The term 'early childhood' refers to classrooms in the pre-kindergarten through grade three range. In South Carolina, early childhood education can be studied at various public and private colleges and universities. Programs are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Students learn about such topics as curriculum planning and assessment, teaching methods, community relations, human growth and development and language development. Most programs include a supervised professional experience.
Charleston Southern University
This university in Charleston offers two bachelor's degree programs for students interested in early childhood education. One focuses strictly on early childhood education, while the other is a dual program including elementary education. Both require professional foundation courses in psychology, human development, creativity in the classroom, literature, physical education and mathematics. Charleston Southern's early childhood education degree program also requires courses in early childhood content and curriculum, community relations, language development and teaching methods.
The early childhood/elementary education degree program covers elementary mathematics, language arts, curriculum planning, teaching methods and classroom management. Both programs also require early childhood infant and toddler field experiences. Students must complete clinical experiences to earn the degree.
Students at Clemson University, located in the town of Clemson, can pursue a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Earning the degree requires completion of a 123-credit program that includes general education courses, core education courses, early childhood courses and a directed teaching experience. This program prepares students to creatively teach diverse populations of students using strategies proven to be effective for young children. Students must pass the appropriate Praxis II exams and be recommended by Clemson to the South Carolina Department of Education for certification.
Coastal Carolina University
Located in Conway, Coastal Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education that prepares students for pre-K through grade three certification in South Carolina. This 122-credit-hour program can be completed in four years, but admission to the teacher education program doesn't take place until students have completed 60 college credits of prerequisite and core university courses. Other requirements for admission to the program include a Professional Behavior and Dispositions Self Evaluation as well as a passing score on the Praxis I test.
College of Charleston
The College of Charleston offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education that includes 99 credit hours in the major toward the 122 needed to graduate. The professional program includes courses in literacy development, learning strategies, teaching methods and curriculum application. Students must also complete courses on curriculum assessment, creative learning environments, physical education and the performing arts to earn this degree. An early childhood clinical practice experience that counts for 12 credit hours must also be completed.
A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Early Childhood Education is also available. This 48-hour program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is designed for applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field of study. Graduates are eligible to pursue licensing in order to teach pre-kindergarten through third grade.
Francis Marion University
Located in Florence, Francis Marion University offers a 126-credit-hour BS in Early Childhood Education degree. This four-year program includes courses in developmental language arts, instruction methods, curriculum development and early childhood education strategies. A clinical experience is also required.
In addition, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education is available to students holding a bachelor's degree. This 36-credit-hour program includes education foundation core courses in education management, technology and assessment. Students must also complete specialty core courses, including the study of family and community, curriculum design, strategies for the special needs child and leadership in early childhood programs. Practicum and capstone seminars focus on problem identification, analysis and resolution in this field.
Limestone College in Gaffney offers a BA in Early Childhood Education. This program includes courses in language development, community relations, early intervention for infants and young children, the creative arts and teaching methods. Students must complete 120 clock hours dedicated to field experiences, as well as 60 days in clinical practice. An add-on early childhood certificate is also available for teachers.
South Carolina State University
South Carolina State University in Orangeburg offers undergraduate students a BS in Early Childhood Education. This 126-credit-hour program includes the study of the principles of learning, human growth and development, teaching methods and child behavior. Students must also study preschool administration, art for children and curriculum development. A 12-credit-hour professional clinical experience must be completed towards the end of the program.
The Master of Arts in Teaching program for early childhood education requires 51 credit hours. The professional education segment of the curriculum includes courses in human growth, psychology, the philosophy of education, learning theories and research. A directed teaching and clinical internship is also required. Specialty courses include the study of children's literature, elementary school teaching methods, curriculum planning and early childhood methods.
University of South Carolina - Columbia
The University of South Carolina (USC) has its flagship campus in Columbia. The Department of Instruction and Teacher Education offers early childhood education degree programs. The early childhood education BA program at this school prepares students to effectively work with infants, toddlers and young children. Once in the program, students learn about children's physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. They also learn instructional strategies to promote learning across subject areas for all students, regardless of their cultural or familial background. This training is put into practice during internship opportunities supervised by qualified teachers. Upon completion of the program, students must be recommended to the South Carolina Department of Education for certification.
USC's 36-credit Master in Education (M.Ed.) program in early childhood education strives to create professional teachers with solid knowledge in curriculum planning, theory, child development, instructional strategies and interpersonal skills. Students take courses in research, technology and specialized aspects of early education. All students end their program with a final seminar that prepares them for the comprehensive exam.
Early childhood education doctorate students at USC work with a committee of faculty to design a 90-credit program of study that best fits their individual needs and interests. The Ph.D. program consists of early childhood education courses, core education courses, electives, research and dissertation preparation. Students must successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive examination prior to presenting their dissertations.
University of South Carolina - Upstate
Located in Spartanburg, the University of South Carolina - Upstate offers a 123-credit-hour Bachelor of Arts in Education with a major in early childhood education. This program includes professional education courses in special education, classroom management, technology, child development and language development. Students must also complete clinical experiences in early childhood education and a directed teaching experience. Support courses allow students to explore the arts and humanities, such as children's literature.
USC - Upstate also offers an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. This 36-credit-hour program requires two years of study. Students can expect courses in human development, research, advanced language development and play theory. A seminar and professional portfolio focused on early childhood education must be completed to earn the degree.
Winthrop University in Rock Hill offers both an undergraduate and a graduate program in early childhood education. The bachelor's degree program requires 126 credit hours. Students can expect to study disabilities in general education, technology in the classroom, early intervention, curriculum integration, teaching methods and children's literature.
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program requires 44 credit hours. The curriculum covers educational psychology, classroom technology and teaching in a democracy. An internship and capstone are also required. Early childhood core courses include children's literature, literacy instruction, effective teaching practices, creative learning experiences and early childhood development.
A bachelor's degree is required in order to begin a career in early childhood education in public schools; however, graduates of associate's degree programs can find employment in childcare facilities. In addition, public schools require teachers to be licensed in this field. Licensure requirements include successful completion of content area exams and a qualifying bachelor's degree. All of the bachelor's degree programs and Master of Arts in Teaching programs listed below can prepare students for licensure.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Early Childhood Degree Programs||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Charleston Southern University||Four-year; private not-for-profit; small city|| Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education,
BS in Early Childhood/Elementary Education
|Clemson University||Four-year; public; fringe town||Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education|| $15,374 in-state;
|Coastal Carolina University||Four-year; public; small city||BA in Early Childhood Education|| $11,716 in-state;
|College of Charleston||Four-year; public; midsize city|| BS in Early Childhood Education,
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Early Childhood Education
| $12,838 in-state;
|Francis Marion University||Four-year; public; small suburb|| BS in Early Childhood Education,
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education
| $11,976 in-state;
|Limestone College||Four-year; private not-for-profit; fringe town||BA in Early Childhood Education||$25,025*|
|South Carolina State University||Four-year; public; distant town|| BS in Early Childhood Education,
MAT in Teaching - Early Childhood Education
| $11,060 in-state;
|University of South Carolina - Columbia||Four-year; public; midsize city|| BA in Early Childhood Education,
M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education,
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Early Childhood Education
| $12,616 in-district;
|University of South Carolina - Upstate||Four-year; public; midsize suburb|| BA in Education - Early Childhood,
M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
| $11,852 in-state;
|Winthrop University||Four-year; public; small city|| BS in Early Childhood Education,
MAT in Early Childhood Education
| $15,730 in-state;
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics