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Department: Education

Program Type: Education and Liberal Arts

Planning to Transfer? Learn more about the transfer process including the importance of choosing a major and transfer school.


Few occupations have as much direct impact on the lives of young people as that of an educator. If you want to make a difference daily, a career in teaching is a great choice.

Elgin Community College is a great place to start a career in education. You can fulfill all your general education requirements, earn an associate degree, and transfer to the college or university of your choice to complete a bachelor's degree, the minimum required to teach in public schools. General education courses at ECC are the same first- and second-year courses required at Northern Illinois University, Illinois State, University of Illinois, or anywhere else.

Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions.

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimates that careers as preschool teachers are projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Refer to Career Coach to learn about related professions and compensation. (Accessed May 16, 2023)

Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

Review the ECC catalog for details about the emergency services plan of study and course descriptions.

Associate of Applied Science

Vocational Certificate

Basic Certificate

Elementary Education

We offer relevant K-12 Teacher Preparation and Certification coursework for Illinois students who aspire to become licensed elementary teachers. 

ECC offers 12 courses in education, most of which are intended as electives for transferring only. Our pre-student teaching clinical is ideal for hands-on experiences in local schools and allows students to complete 30 to 50 hours of the 100 hours of classroom observation required for student teaching.

Qualifications and preparation for work in education vary by state and university. For best results, decide early in your academic planning the college or university where you will transfer to finish your undergraduate degree and the state where you want to work. The Illinois State Board of Education provides detailed information on various teaching certifications for teaching in-state.

NIU 2+2 Program

Upon earning an approved associate degree at ECC, elementary education students can continue to complete their bachelor's degree with Northern Illinois University on the ECC campus through a 2+2 partnership. The Program offers a B.S.Ed. Elementary Education with Bilingual/ESL Endorsement is designed to prepare educators to work with students in grades 1 through 6. Learn more about the program highlights and requirements

Education—Early Childhood

Early childhood educators (ECE) teach and nurture young children during one of the most important periods in human development—infancy to school age. Patient and empathetic ECEs help toddlers blossom into curious, confident, and well-adjusted children. If you have an enthusiastic passion for children and want to make a difference in each child's life, explore early childhood education at Elgin Community College.

ECC's Early Childhood Education program will prepare you for employment as a childcare worker or director. The department establishes a high standard of professionalism in the childcare field through knowledgeable and experienced instructors. As a student, you will benefit from experiential learning through observation at the college's Early Childhood Lab School, an on-site childcare center for ECC students and employees, with the potential to gain hands-on experience. In addition to the appropriate certificate or degree, students in the career program will receive the appropriate Gateways to Opportunity Credential.

Take advantage of a free introductory course.

Did you know that Early Childhood Education is a part of the Early Transitions Bridge program? These programs prepare you to work as childcare workers or directors by offering an Introduction to Education - Early Childhood course to help you move forward if you're interested. Learn more about the Early Childhood Education Bridges program.

Learn more about Education Training at ECC!

Earning an Associate Degree at Elgin Community College can set your career in motion.

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