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Early Childhood Education (ECE)


Early Childhood Education is an exciting and rewarding profession. There is a great demand in BC including the Northwest, for qualified and dedicated Early Childhood Educators skilled in providing quality care and education for children, birth to school age.

Complete your full Basic Level ECE Certificate at our Terrace campus starting in September.  Not from Terrace? Stay in town four days a week for your studies, then travel home for weekends. Complete your practicum in your home community if a suitable placement is available.  Part-time students may be able to complete one course per semester in a blended format (teleconference, one week intensive in Terrace.)

Program Delivery

The Basic Level ECE Certificate program offers some courses in a blended format: face-to-face, audio teleconference, weekend seminars, and practical field work. Some courses are augmented with an online tool called Desire to Learn (D2L); however, this is not the primary form of learning. This multi-mode format recognizes the importance of connecting your learning to communities throughout Northwest BC.

Multi-mode Delivery - ECE enables students to study in Northwest BC and connect to other learners from different locations. The blend of teaching methods is designed to support different learning styles.Students can apply their learning in their home communities to the benefit of all. 

Face-to-face - Face-to-face courses are held at NWCC Terrace Campus because it is our most centrally located campus and has affordable student dormitories for housing. When registered in the practicum courses, student's spend time is spent in an early years program, under mentor direction, and working on assignments. Students will receive visits from their instructor for guidance and to evaluate their practice. 

Online - Learning is enhanced in the ECE program with a web program called Desire to Learn (D2L). This website allows students to hand in and receive feedback on assignments in a timely fashion. It also gives students additional resources and allows for course discussion.

Weekend Workshops - Some courses have 1 or 2 weekend workshops. Weekend intensive classes are held all day Saturday and Sunday.

Teleconference - Some courses have a phone-in component where students call into a global phone line. The instructor facilitates the teleconference classroom learning by encouraging student discussions, group activities and assignment reviews. In communities where there is more than one participant, the students are asked to meet at the same location. Clustering together allows for group exercises and face-to-face discussions with other learners.

What do I need to be successful in the Basic Level ECE Certificate program?

  • Ability to travel to Terrace, BC for various courses
  • Access to a quiet location with a phone line in your home community for teleconferencing
  • Access to Internet
  • Access to two licensed early years programs with a licensed Early Childhood Educator
  • Be self-motivated and able to ask for help when needed

Check out our ECE Program Philosophy!

For information about course planning contact Student Services.
For information about applying for the ECE program contact Admissions.
Phone: 1.877.277.2288 or email

Program Outline 

Northwest Community College offers 2 levels of Early Childhood Education: 

  • Basic Level Certificate Program, for the Fall - Spring academic year
  • Post Basic Certificate Programs (Infant/Toddler, Special Needs, and First Nations Program Specialization) - offered course by course

NOTE: For information on further studies in the ECE field, including the Post Basic ECE Certificate (focusing on First Nations, Infant/Toddler Care, or Special Needs) and the ECE Diploma, please contact one of our Educational Advisors 

All courses are eligible and credited towards an Early Childhood Education Certificate with the Province of BC ECE Registry. Students must be fully admitted into the ECE program before registering for a course.

Basic Level Early Childhood Education Certificate Program: September - July 

 Fall (September - December)

ECE 120-1: Introduction to Early Childhood Education
ECE 141-3: Becoming a Researcher
ECE 162-3: Curriculum I
ECE 125-3: Practicum I
*PSYC 101-3: Introductory to Psychology 
SSW-112-3: Interpersonal Communication 
LPAT-100-1: Student Success 

Winter (January - April)
ECE 167-3: Guiding Young Children
ECE 126-3: Practicum II
ECE 163-3: Curriculum II
*PSYC 201-3: Development Psychology I
*SOCI 206-3: The Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective 

Spring (April-July)
ECE 209-3: Environments, Culture, and Critical Pedagogy 
ECE 210-3: Curriculum III
ECE 211-3: Practicum III
ECE 168-3: Professional Development I
ECE 104-3: Health, Safety & Nutrition

*Please note these courses are University Credit courses 

Post Basic Certificate Programs

NOTE: For information on further studies in the ECE field, including the Post Basic ECE Certificate (focusing on First Nations, Infant/Toddler Care, or Special Needs) and the ECE Diploma, please contact one of our Educational Advisors 

Students who have successfully completed the ECE Basic Level Certificate may choose to continue their studies to a Post Basic Certificate or ECE Diploma. There are three Post Basic Certificates:

  • Infant/Toddler Certificate: prepares students for employment in, caring for infants and toddlers (up to three years old).
  • Special Needs Certificate:  prepares students to establish and work in programs for children from infancy to school age who require extra supports.
  • First Nations Certificate: educates students to reflect First Nations cultural values and attitudes in childcare settings.

Post Basic Certificates -  Required Courses 
Note: Please contact admissions for Post Basic offerings.

Career Opportunities 

Graduates from Basic Level Early Childhood Education Certificate program have found employment in a variety of settings: daycares, preschools, Aboriginal Head Starts, Supported Child Development, Out of School Care, Family Child Care programs, Infant Developmental and Family Resource programs. Some have also utilized their ECE education to obtain employment as Education Assistants in BC in Kindergarten and Grade 1 schools in the Northwest. 

Others have continued their studies in ECE to acquire a Post Basic Early Childhood Education (focusing on First Nations, Infant/Toddler Care, or Special Needs) and an Early Childhood Education Diploma. Graduates have continued their studies at college and university to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in related fields, utilizing their ECE courses for transfer credits in some programs.

For more information on becoming an Early Childhood Educator, visit the WorkBC website.

Admission Requirements 
  1. Apply direct to Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  2. Submit proof of English 12 or equivalent.
  3. Once admitted, register in the courses required for the ECE program.

Course prerequisites include:

  • Math 11

The prerequisites for individual courses are outlined in the course descriptions. Students missing prerequisites may enrol in Career & College Preparation (CCP) upgrading courses while completing the program.

English proficiency is required for all students entering NWCC programs.  Please visit our English Language Alternatives page to see how this requirement can be met.  All admitted students will be required to take the CAT English Placement test.  Those who do not receive a satisfactory score will be advised to take a modified course load and English upgrading. 

Note:  Grade 12 high school graduation is recommended.

Practicum Requirements

The following requirements are not required for admission into the program but will be required prior to attending the practicum:

  • One current character reference. 
  • 45 hours of satisfactory work or volunteer experience with children age zero to six. 
  • Resume, plus written statement (300-500 words) outlining career goals and reasons for applying to the ECE program. 
  • Completion of a successful Criminal Record Check (CRC).
  • Submission of a medical certificate attesting to good physical and mental health.
  • Proof of immunization.

Conditional Acceptance
Students looking for special or conditional acceptance into the ECE Certificate program must write a letter explaining why, including the time frame needed to meet the outstanding requirement(s).  Submit the letter along with your application to the Admissions Officer.  Conditional or special circumstance acceptances occur on a case-by-case basis. 

Need help with the application process?  Contact an Educational Advisor.

Dates and Locations 

Intakes:  September and January

Campus location:  Terrace

Study on a full or part-time basis.  Some courses are available online and by teleconference.

Speak with an Educational Advisor for assistance with course selection.

Program Fees 

Early Childhood Education - Basic Certificate Program Fees

FEES Full Time (46 Credits)
Tuition: $4,117.92
*Student Association Fee: $95.22
*Canadian Federation of Students Fee: $26.64
Technology Fee: $175.72
Registration Fee: $88.32
Infrastructure Fee: $26.22
Graduation Fee:  $31.74
**Books: $1,500.00
**Supplies/Clothing: $800.00
**Fieldwork/Practicum $700.00
Total: $7,561.78

For a PDF of the 2016/2017 International Tuition and Fees, please click here

Fees are effective as of August 2nd, 2016

*These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.

**Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending on courses taken.

Note: Travel to weekend workshops may be required.