The Child Development program provides two options for students wishing to pursue a career working with young children from birth to age eight, both typically and atypically developing. Students can complete courses for an Associate's degree, which prepares for transfer to a four-year college or university and entry-level career opportunities. Students who do not intend to transfer may opt to pursue courses that prepare them to apply for a Child Development Associate Credential, a non-degree national credential.
The Child Development Associate program is designed to meet the requirements of students transferring to four-year institutions in Child Development or Early Childhood Education. Students who earn an Associate's degree in Child Development are qualified to seek entry-level career opportunities in early care and education, preschool, Head Start, and teaching in some private education programs serving children and families from birth to age 8, both typically and atypically developing.
Further study leading to a baccalaureate degree, especially those programs offering the Blended Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education component, affords career options in elementary education (K-3), special education, and other child-related fields. An Associate's degree meets the general core requirements at all Idaho public universities.
Course selection should be tailored to match requirements as defined by transfer institutions. To ensure appropriate courses are taken, those students intending to pursue the Blended Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education at Idaho transfer institutions should meet with an NIC Child Development advisor upon acceptance into the college.
Associate Credential Preparation Program
This program is intended for individuals preparing to work in early care and education settings and for those individuals already working in family child care or early childhood centers who wish to gain further knowledge and expertise in the field. The nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential is the minimum education standard required for employment in Head Start and accredited early childhood programs. Eighteen credits of coursework provide the theoretical and practical framework for establishing appropriate program practices for young children and families. After completing the courses and accompanying requirements, and with at least 480 documented hours of direct work with young children in an early childhood program, students will be ready to apply for the Child Development Associate Credential from the Council for Early Childhood Recognition.