Group of students working in early childhood classroom and lab

Early Childhood Specialist

Associate Degree Program - 63 Credits

As an Early Childhood Specialist graduate from Southeast Technical College, you will be ready to work with children from birth to age 8, overseeing their emotional, physical, cognitive and social development. In just two years, STC’s coursework helps you gain skills child development, curriculum planning, administration, assessment and working with diverse learners and families.

You could work in a childcare center, family child care, a Head Start program, school district or social service program in your community. Your other duties might include: 

  • Keeping records of children’s progress  
  • Planning activities to ensure child safety 
  • Observe signs of emotional or developmental concerns
  • Implementing age-appropriate curriculum 

The career outlook in your field is strong. Employment of early childhood educators is expected to grow 7% through 2026. Get started early, you may be able to take General Education courses before your program start.

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Full-Ride Scholarships Available

Earn a full-ride scholarship to Southeast Tech's Early Childhood Specialist program through a partnership with the Department of Social Services.



Program Video

Compare: Early Childhood Education vs. Elementary Education  

As an early childhood educator, you will work with children from birth through age 8. Your objective is to help young children develop socially, academically and cognitively. A two-year program such as Southeast Tech’s program, qualifies you to teach at daycares, some early childhood programs, or own and operate your own program. If your interest is working with school-age children in an afterschool program or summer camps, this Southeast Tech's Early Childhood Specialist degree is a great foundation. In elementary education, the focus is on students from kindergarten through elementary school. Elementary education positions typically require a bachelor’s degree and a state licensure exam.

Why Study to be an Early Childhood Specialist at Southeast Tech?  

During your early childhood training in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you will study in the George S. Mickelson Center, where you will learn successful methods for working with young children. Your coursework also helps you: 

Nurture Teaching Talent: As an Early Childhood Specialist, you will know how to build a meaningful and challenging course of study for young children. You will also understand the value and goals of accurate child assessments.

Think Critically: With the help of your STC faculty, you will know and use effective teaching strategies as well as understand the many influences on child development.

Gain Professionalism: As a top Early Childhood Specialist from Southeast Tech, you will maintain ethical standards as well as take part in professional development opportunities.

Be a Strong Communicator: You will strengthen the educational experience for children by involving families and the community in their learning. 

Job Outlook

Explore Classes  

Southeast Tech’s curriculum for an Early Childhood Specialist includes classes in Child Growth & Development, prenatal to age 8; curriculum development, literacy in early childhood, exceptional learner, business courses, and program administration in early childhood.



Costs are calculated based on a charge of $255 per credit hour, plus applicable fees.

Total Costs  Cost and Fee Breakdown

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Loretta Leloux

Early Childhood
Mickelson Center 168B

All Human Services Program

Other Programs Related to Early Childhood Specialist

If you’re interested in a career in childcare, you might also be interested in these other programs at Southeast Tech: 


Kailee Fox headshot

"Southeast Tech and the Early Childhood program have shown me what it takes and how to be an influential educator. The program gave me tools and resources to take with me after graduation to use through my career. This program is very hands-on; I’m going out into the field with real-life experiences in Early Childhood. STC’s faculty care about their students both academically and personally."

– Kailee Fox, 2022 Early Childhood Specialist graduate

Early Childhood News at Southeast Tech