Early Childhood

A woman in the child development center reads a story book to small children.

Early Childhood

Subject Area: Liberal Arts and Transfer

Award: Diploma

Minimum Credits: 31

Location: Calmar, Peosta

Entry: Fall, Spring, Summer


Child care centers, preschools, kindergartens and child development centers offer many possibilities for employment due to the increasing recognition of the importance of early childhood training. Graduates of the Early Childhood program primarily function as assistants, teachers or directors of child care centers and preschools. Students receive preparation in the guidance and supervision of children in such activities as outdoor play, dramatic play, art, music, literature and language, science and math, health activities and field trips. Students will also develop a basic understanding of the principles of child development, safety procedures, assessment and evaluation diagnosis, communication skills and nutritional needs. Graduates will have employment opportunities nationwide.

Admissions Requirements
  1. Apply for admission.
  2. Submit official high school, high school equivalency and/or college transcripts to the Admissions Office of the campus you plan to attend.
  3. Complete ACCUPLACER® reading and writing assessment. Testing may be waived based on previous college coursework or submission of valid ACT®, ACT Compass® or ALEKS® test scores. Scores are valid for three years.

Prior to the Early Childhood field experience, students will be required to complete a criminal record/child and adult abuse registry check, a physical exam and up-to-date immunizations. Satisfactory physical and mental health is required.

All students enrolled in this program may be required to complete a drug screen prior to entrance into Field Experience placement with a field site. Random drug screens may also be conducted on students while enrolled in the program.

Note: A positive report on the criminal dependent adult abuse, child abuse background screening or drug screen may prevent you from being accepted
for Field Experience placement and completion of the program. All screening costs are the responsibility of the student.

A First Aid/CPR course that includes infant, child and adult CPR must be successfully completed prior to beginning ECE:920 and may be taken through NICC Business and Community Solutions.

Academic Requirements

View the printable Ed Plan.

Term 1
ECE:103 Intro to Early Childhood Education 3.0
ECE:133 Child Health, Nutrition, and Safety 3.0
ECE:158 Early Childhood Curriculum I 3.0
ECE:243 Early Childhood Guidance 3.0
ECE:343 Early Childhood Guidance Lab 1.0
SDV:179 The College Experience 3.0


Term 2
ECE:159 Early Childhood Curriculum II 3.0
ECE:221 Infant/Toddler Care and Education 3.0
ECE:359 ECE Curriculum II Lab 1.0
ECE:920 Field Experience/ECE 2.0
PSY:222 Child Psychology 3.0
* Communication Elective 3.0

This Diploma program requires a minimum of 30 credits (excluding Developmental courses). Three of these hours can include SDV:179 The College Experience. If The College Experience course is waived or transfers in for less than three credits, an elective is required.


Communication Electives: COM:723, ENG:105, ENG:106

Note: To graduate from this program, students must complete all required coursework with a "C-" grade or above and earn a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Students not receiving a minimum of a C- grade in the prerequisite courses for ECE:920 will not be allowed into Field Experience.

A First Aid/CPR course that includes infant, child and adult CPR must be successfully completed prior to beginning ECE:920 and may be taken through NICC Business and Community Solutions.

Employment Information

With an annual income range of $16,800 - $30,491 and a projected growth of 9.6%, the career outlook for Early Childhood graduates is growing.

Source: EMSI; Salary range represents 10th percentile - median annual wage for related occupations in the NICC district. Growth rate based on projections from 2016-2020.

View Gainful Employment information for this program.

Employers of NICC Alumni

Early Learners, Dubuque, IA
Finley Daycare, Dubuque, IA
Frog Hollow, Dubuque, IA
Grandview Intergenerational Center, Dubuque, IA
Grandview Preschool, Dubuque, IA
Hippity Hop Preschool, West Union, IA
Kessel Kids Child Care Center, Cresco, IA
Kid Project, Dyserville, IA
Kinderwood, Edgewood, IA
Little Husky Learning Center, Oelwein, IA
Little Rascals, Dubuque, IA
Mercy Child Development Center, Dubuque, IA
Montessori School, Cedar Falls, IA
NICAA Head Start, East Dubuque, IL
NICC Child Development Center, Peosta, IA
Northeast Iowa Community Action, Decorah and Oelwein, IA
South Winneshiek Elementary/Middle School, Ossian, IA
St. Joe's Early Childhood Center, Key West, IA
St. Joseph's the Worker Early Childhood, Dubuque, IA
St. Joseph's Daycare, Earlville, IA
Waukon Elementary, Waukon, IA
West Union Elementary, West Union, IA
YMCA, Dubuque, IA

Sample Job Titles

Assistant Teacher
Center Manager
Head Start Center Manager
Para. Co-teacher
Teacher/Family Service Worker
Teaching Assistant

For additional job titles, visit O-Net.

Transfer Information

The Early Childhood program currently has transfer agreements in place with the institution(s) listed below. Students are encouraged to speak with their transfer college or university to verify that their planned courses at NICC will meet necessary requirements. Learn more about transferring from NICC.


Nicole Jansen
Early Childhood Instructor
800.728.2256, ext. 470

Julee Albers, M.S.
Early Childhood Instructor
800.728.7367, ext. 309