The Early Childhood Education program teaches students to implement developmentally-appropriate activities for children aged infant through eight years old. A focus on maintaining a safe and healthy environment, building relationships with parents and staff, and guiding children's behavior is emphasized. With an on-campus daycare facility, students have the opportunity to put theory into practice before embarking on a rewarding career.

  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    If you are patient, creative, dependable, and have good communication skills, stimulating the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social growth of young children may be the rewarding career you are looking for.

    Students entering the Early Childhood Education program should:

    • Have a warm and pleasant personality.
    • Like working with children and adults.
    • Be self-directed and organized.
    • Have good management skills.

    Program Basics

    • Associate degree, requiring a minimum of two years to complete.
    • Day classes.
    • High school articulation and college transfer courses accepted.
    • Complete First Aid/CPR with AED for Infants/Children
    • Join The Registry of Wisconsin Early Care Professional Development
    • Complete Fieldprint Fingerprinting Check
    • Financial aid available.
    • Classes start in August.
    • Advanced standing for early childhood experience may be granted.

    Note: Students must provide their own transportation to and from a supervised participation site.

  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) 24-25

    Cost of Attendance (COA) is a total of all the usual expenses of being a student. The COA sets the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive.

    Category Amount
    Tuition and Fees $4,820
    Living Expenses (Housing and Food) $9,148
    Books and Supplies $1,466
    Personal Expenses $3,608
    Transportation $4,018
    Charger Tech 360 Fee $600
    Loan Fees $84
    Yearly Total (Living Away from Home) $23,744
    1 Semester Total (Living Away from Home) $11,872

    Based on Wisconsin Residents.

    Approximate school costs are for a full-time (12 credit) student over a semester span of 17 weeks.

    Fees are legislated by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

    These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session. Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech, Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809
    • Admissions Meeting: After applying and submitting transcripts, make an admissions meeting with the advisor by clicking "Make an appointment" in the Advisor block on this page.

    Program Requirements

    Requirements for Online Students

    Chromebooks are not compatible with some testing features within Schoology (our Learning Management System). Southwest Tech recommends not to use Chromebooks for classes.

    • Cable/broadband/DSL internet with a minimum speed of 1.5Mbps. You can test your local internet speed at Run this test from the location you will be working from.

      Higher bandwidth and speed will greatly assist you in your online learning environment, so where possible, a faster internet speed is recommended. Cable internet tend to be faster than DSL or 4G wireless, although DSL or 4G wireless may also work depending on other factors. Your computer, other software (such as anti spyware), other users on the system, and system configurations can all influence your ultimate line speed. Many instructors use videos as a part of their instruction, as well as synchronous meeting times (Skype, Adobe Connect, etc). Having an acceptable internet connection speed will be important to your success.

    • Convenient access to a computer that has one of the following current versions of Internet Browsers:
      • Microsoft Internet Explorer
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Google Chrome
      • Safari
      Call 608.822.2302 for verification of other browsers.
    • An active e-mail account (all Southwest Tech students are issued a free email account)
    • Word processing software (Microsoft Word is the recommended word processing software at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College). Free Microsoft Office software is available to all Southwest Tech students at
    • Availability of 10-15 hours per week for each 3-credit course
    • Self-motivation and self-discipline

    Additional Practicum Requirements

    • Security swipe card $5.00 (will get money back when the card is returned).
    • Program Name Tag $3.00.
    • Complete First Aid/CPR with AED for Infants/Children
    • Join The Registry of Wisconsin Early Care Professional Development
    • Complete Fieldprint Fingerprinting Check

    Graduation Requirement

    • CPR/First Aid is a graduation requirement for all students.

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Good language, math, reading, and keyboarding skills.
    • Family and consumer education courses in high school.

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.
  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be able to:

    • Apply child development theory to practice
    • Cultivate Relationships with children, family and the community
    • Assess child growth and development
    • Use best practices in teaching and learning
    • Demonstrate professionalism
    • Integrate health, safety and nutrition practices

    Technical Skill Attainment (TSA)

    This TSA scoring guide will be used to document your attainment of technical program outcomes for the Early Childhood Education Degree. To meet the requirements on the scoring guide, you will be asked to draw upon the skills and concepts that have been developed throughout the program and are necessary for successful employment in your field. Results will be used to inspire continual improvement of teaching and learning in Wisconsin Technical College System. In addition, this assessment will provide feedback to you about your performance.

    If you are unable to access documents here, please contact Technical Skill Attainment Team (, 608.822.2464)

    Licensure Information

    The Early Childhood program is designed to lead to a license for The Registry Level 12 in Wisconsin. More licensure information can be found on the Program Accreditations and Licensure page.

  • Career Pathways
  • Career Pathways

    Career Pathways offer new ways to achieve your education goals. Instead of studying just one program, the Career Pathways model links related academic programs in a sequence. Each program offers direct job preparation AND a path to the next higher academic program

  • Career Opportunities
  • Employment in the childcare industry will grow well into the future. Potential jobs may include:

    • Child Care Teachers Work in full-day and part-day child care programs, nursery schools, and Head Start programs.
    • Child Care Assistant Teachers Work under the supervision of a childcare teacher.
    • Family Child Care Providers Care for eight children or fewer in the provider's home.
    • Infant or Toddler Caregivers Care for children under two years of age.
    • In-home Providers/Nannies Provide care in the child's home.
    • Early Childhood Educational Paraprofessional Work in school district early childhood programs, and four-year-old kindergarten programs.
    • Sub Teacher or Paraprofessional Work in a school district setting as a licensed sub-teacher or teacher assistant.
    • Early Childhood Special Needs Paraprofessional Work in school district early childhood programs, and four-year-old kindergarten programs.
    • Directors/Administrators Are responsible for managing child care centers and planning and implementing programs.

    Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers
  • Prior Learning
  • Credit for Prior Learning

    Experience Pays! You've Been There... You've Done That... Let's See If You Can Get Credit For It!

    Credit for prior learning gives you opportunities to earn credit for college-level knowledge that you have already acquired. This may be the result of work or volunteer experiences, certifications, apprenticeships, military training, extensive self-instruction, or professional development. Credit for Prior Learning affords you the opportunity to accelerate the completion of your educational goals.

    For more information on Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

    At any time, you may Request Credit for Prior Learning.

    Early Childhood Education Courses that may have Credit for Prior Learning options:

    Course # Course Title
    Challenge Exam
    Challenge Exam
    10-307-148ECE: Foundations of ECEYes
    Professional Preschool Credential
    10-307-167ECE: Hlth Safety & NutritionYes
    Professional Preschool Credential
    10-307-179ECE: Child DevelopmentYes
    Professional Preschool Credential
    10-307-187ECE: Children w Diff AbilitiesYes
    10-307-188ECE: Guiding Child BehaviorYes
    10-307-195ECE: Family & Community RelYes
    10-801-136English Composition 1Yes
    CLEP Test - College Composition
    10-801-196Oral/Interpersonal CommunicationYes
    10-804-123Math with Business ApplicationsYes
    10-809-172Introduction to Diversity StudiesYes
    10-809-198Introduction to PsychologyYes
    CLEP Test - Introduction to Psychology