Early Childhood Education Programs | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania


Have an Impact on the Lives of Children

Education student

Westmoreland offers two degrees and two certificates in Early Childhood Education. The Child Development Associate certificate provides the coursework to complete the CDA credential with support for completing the portfolio, exam, and verification visit through the Council for Professional Recognition. We are also an approved institution to complete coursework for the Pennsylvania's Director Credential. Westmoreland’s education program is informed by NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators, the PA Key’s Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education‛s Teacher Certification Competencies.

Why Choose Education as a Career?

Early Childhood and Primary Education (PreK-4) are fields where practitioners make lasting impacts on the lives of children and their caregivers. Educators must be patient, open to learning about and embracing of differences, and have a commitment to life-long learning. In our program, educators are equipped to create equitable classrooms that serve all children and their caregivers.

What Will I Learn?

Westmoreland’s Early Childhood Education program is taught by faculty with a student to teacher ratio of 15:1, which gives plenty of time for individualized attention. All of the early childhood programs are available entirely online.

The Child Development Associate Certificate provides the education requirements and support to complete the industry recognized CDA credential, leading to entry level certification for the field. 

The Early Childhood AAS prepares graduates for entry level through leadership positions in the field of early childhood education. These positions, depending upon the employer, include:  program  director,  lead  teacher,  assistant  teacher,  home  visitor,  service  coordinator,  family  childcare  provider,  and  public  school aide. This program fulfills the educational requirements for the PA Director’s Credential.

The Elementary Education PreK-4 AA degree prepares graduates to transfer  to  a  4-year  institution  and  apply  for  teacher  certification  in  grades  PreK-4  after  completing  an approved  baccalaureate  program. Graduates of the AA program have the option to transfer to over 20 four-year institutions in the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Center (PA TRAC) system. This program fulfills the educational requirements for the PA Director’s Credential. See Participating PA TRAC Colleges and Universities where your degree may transfer here

The PA Director’s Credential has approved Westmoreland as a participating institution to provide credential coursework. After meeting with the program chair, students select three courses from the approved curriculum to complete. Upon completion of the three chosen courses, students can apply for the PA Director’s Credential through the PA Key, pending they have met employment and supervisory requirements.

The Early Childhood Education Certificate prepares students for entry level positions in the field. The certificate also provides qualifying coursework to meet the PA Career Pathway Levels B and C requirements for those with degrees in related fields to teach in early childhood.

Funding Opportunities

PASSHE PDO Assistance

Westmoreland is a PASSHE PDO partner, which means that if you qualify, you can receive full tuition and fee assistance for up to 24 credits per academic year. The PASSHE PDO Assistance program supports students in the CDA, AAS, and AA programs. Find more info about the program and the application at https://ecepdo.org/ 

Meet Dr. Slider and learn more about the PDO program in the video below.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship 

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship offers support for tuition, books, and travel and paid release time for practitioners who qualify. The program supports students in the AAS and AA programs. You can find out more and apply to the program by going to this link TEACH.

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program 

The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program from the PA KEY will pay for 95% of tuition costs and fees for qualifying students for the PA Director’s Credential coursework. You can find out more and apply to the program by going to this link Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program

Career & Transfer Opportunities

Depending on the pathway you choose, program graduates find employment in a variety of agencies including public and private preschools, child care centers, and with public service organizations. Based on the type of employment you pursue, graduates can serve as lead or assistant teachers, center directors, start their own site, or work in the public school system as a paraprofessional or teacher’s aide. Visit the PA Key's Career Pathway System to see where your training places you on the Pathway.

Graduates can also transfer to 4-year institutions to complete degrees in PreK-4 education for certification as primary education teachers.