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 II.
  • 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 III.
  • 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 II.
  • 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 III.
  • 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.
  • Basic Family Child Care Provider Certificate
    Focuses on the core course in growth and development, observation, assessment, and methods of fine arts.  Special focus includes legal responsibilities, relationships with families, and creating a healthy learning environment for children.  This certificate provides specific training for family child care positions (opening an early childhood center in a home environment). Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Gateways Family Child Care Provider Credential Level II.
  • Advanced Family Child Care Provider Certificate
    Includes additional family child care content in business, marketing technology, and advocacy, and some general education content. This certificate provide mere extensive training and preparation for the business-oriented aspect of family child care. Completion of this certificate can lead to obtaining the Family Child Care Provider Credential, Level III.

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? For information, contact Paula Luszcz, chair, at 847.376.7438.

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.

Are any major updates or changes coming in the curriculum or in the ECE marketplace? Teachers in Head Start and NAEYC-accredited program must have a minimum of an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. In Illinois, all teachers of young children are urged to pursue, at a minimum, an AAS Degree in ECE and apply for the equivalent credential through the Gateways to Opportunity professional development system of INCCRRA (the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral).  For more information, contact the ECE Program Chair.

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.