Early Childhood Studies

Why choose NPC?

Northland Pioneer College has some of the state’s most highly regarded courses, certificates and degrees in the early childhood development field as well as one of the lowest tuition rates of any community college in Arizona.

NPC's early childhood development programs of study can lead to a national Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement. NPC's programs follow the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ which is based on a core set of competency standards that guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children.

  • In Arizona, K-3 teachers are now required to have birth to 8-years-old educator/caregiver experience.

 “Once you get into the field, you never want to leave! Your interest becomes more intense the longer you work with kids.”
– Claude Endfield, ECD Program Coordinator

Degree/Certificate Options

For those NOT planning to transfer to a university or four-year college the following degrees/ certificates are available. (See right side of page for university transfer degrees.)

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree
64 credits
Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)
32 - 41 credits depending on area
  of specialization
Certificate of Proficiency (CP)
16 - 26 credits depending on area of study

Areas of Specialization
  • Early Childhood Management
    (AAS, CAS)
  • Family Care (AAS, CAS, CP)
  • Infant/Toddler (AAS, CAS, CP)
  • Preschool (AAS, CAS, CP)
  • School Age (AAS, CAS, CP)

Why Study Early Childhood Development?

Love working with young children? Few educational fields are more important than those centered on the development and care of infants and young children. In Arizona, K-3 teachers are now required to have birth to 8-year-old early educator/caregiver experience.

If you enjoy working with young children, birth to 8-years-old, consider an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood (AAEC) transfer degree. You'll receive a foundational education that enhances good communication skills and provides wide general knowledge while completing the core early childhood courses leading to a CDA credential, the most widely-recognized credential in early childhood education. Many early childhood settings are now requiring workers to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood.

The AAEC degree is specifically designed for students planning to continue their education by transferring to one of the state's three ublic universities. The general education requirements fulfill the lower division requirements of the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A), transferring as a block to all three universities.

If you do not plan to attend a university, consider earning the two-year NPC Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. This degree offers six areas of emphasis to suit your goals. Certificates, shortened programs of instruction, are also available in this program.

These degree and certificates prepare you to assist preschool and/or primary school teachers as an aide, work for a Head Start® program or child care center, work in or operate your own preschool or develop your own family home provider business!

For those who work with, or are interested in working with, youngsters in residential settings such as boarding schools or group homes, NPC offers an AAS degree and several certificates in Residential Child/Youth Assistant.

Feel certain you want a career in the early childhood field, but haven’t yet decided on a specific educational path or career goal? An Associate of General Studies (AGS) degree may be ideal for you. The AGS degree provides you with the immediate credential you need to work in a wide variety of early childhood areas, not only in classrooms, but in counseling settings, clinics and other care provider facilities dealing with children.

Additionally, with the AGS, you earn the valuable benefit of being able to transfer this degree’s general education credits to any Arizona university or four-year college in the event you decide to continue your studies. (Note: not all of the general education requirements for the AGS are part of the AGEC-A. Check with your academic adviser to ensure your credits apply to your long-range educational goals.)

Career Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a steady growth rate for teacher assistants and child care workers in the coming decade. Salaries in northeastern Arizona for teacher assistants are around $21,780 for a nine-month school year.
Part-time child care workers earn salaries averaging nine to ten dollars per hour. In addition, a number of NPC students use their AGS associate degree as the foundation for eventual careers as social workers, counselors, speech therapists and special education teachers.

Online Course Options

ECD 233 | Developing Policies and Procedures for Early Childhood Programs
This is an "open entry/exit" Internet course, so you can register anytime during the semester and complete at your own pace (by end of current semester is recommended.)

University Transfer Options

Plan on continuing to a four-year college or university? Visit these other degree offerings:

Contact Us

Ms. Claude S. Endfield, Program Coordinator

Painted Desert Campus – Holbrook
Nizhoni Learning Center

(800) 266-7845, ext. 7335
(928) 524-7312