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
  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application and $30 Application Fee
    • 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

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 www.speedtest.net. 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 http://products.office.com/en-us/student
  • 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 (tsa@swtc.edu, 608.822.2464)
  • 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:

    • Owner/Operator of family or group childcare centers.
    • Director/Manager of family or group childcare centers.
    • Preschool Teacher in a preschool setting licensed by the department of health and family services.
    • Head Start Lead Teacher
    • Autism Therapy Assistant
    • Paraprofessional in an Elementary School
    • Child Care Teacher in a licensed center.
    • Exceptional Needs Aide in special education programs.
    • In-Home Provider/Nanny.
    • Head Start Lead Teacher
    • Autism Therapy Assistant Paraprofessional in an Elementary School
    • May transfer completed ECE associate degree to some universities.

    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 or to request Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

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

    Course # Course Title Challenge Exam
    (Demonstration)
    Challenge Exam
    (Standard)
    CLEP Credential Portfolio
    10-307-148ECE: Foundations of ECEYes
    Professional Preschool Credential
    10-307-151ECE: Infant & Toddler DevYes
    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
    10-801-195Written CommunicationYes
    College Composition CLEP test would also be accepted for credit. However, the challenge exam is the preferred method.
    10-801-196Oral/Interpersonal CommunicationYes
    10-804-123Math with Business ApplicationsYes
    10-809-198Intro to PsychologyYes
    CLEP Test - Introduction to Psychology