and Family Studies or Curriculum and Instruction.
The Human Development and Family Studies scholarship page includes an online application form and list of scholarships. The online form is available from November through February each year.
The School of Education site also has information on teacher education scholarships and loan forgiveness programs.
What types of jobs can I get with an Early Childhood Education degree?
Most students who major in ECE will become teachers in schools – either at the preschool or primary (kindergarten - grade 3) levels. Graduates can immediately apply for a State of Iowa teaching license. Some graduates are interested in working in early intervention programs (birth to age 3), with Area Education Agencies in Iowa. Other graduates are interested in working as teachers in other settings or other types of programs.
Possible career options for ECE graduates:
Is it easy to get a job after graduating?
There are many new opportunities for jobs – even in difficult times. Most of our graduates get jobs in public schools.
The state of Iowa has started many new pre-kindergarten programs offered in collaboration between public schools and community organizations for children who are four to five years of age; as a result, many schools are hiring new teachers for these positions. Graduates from ISU with an ECE degree are very well prepared to fill these positions, and principals often remark that they like hiring ISU ECE teachers because they are well prepared to individualize for children at various learning levels.
In addition, PK-K Early Childhood Special Education is an area identified as having a shortage of teachers. Teachers in shortage areas may be eligible for college student forgivable loans through both state and federal programs. (More information at: Iowa Student Loan and Iowa Department of Education.)
How much money can I make with this degree?
Graduates with ECE degrees who work in public schools earn the same salaries as other teachers. In 2009-10, the minimum starting salary for teachers in the state of Iowa was $28,000 (some school districts pay more than this amount).
View Early Childhood Education student internship experiences at Career Connections.
Why should I attend ISU to get my ECE degree, rather than some other college or university?
Iowa State University has a number of advantages for students, including:
Volunteer or work with children and families, for example, at childcare centers, respite care services, community service agencies, and church/religious programs.
ISU chapters of professional organizations:
Licensure information is available on the School of Education website.
Students gain practical experiences in a number of classes. School age experiences take place in area elementary schools; early childhood experiences that are part of Human Development and Family Studies classes take place in the five-star rated ISU Child Development Laboratory School.
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