Early Childhood Education

Educating for our future

About Us

Columbia Basin College has been dedicated to preparing early childhood educators and personnel to serve the greater Eastern Washington region. The role of an educator is widely respected and valued in our society. Educators impart their knowledge and enthusiasm for learning each day. Committed professionals and lifelong learners, educators are devoted to educating our most valuable asset: our children.

ECE Program Highlights:

  • Certificate programs combine theory and practical experience with emphasis placed on active student involvement.
  • Coursework includes participation, observation and practical experience.
  • Students may enroll in any of our programs at the beginning of any quarter on either a full or part-time basis.
  • Most courses are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays to accommodate the varied schedules of working students.
teacher and class

In Washington state, the professional development system helps early learning professionals choose a program that best fits their needs and get support to achieve academic goals.
If you are interested in educating our future leaders, then ECE at CBC is for you!

Note for students who are located outside of Washington state: Each state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. protectorates vary in what professions they require to be licensed and the educational requirements for those licenses. It’s important to understand whether the degree or certificate you obtain from CBC will meet the educational eligibility requirements for a license in the state in which you plan to practice. 
View educational licensure requirements by state.


“My Early Childhood Education experience was educational and enjoyable. The teachers are encouraging, and their number one goal is to help you succeed. I learned the developmental stages of children and how to create an accepting and positive environment. ”

Selina Fink, CBC Student

Our Degree:

The AAS in Early Childhood Education prepares students for a Washington State Teaching Certification in general education for primary grades (preschool through grade 3). Students will learn from experienced educators who are committed to your success and offer invaluable insight and mentorship. Throughout the course of your degree you will gain practical experience through immersive field placements and student teaching experience. 



Not sure where to start? Reach out to CBC's Counseling & Advising Department!

Counseling & Advising Department

Completion Coaches



Washington State Stackable Certificates 

Throughout your course of study at CBC, students are able to obtain a number of certificates. These certificates are valuable credentials that can be earned alongside a degree or independently, allowing students to acquire specific skills and knowledge in focused areas of study. The stackable nature of these certificates means that students can build upon their existing credentials, gradually accumulating expertise and qualifications that are relevant to their chosen field. 

Stackable Certifications

  • 1. State Initial ECE Certificate

    12 Credits Total

    Students can earn this certificate as the starting point of their careers or to continue their professional development. The certificate focuses on competencies comparable to those of the Child Development Associate (CDA). This provides the foundation for the ECE State Certificate and associate degree. Courses include a 5-credit Introduction to Early Childhood Education; a 5-credit Health, Safety and Nutrition course, and a 2-credit practicum to apply learning.

  • 2. State Short ECE Certificate of Specialization

    20 Credits Total

    This certificate builds on the Initial Certificate (for a total of 20 credits). At this point, professionals can choose one of five specializations: ECE general, infant-toddler care, school-age care, family child care, and ECE administration. For each specialization, students must take a 5-
    credit Child Development course, plus a course aligned with the specific 

  • 3. State ECE Certificate

    47 Credits Total

     This final “stackable certificate” requires college-level math and English as a foundation for 
    the next step: an associate degree in ECE. In addition to these general education requirements, the courses that students must take include Language and Literacy Development; Observation and Assessment; Child, Family and Community; Guiding Behavior; Environments for Young Children; and Curriculum Development. With all three certificates, the total number of credits earned by the student is 47-52.



How Do I Obtain My Certificate(s)?

When students have accomplished the corresponding classes for a certificate, they will call or email Counseling and Advising at CBC at (509) 542-5505 or counseling@columbiabasin.edu.

They will request an appointment to complete a graduation application with Montessa Califano or Martin Ramirez. Once the application is complete, it takes about 8-10 weeks until they receive their official certificate in the mail. If students need to show proof that they have completed this certification, then they must request official transcripts, which can be done by visiting this webpage through CBC: Request Records & Transcripts.

Program Learning Outcomes for the AAS in Early Childhood Education

Program learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students will achieve before they graduate. The outcomes below were developed by the faculty in Early Childhood Education with input from accrediting bodies, advisory committees, employers, etc. This collaboration ensures that the outcomes are relevant for careers that this degree leads to.

Students who graduate with an AAS in Early Childhood Education will be able to:
  1. Apply the principles of child development and learning for children from birth to age eight.
  2. Articulate appropriate care for children in an educational setting.
  3. Evaluate children's cognitive and developmental abilities to inform the adaptation of policies, procedures, and practices tailored to individual developmental needs.
  4. Design developmentally appropriately curriculum and assessments for diverse learners.
  5. Deliver culturally responsive instruction.
  6. Evaluate early childhood education environments using evidence-based criteria to analyze effectiveness, health, nutrition, safety and inclusivity.


Early Childhood Educators will find their skills and talents necessary and relevant to several careers. From child care center assistants to operating your own family home child care, educators have many options in their future.

Our programs support the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Early Childhood Education (ECE) Statewide Credentials and are aligned with the Washington State Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Professionals, allowing you to work through a series of up to three stackable certificates. Earn a single certificate in as little as one full-time quarter or continue your education by taking the skills you’ve already learned to the next level. Learn more about careers for early learning professionals.

As you develop your ECE credentials through our program, you’ll find different career doors open to you. Some of the options available to ECE students and graduates include:

  • ECEAP Assistant Teacher
  • Family Home Child Care Operator
  • Lead Teacher
  • Child Care Center Director
  • For an overview of career paths and their education requirements in Washington State, visit the ECE Career site.

Connect with us to learn more about the career pathways and how to get started today!



students with instructor