Early Childhood Education

Guide the little ones

Humans are naturally curious from birth. That curiosity needs both guardrails (literal and figurative) and encouragement. Whether in a childcare facility or a classroom, educators create uplifting happy environments while promoting growth and development.

This takes a special kind of leader. With your renewable strengths of empathy and patience, you are that leader for the little ones.

Why study Early Childhood Education with us?

Gateways to Opportunity logoGet your Level 4 Infant-Toddler and Early Childhood credentials with our Early Childhood Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree! The program includes the components, benchmarks and practical experiences required for the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity. You also may earn the Level 1 Illinois Director credential. 

The benefit of starting your education at CLC is you learn the same material studied at 4-year schools while receiving the personal attention and feedback possible only in small class sizes. Your credits easily transfer to a 4-year institution in Illinois so you can complete your bachelor's degree with cost-savings.

Your instructors know you by name—not by number. At CLC, the instructors are teachers first. They dedicate their careers to helping you learn and understand the significance of early childhood education to the way we live.


  • Illinois Gateways to Opportunity

    Coursework is aligned with state-recognized requirements. 
  • Stackable Credentials

    Earn and learn as you go with stackable credentials.
  • Financial Aid/Scholarships Available

    Based on need and/or achievement. Explore ways to pay for college.
  • Career Certificate

    Earn a career certificate in 1 year or less to refine your skills into an in-demand career.
  • Career Degree

    Earn an associate degree in 2 years and gain in-demand technical and job-ready skills.
  • Transfer Degree

    Save on your first 2 years and transfer your credits to the 4-year school of your choice.

Degrees & Certificates

For students planning to transfer to a 4-year college or university for a bachelor’s degree.

These programs are built around general education classes that lead to an associate degree designed to transfer to a 4-year school. CLC participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) to ensure that approved courses will transfer to other participating colleges and universities. Transfer degrees typically take 2 years* to complete.

*Assumes full-time enrollment.

For students who want to start or shift to a new career or advance in their current career.

You can earn an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree at CLC in 2 years*. Gain job-ready skills from experienced instructors and earn work-based experience from apprenticeships and internships. Some of the courses you’ll take earn college credit, which can transfer to a 4-year college or university toward a bachelor’s degree.

*Assumes full-time enrollment.

For students who want to earn job skills for entry level occupations, or level up in their career.

Certificates are designed to be completed in less than 2 years. Many certificate programs contain Career Degree core courses so you can continue with additional study or stack certificates to earn an A.A.S. degree.

Need help?

Your College & Career Navigator (CCN) is your "go-to person" ready to help you get started at CLC.

Your CCN guides you through the admission process, helps you choose your academic program, enroll in classes and connect you with resources.

Talk to a CCN

Early Childhood Level 3

Illinois Gateways to Opportunity Credential
Career Certificate

*Cost is estimated based on recommended pathway credit hours. This includes in-district tuition and other fees, such as books and materials before financial aid is applied, as well as grants, loans or scholarships. There are many opportunities for financial assistance at CLC. Learn more about Cost of Attendance.

Courses in the program

Build your foundation with early childhood education courses. Then, mix in some concentration electives that match your interests and goals.

Meet our instructors

Experience the benefit of small class sizes and personalized instruction from your CLC instructors.

Take the next step...

Be debt-free at CLC

CLC has some of the lowest tuition around. Financial aid and scholarships are available—even for working adults.

Explore careers

Discover majors and career paths to complement and extend your intuitive interests and abilities.

Request info

Your education is a big investment of your time, money and attention. Gather all the info you need.

Get started

Start your application today—it’s free and easy to complete. When you’re ready, we’re ready to help you take the next step.