Early Childhood Education (B.S.)

Why Study Early Childhood Education at NIU?

Want to make a huge difference in the lives of children from birth through age eight? Our Early Childhood Education program prepares you to become that teacher who creates those first “light bulb moments.” You’ll graduate with the concepts, competencies and skills needed to provide care and education to young children in schools and other early childhood settings through third-grade. And you’re almost assured of acing the edTPA: 100% of undergraduates in spring 2019 passed the mandatory assessment required to obtain teacher licensure in Illinois and several other states. Our program in Early Childhood Education is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Careers with an Early Childhood Education Degree

With your early childhood education license, you can pursue careers such as:

  • Preschool teacher
  • Elementary school teacher through third-grade (in Illinois)
  • Child care administrator or director
  • Family services worker
  • Parent educator, in both private and community-based settings
  • Resource and Referral Specialist
  • Family Child Care Provider
  • Intervention Specialist

Learn more about the Preschool Teacher Occupational Outlook.

Early Childhood Education Faculty

We provide an inclusive, engaging and supportive environment that inspires excellence. Our faculty prepare students to succeed and lead in their careers and communities through programs grounded in engaged learning experiences. Our innovative and effective instruction addresses the changing educational and professional needs of our students. Early Childhood Education faculty research includes teaching mathematics to young children, the use of technology with young children, matching children’s needs to evidence-based interventions and the assessment and use of supports to expand access to (and success in) inclusive settings across the lifespan for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Hands-on Learning Opportunities

Before you graduate, you’ll enjoy more than 500 hours of direct experiences, including preclinical placements in Illinois prekindergarten programs and elementary schools as well as two, eight-week sessions of student-teaching in Illinois.

For unparalleled exposure to the classroom, check out our “Educate and Engage” series: Our Educate Local, Educate U.S. and Educate Global programs transport students throughout the northern Illinois region, across the country and around the world to observe, learn, teach and participate. In Educate Local’s Open Doors, for example, you can apply what you have learned while we support your transition from student to professional. Early Childhood Education majors who participate in Open Doors travel to Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood, where they help first- and second-graders to identify their visions for their lives and to draw the roadmaps of the steps necessary to achieve them.

If you’re passionate about advocating for the needs and rights of young children, join the Northern Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children to network with professionals in the field who share that desire.

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