Early Childhood Education (Certificate)


Winter 2024: accepting applications

Fall 2024: Applications open October 3, 2023 at 9am

Applied Community Studies
Early Childhood Education
Length of Program
Three semesters
Credential Type
Learning Format
Admission Type
Open Enrolment - Additional Admission Requirements


Become a qualified Early Childhood Educator and contribute to the well-being of children, families and communities. A combination of practical experience and theoretical material will give you the skills and knowledge to work with children from newborns to eight years old.

Through online classes, you'll learn to observe, assess and guide child development both individually and in groups. Gain the confidence to communicate and collaborate with children, caregivers, their community and your colleagues. Understand how to promote health and nutrition, and experience managing a child-care setting.

Get certified 

Graduates with an ECE certification can apply for a provincial license to practice as an Early Childhood Educator and work in provincially licensed preschool and child-care centres. You’ll also have the option to complete additional courses to qualify for a Special Needs Certificate and receive your ECE Diploma

Job opportunities

In the next ten years, there will be over 12,000 early childhood educator job openings in B.C. Surveys show that 93 percent of our students are employed in their field after they graduate. (Source: B.C. Student Outcomes). 

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

  • General College Admission Requirements
  • Be age 18 by December 31st of the year you enter the program.
  • Suitability is determined on the basis of an overview of an applicant's emotional stability, physical health, formal education, the ability to work in a team setting and life experience.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals who are not related to you (character references from reputable community members and/or individuals familiar with your experience in working with young children). Reference letters should not be written by the person who completes your volunteer verification form. If you have an ECE basic license to practice, you would complete a work history form which includes references.
  • Complete and show evidence of 20 hours of volunteer or work experience in a licensed Early Childhood Education setting with children from birth to age six. The 20 hours documentation of volunteer or work experience form must be complete and submitted prior to enrollment in practicum courses.
  • Complete a Criminal Record Check (information will be provided by Enrolment Services).
  • Complete a medical declaration or assessment indicating a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health. The workload of the programs and the close contact with individuals in practical settings require students to be in good mental and physical health.
  • NOTE:  Applicants who have completed 9 or more post-secondary credits must be in good academic standing (with a minimum GPA of 1.5) for admission to any ACS program.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements For Students Completing By Summer 2023:

  • Successful completion of 43.5 credits
  • 25% (12 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • Time limit to complete program graduation requirements: four (4) years

Graduation Requirements For Students Completing After Summer 2023:

  • Successful completion of 43.5 credits
  • 50% (21 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • Graduate in Good Academic Standing (Cumulative GPA of 1.50 – See Academic Performance Policy)
  • Time limit to complete program graduation requirements: four (4) years

Course Requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits
Year I
ECED 1155 Introduction to Early Childhood Education 1.50
ECED 1241 Positive Guidance in Early Childhood Environments 3.00
ECED 1125 Promoting Healthy Practices in Early Childhood Education 3.00
ECED 1200 Growth and Development: Preschool Years 3.00
ECED 1211 Professional Growth and Communication 3.00
ECED 1220 Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programs for Preschool Children 3.00
ECED 1231 ECE Curriculum l 3.00
ECED 1285 Early Childhood Education Practicum I   3.00
ECED 1121 Transforming and Teaching: Observing and Documenting the Learning and Care of Young Children 3.00
Select one course from the following two options:
CMNS 1110 Workplace Writing for Applied Community Studies 3.00
ENGL 1130 Academic Writing 3.00
Year I Total Credits   28.50
Year II
ECED 2305 Growth and Development: Birth Through Early School Years 3.00

ECED 2361


ECED 2365

Indigenous World View and Early Childhood Education


Global Perspectives and Early Childhood Education

ECED 2331 ECE Curriculum II       3.00
ECED 2320

Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programmes for Young Children ll

ECED 2385 Early Childhood Education Practicum II   3.00
Year II Total Credits   15.00

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


ECE practitioners work with children from birth to eight years of age. The ECE Program focuses on this age-group.

In the full-time program:

  • you will take five or six courses each semester
  • the first three semesters are day classes, some diploma courses are held in the evening in the fourth term
  • certificate work can be completed in three semesters and diplomas completed in four semesters
  • you are guaranteed a seat in each course for the first three semesters
  • all courses are offered at the Coquitlam Campus

In the part-time program:

  • you will take the same courses as the full-time students over a three year schedule
  • courses are held in the evening or on Saturdays, during the day
  • you will take approximately half of the full-time course load
  • you will graduate in three to four years, depending on your course load
  • all courses are offered at the Coquitlam Campus
  • the entrance requirements are the same as for the full-time program

If you have skills and knowledge that apply to early childhood education, the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Service (PLAR) can help you identify, document and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities you have acquired on the job (workplace learning) or through life experiences.

Once your learning in a particular field of study is identified and documented, you may apply to have your knowledge, skills and abilities assessed for possible academic credit.

For information on ECE PLAR contact Kathy Price, 604 527 5481,

50 hours of volunteer or paid work experience

Before entering the ECE program you are required to complete 50 hours of paid or volunteer work experience with groups of children between birth and eight years of age. This requirement serves two purposes:

  • It gives you the opportunity to assess your interest in pursuing this program by acquainting you with some of the realities of working in the field of early childhood education.
  • It gives your work supervisor(s), through the letter of reference, an opportunity to comment on your personal suitability and potential for training in early childhood education.

500 hours of work experience

When you apply for your provincial licences after receiving your diploma, you must provide evidence of 500 hours of work experience, either paid or volunteer. Practicums do not count towards these hours. The Ministry of Children and Family Development - Child Care branch has details for early childhood educators about the work experience licence requirement.

You can work anywhere that there are children - we want to make sure that you know what it's like to work with groups of children and are familiar with the activities, noise, stress, excitement of fun that this work entails. Your work experience can be in a parks and recreation program, a preschool, sunday school, kindergarten, family daycare or a combination of any of these.

Practicums are part of the ECE program. You'll be placed in child care centres and preschools and given assignments to complete. You are expected to practice the knowledge and skills learned in other courses, participate in a comprehensive evaluation, and will receive a (Mastery or Non-Mastery) grade at completion.

Note: practicum hours cannot be included as part of the 500 hours of work experience required of ECE graduates by the provincial government for a licence to practice.

Full-time students can complete their diplomas in two years, while part-time students can complete the program in four years.

Students in the full-time program can also complete their certificates in less time by attending two consecutive fall semesters and one winter semester. There are limited course offerings in the summer.

Students with ECE Certificates from early childhood education programs approved by the Child Care branch (Ministry of Children and Family Development) can transfer 30 credits toward their Douglas College ECE Diploma.

For more information, see the Transfer Credit section of the Douglas College Calendar.

Your Douglas College ECE diploma will transfer to several other post-secondary institutions. See the Career Pathways tab for more detail.

Certificate and Diploma graduates will be eligible to work in provincially licensed preschool and child care centres once they become Registered Early Childhood Educators.

Diploma graduates who have completed the Infant/Toddler Stream will be eligible to work in provincially licensed infant and toddler centres as Registered Infant/Toddler Educators.

Diploma graduates who have completed the Special Needs Stream will be eligible to work as Special Needs Educators.

Some of our graduates work in preschool recreation programs. Other students open Family Child Care Centres.

Yes, students who have been accepted into the ECE Program and are taking courses each semester can be hired in child care centres as assistants after completion of specified courses. We strongly recommend that full time students do not work more than a few hours a week during a semester of studies.

Yes, completion of a program in Early Childhood Education from Douglas College is the first step in becoming a Certified Early Childhood Educator in British Columbia.

Licence requirements can be found at the Child Care branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Full and Part-time program: ECE Program Advisor or 604-527-5163

Career Pathways

Career opportunities include:

  • Early Childhood Educator 
  • Private Family Caregiver 
  • Daycare Worker 
  • Early Childhood Educator 
  • Family Day Home Provider 
  • Health Care Aide 
  • In-home Support Worker 
  • Infant & Toddler Teacher Aide 
  • Nanny 
  • Parent's Helper 
  • Summer/Children's Camp Leader