The Career Pathway Certificate of Completion: Childhood Education and Family Studies (30 credits) is intended to provide students with the skills needed to begin a career in childhood education and family studies. This certificate can also assist the student in earning a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Students enroll in this program for a variety of reasons including upgrading skills and knowledge, obtaining a degree or retraining for a new profession. The credits earned can lead into a Certificate of Completion Childhood Education and Family Studies, an AAS Childhood Education and Family Studies, or an AS with an emphasis in Childhood Education and Family Studies which will transfer to a university. All courses are offered online.

Click here to lean how this Career Pathway Certificate can lead to an AAS Childhood Education and Family Studies.

Entry Requirements

Students are required to complete the College's placement process to determine skill level and readiness in math, reading and writing. As part of their training program, students must begin with the courses within their skill level as determined by the placement process.

All Childhood Education and Family Studies students are required to obtain a valid first aid and CPR card, a Food Handlers Card, and complete HDFS9284 Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting as components of ECE 170 Health & Safety in Early Childhood Education.  Students will also be required to have a current immunization record and background check to complete practicum requirements. The requirements will vary per state. Students are encouraged to research the requirements for the state regulating organization regarding what will be required to complete the background check. 

In Oregon, students must be listed on the Oregon Central Background Registry (CBR).  To begin this process, visit the State of Oregon Early Learning Division to be prepared to complete practicum work in a certified early learning center, apply for a background check, and receive additional information regarding how to comply with fingerprinting requirements.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better. All courses must be passed with a grade of ‘C’ or better. Practicum and student teaching courses require students to pass CLASS assessments to successfully complete the courses. One course must be completed at Southwestern for this certificate to be awarded.

Courses that are developmental in nature, designed to prepare students for college transfer courses, are not applicable to this degree.

Complete the graduation application process one term prior to the term of completion (e.g., spring term graduates must apply during winter term).

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning options are available for students with a Preschool Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, an Infant Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, a Step Seven on the Oregon Registry, or a Certificate of Completion for First Connections that includes mentoring in an infant toddler learning environment.  Contact for more information.

Program Guide

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
ECE150 Introduction and Observation ECE 1 3
ECE151 Guidance and Classroom Management 1 3
ED169 Overview of Student Special Needs 3
HDFS225 Prenatal Infant and Toddler Dev 3
ECE154 Children's Language and Lit Dev 3
ECE209 Theory and Practicum I 2 3
HDFS247 Preschool Child Development 3
ECE102 Theory and Practicum II 2 3
ECE240 Lesson and Curriculum Planning 3
ED258 Multicultural Education 3
 Total Credits30

ECE150 Introduction and Observation ECE and ECE151 Guidance and Classroom Management must be taken concurrently.  A criminal history check is required for each of these courses.


ECE209 Theory and Practicum I and ECE102 Theory and Practicum II must be taken in sequence.  A criminal background check must be on file before enrolling in these courses.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program the student will have knowledge and skills in the following Standards developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation (NAEYC ECADA) organization. Click here for the complete list of Standards.

  • Standard 1 a, b, c
  • Standard 2 a, b, c
  • Standard 3 a, b, c, d
  • Standard 4 a, b, c, d
  • Standard 5 a
  • Standard 6 a, b, c, d, e
  • Standard 7 a, b