Early Childhood Education and Development

The Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) at MCC-Penn Valley is recognized as a leader in providing comprehensive education for aspiring early childhood and youth development professionals.

Early childhood education (ECE) focuses on nurturing and teaching children from birth through age eight. ECE professionals create stimulating environments and learning opportunities to assist in the child's development.

Research shows that the first five years of a child's life are critical to long-term development. An early childhood educator participates in the foundation of the child's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.

ECEs are always needed, and their work can make a lasting impact on a child's life.

Program highlights

  • Metropolitan Community College offers coursework toward the following:
    • Child Development Associates (CDA) - 9 credit hours
      • The CDA stacks into the certificate in early childhood and ultimately to the A.A.S. in Early Childhood.
    • Early Childhood Education Certificate - 21 credit hours
    • Youth Development Certificate - 24 credit hours
    • Associate of Applied Science, Early Childhood Education and Development - 62 to 66 credit hours
  • Courses are offered in 8, 12, and 16 sessions, on-ground, hybrid, and online during the day, evenings, and weekends to accommodate our working student population.
  • We have 8-week courses that begin at the start of the traditional semester and end at mid-term, and then a 2nd 8-week course offering that starts at mid-term and continues until the end of the traditional semester, allowing students to take more classes during the semester and meet their goals sooner.

Program admission

This program, which leads to either an Associate in Applied Science degree or a certificate, prepares students for jobs in child care. Requirements for the degree and certificate are listed below.

To be admitted to the program, students must complete the following application process:

  1. Complete the MCC admissions process.
  2. Complete a background check by visiting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Family Care Safety Registry.
  3. Attend the New Student Orientation.

Every student in the ECED program should be aware that the Missouri State Board of Education may refuse to issue, renew, suspend or revoke a certificate of license to teach if an individual has pleaded or been found guilty of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude whether or not sentence is imposed; upon evidence that the certificate was obtained by fraud, deception, misrepresentation or bribery; upon evidence of incompetence, immorality or neglect of duty; or if the certificate holder is subject to discipline in another state.

Credit for active CDA

Do you have an active CDA, or are you in the process of attaining one in the Early Childhood Education field? If so, you can earn your ECED certificate or degree from MCC more quickly than you think.

A CDA (Child Development Associate) is a nationally recognized certificate awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. It consists of multiple components, including 480 hours teaching children in a classroom at the age you want to become certified in, an observation, the CDA exam, a portfolio review, and an application fee.

You can earn the CDA by taking 120 clock hours of documented professional development or nine hours of college credit. MCC offers three courses that equal nine credit hours towards the CDA. These courses are ECED 101-Foundations of Early Childhood, ECED 110-Child Health, Safety and Nutrition, and ECED 112-Learning Environments.

For more information, visit The Council for Professional Recognition at CDACouncil.org. For information on scholarships to help pay for the CDA, visit frontlineeducation.com.


Early childhood educators can work in many different settings. Depending on educational attainment, one can be an assistant teacher, lead teacher, floater, administrator, director, para-professional, instructional coach, nanny, and more.

Careers are found in the K-12 public school system, private centers, private schools, after-school programs, and home-based care.

Average growth for Preschool Teachers in the Kansas City area

Visit Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to view salary information, employment outlook and personal characteristics needed for this career.

Career Pathways by Education Level

For Early Childhood Education and Development In the Kansas City Metro Area

No Formal Educational Requirement

(Emerging Educator)
  • Floater in an early childhood classroom
  • Classroom Aide
  • Before/After School Care Program

Associate Credential – CDA Child Development

(NAEYC Early Childhood Educator I)
  • Classroom or Child Care Aide
  • Head Start Teaching Assistant
  • Licensed Child Care Center Director of up 20 children

Associate Degree (A.A.S.)  
Early Childhood Education or Child Development

(NAEYC Early Childhood Educator II)
  • Head Start Teaching Assistant
  • Lead Teacher
  • Licensed Child Care Center Director of between 21-60 children
  • After School Program Leader
  • Family Childcare Provider
  • Family Advocate
  • Pre-K Teacher Aide in the Public- School system
  • Paraprofessional in the Public- School system
  • Substitute Teacher in the Public- School system

Download career pathways by education level table

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