Programs And Courses

Social Science
Social Science

Early Care and Education - Associate in Applied Science (AAS) (5506)

Do you envision working with children for your career? Do you enjoy explaining concepts and nurturing young minds? Our Early Care and Education program can provide the foundation you need for a career in this rewarding field. After completing our program and earning your associate degree, you will be prepared to obtain a job caring for and educating children up to nine years in age in childcare centers or after- school programs. The Early Care and Education AAS and the Early Childhood-Elementary Education AA are accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 1401 H St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 232-8777. The accreditation term runs from July 2019 through July 2026. For more information on our program assessment data, View Education Program Data (pdf), Early Childcare Program Outcome Data (pdf).

Jump to career information below!

Our program prepares you to enter the workforce to care for and educate children from birth to nine years of age in childcare setting. Once you complete our program, you can pursue a career in a childcare or school-age care program as:

  • A family child care provider or aide
  • An assistant teacher

After graduating from our program, you can enter the workforce on level V of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) career framework (pdf). To pursue a Pennsylvania teaching certificate, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree first. Please see our Early Childhood-Elementary Education Program for more information about transfer options and pursuing a teaching certificate.

With additional hours of experience with children, you can advance to become a lead teacher, group supervisor or a center director.


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Our curriculum involves both field experiences and classroom observations through placement in one of many childcare centers. You must obtain the following clearance requirements, at your own expense, prior to enrolling into EDUC 111:

  • FBI Clearance
  • ACT 151: PA Child Abuse History Clearance
  • ACT 34: Request for Criminal Record Check - PA State Police
  • Tuberculosis Skin Test (TB test)

Please note that these clearances are to be updated each year. For more information on required clearances, please download the clearances required for education students (pdf) or contact our clearance and placement coordinator Jen Myers.

In conjunction with the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) standards, our professors will teach you how to:

  • Use the theories and principles of child development in order to promote healthy and challenging learning environments
  • Observe and assess children's development and document their learning in order to develop appropriate curriculum and promote positive outcomes for each child
  • Use content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum
  • Use effective strategies to implement developmentally-appropriate teaching and learning
  • Support and involve families and communities in their children's development and learning
  • Practice the national standards for professionalism and ethics, as well as participate in continuous professional growth
  • Use legal and ethical standards to locate professional literature in print and/or electronic format in order to make research-based decisions that inform teaching practices
  • Prepare and maintain an electronic portfolio that documents personal growth, as well as scholastic professional achievement, throughout the course of the teacher preparation program from entry-point class to job search
  • Appreciate accomplishments in the arts and sciences

For more information on our program assessment data, View Program Outcome Data here! (pdf)


  • View summaries of every course at HACC by browsing our class schedules database.
  • Review our program guide (pdf) to view a list of required courses, recommended course sequencing and program competencies.

Yes! Although our program is designed to lead you directly into the workforce, there are transfer opportunities should you wish to continue your education by pursuing your bachelor’s degree. Our programs are flexible enough to transfer to a wide variety of colleges and universities with no loss of credit. However, each individual college has its own unique program. We encourage you to select a four-year school as soon as possible so that you may be aware of the transfer college’s program requirements in order for you to take the proper courses at HACC. As an Early Care and Education program student, you are eligible to transfer to:

Wilkes University: A.A.S. Early Care & Educ. Degree to Wilkes Elem. & Early Childhood (PreK-4) BA (pdf)

For your convenience, you can complete the entire program at all of our HACC campuses through various modalities (e.g., on-campus/in-person instruction, hybrid, synchronous remote instruction and/or asynchronous instruction).

Yes! We offer many scholarships through the HACC Foundation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility requirements. To learn how to apply, please visit

You can complete spring, summer and fall classes at HACC. Submit your application anytime by visiting our website. When you submit your application, make sure to include the specific program code 5506. By using this code, you will ensure you are applying for the correct program. 



Future students, we are excited to connect with you and answer your questions. Please choose the option that works best for you to meet with us.

Current HACC students, please contact our Advising Department with any questions.

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“Once I decided to put myself first and apply to HACC, doors have been opening and I would not change my decision for the world.”