Skip navigation

Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Studies

early-childhood-banner

Envision yourself making a difference in the lives of young children in your community and their families? COE's Early Childhood Studies program prepares you to obtain the State of Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with Early Childhood Education Endorsement (teach children from birth through Grade 2 in Illinois public schools) and Early Childhood Special Education approval (teach children with disabilities from 3 through 6 years of age in Illinois public schools).

You will participate in projects, field experiences and assignments that mirror the work of early childhood educators across the entire birth-to-Grade 2 continuum. NIU’s high-quality program is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

In addition, you are eligible for the Early Care and Education (ECE) Credential (Level 5 – bachelor’s degree) as well as the Infant Toddler Credential (Level 5 – bachelor’s degree) upon graduation. These credentials are necessary for employment in early care and education settings that have sought or are seeking accreditation with the State of Illinois’ Quality Rating and Improvement System called ExceleRate.

What will I study?

NIU’s interdisciplinary Early Childhood major prepares graduates for a successful career working with young children and their families. Pre-service teachers participate in projects, field experiences and assignments that mirror the work of early childhood teachers. NIU’s high-quality program is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education. It is designed to prepare learners for Illinois State Teaching licensure, and taught by specialists in child development and early childhood education.

Concentrations/Minors

Included in the program are classes that are required to earn the Illinois Preschool Special Education Approval, and many students extend their education by earning an endorsement to teach English as a Second Language.

What are some interesting classes I might take?

  • Play Development of the Young Child
  • Democracy in the Early Childhood Classroom
  • Working with and Supporting Families of Young Children with Disabilities and Special Needs

What hands-on learning opportunities are available?

  • The College of Education offers the Educate program, giving students a classroom immersion experience locally, in the U.S., or globally.
  • Students also have the opportunity to work with experienced teachers in classrooms with students of a variety of age and grade levels.

What can I do with this degree?

  • Preschool Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher (Pre-K – 3rd grade)
  • Child Care Administrator/Director
  • Family Services Worker
  • Parent Educator
  • Resource and Referral Specialist
  • Intervention Specialists

    Preschool Teacher Occupational Outlook

Most graduates work in the public schools as teachers in preschool through 3rd-grade classrooms. Some have moved into administrative positions, direct programs in private or community-based settings, or work in home-based parent education programs.

What's the next step?

Request more information or apply!