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Frequently Asked Questions
Are courses offered days, evenings, and weekends? Yes. Practicum (ECE 257 and ECE 258) must be completed during the day only. Practicum seminars meet in the evening. The College also offers short-term, one- or two-credit courses during varying semesters.
How do the certificates differ in purpose? Certificates require less course work and do not include practicum. Certificates are available in early care and education, infant toddler studies, and administration.
- Basic ECE certificate
Focuses on the growth and development of children from three-five years of age. This certificate provides training for entry-level positions in early childhood programs, e.g., teacher aide and assistant teacher. Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Early Childhood Credential, Level I.
- Advanced ECE certificate
Includes additional early childhood content and some general education content. This certificate provides more extensive training and preparation for entry-level positions in early childhood programs, e.g., teacher aide and assistant teacher. Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Early Childhood Credential, Level II.
- Basic Infant Toddler certificate
Focuses on the typical growth and development of children from birth through two years of age. This certificate provides training for entry-level positions in early childhood education programs and/or infant toddler programs, e.g., teacher aide and assistant teacher. Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Infant Toddler Credential, Level I.
- Advanced Infant Toddler certificate
Includes more extensive early childhood and infant/toddler content and general education course work. This certificate provides in-depth training for entry-level positions in early childhood and/or infant toddler programs, e.g., teacher aide or assistant teacher. Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Infant Toddler Credential, Level II.
- ECE Administration certificate
Includes early childhood and management content. This certificate provides training for assistant director and director positions in early childhood programs. Completion of this certificate, along with the A.A.S. degree, can lead to obtaining the Illinois Director Credential, Level I.
How quickly can the Basic ECE and Infant Toddler certificates be completed? In two semesters.
How quickly can the Advanced ECE and Infant Toddler certificates be completed? In three-four semesters.
How quickly can the ECE Administration certificate be completed? In four-five semesters, depending on the student’s previous course work. (Note: Oakton offers administration courses in two-course sequences each semester.)
Are any 2+2 programs for the A.A.S. degree available? Yes. Kendall College and National-Louis University have transfer agreements with Oakton. For information, make an appointment with the ECE chair.
Do any of the core courses typically transfer to four-year programs? Kendall College and National-Louis University accept many of the ECE courses within the framework of their transfer agreements. DePaul University accepts several ECE courses within the framework of the transfer agreement for the A.A.T. degree.
Are any major updates or changes coming in the curriculum or in the ECE marketplace? Oakton now offers an Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) degree in ECE. This credential is for students who wish to begin their studies at Oakton and transfer to a four-year college or university that will grant a bachelor’s degree and state teaching certificate in ECE (also known as the 04 certificate, which certifies graduates to teach at the kindergarten– third grade level).
Oakton and DePaul University recently finalized an A.A.T. transfer agreement. Contact the ECE chair for more details.
Each semester the department schedules information sessions. Students needing specific information right away should contact the ECE chair.
Teachers in the Head Start program must now have an A.A. degree in ECE. Teachers in NAEYC-accredited ECE programs must have an A.A. degree in ECE by 2012. Teacher aides in Illinois public schools must have a two-year degree in education or early childhood education.
The Illinois State Board of Education recently revised teacher preparation standards that affect teachers at all levels. Students completing a bachelor’s degree must develop a full portfolio of their course work and field experience. Specifics of this requirement are available through the education department at the four-year institution.
What level of reading and writing is necessary to be successful in this program? All ECE students should take the math and writing placement tests as soon as they apply to Oakton. (These tests are required of all full-time students who plan to take any math or English courses as part of their study options.) Students should place into EGL 101 before taking ECE classes. Reading requirements are fairly rigorous in all ECE classes, averaging about 80 pages per course per week. Students also can anticipate a heavy focus on writing, outside observations of children or ECE programs, and curriculum development.