Early Childhood Education Certificate

Program Statement

This certificate program prepares students with the necessary skills to enter the field as a qualified entry-level professional ready to work with preschoolers in various environments, including child care programs, early learning centers, and family child care.

Program Information

  • Students are required to take 9 courses for a total of 26 credits. Program courses include topics in child development, observation and assessment, curriculum, and health and safety. Students are also required to complete English 101.
  • All Early Childhood students must achieve grades of “C-” or better in all subject courses with an ECE designation.
  • Courses address the knowledge and competencies required for Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care teacher qualifications for preschool-age children (2.9- 5 year-old). Students should access the Department of Early Education and Care website for specific teaching qualifications.
  • Students should take any required developmental course in their first semester along with EDU 101 College Success Seminar for Education.
  • Students will apply respectful care and educational principles tailored for preschool children (2.9-5 years old).
  • Through a supervised practicum placement in a licensed preschool setting, students will demonstrate their grasp of these principles and their ability to provide high-quality education and respectful care.
  • All courses may be applied to an Associate in Science Early Childhood Education, or Associate in Science General Studies - Educational Studies.

After Bristol

  • Graduates of this certificate have gone on to teach in private child care programs and family child care
  • Upon completion of the certificate, students meet the qualification standards for teacher according to the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

Special Requirements for the Program

  • Students must take ECE 251 Teaching Practicum I and Seminar I which requires students to teach in a local child care setting. Practicums will take place within a 40-50 mile radius of the Fall River campus and must be in Massachusetts.
  • In order to enroll in a teaching practicum and seminar, students must meet with the Department Chair the semester before enrollment to ensure that the student meets all prerequisites and requirements.
  • Students will be assigned to an early childhood education program, unless they are already working in a Massachusetts licensed child care program, in which case Bristol will make every effort to work with the student’s place of employment.
  • C.O.R.I. (Criminal Offender Record Information) and S.O.R.I. (Sexual Offender Registry Information) background checks are required prior to clinical placement and are conducted in accordance with State regulations by both Bristol Community College and early child care agencies/elementary schools. Students may be required to complete fingerprinting and would be financially responsible for any costs associated with fingerprinting.
  • Students that plan to complete a practicum must have a physical examination, Hepatitis B immunization, other immunizations as required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and must have a tuberculosis test each year.
  • Transportation to fieldwork sites is the responsibility of the student. Students should be prepared to travel up to an hour from campus for these assignments.
  •  During this program, which requires practicum experience, Early Childhood students should be aware that young children are physically very active. Students must be able to move quickly and have sufficient visual, hearing, comprehension, and communication skills to accurately monitor children in their care.
Total credits:

Course Sequencing


Academic Area

Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Degree Offered

Certificate of Achievement in Early Childhood Education

Program Code


Program Contact

Melissa Cardelli
Department Chair

Patricia Sherblom
Dean of Behavioral & Social Sciences and Education


CIP Code