There are three schools in Pennsylvania that offer diplomas in early childhood education. At Westmoreland County Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and Northampton Community College, undergraduates are educated in the essentials of the field, and they may be able to apply the credits they earn to associate or certificate programs in the field. It is important to note that there are also four other schools in Pennsylvania that offer undergraduate certificates in early childhood education, which tend to be similar to diploma programs.
Lehigh Carbon Community College
Lehigh Carbon Community College, which is located in Schnecksville, offers an Early Childhood Education Specialized Credit Diploma (ECED). The program covers child growth and development, learning theories, and family structures. Students are trained to design and implement a safe, supportive learning environment for children, and they gain familiarity with the ethical considerations in the field. In total, students must complete 15 credit hours in order to earn the diploma. Some of the courses are Child Care Lab courses that include field experiences and observations. Students must pass a physical health and TB screening test before they can take these courses.
Westmoreland County Community College
At Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, students can earn a diploma in the education of Pre-K-Grade 4 students. The curriculum is based on the early childhood education standards defined by the National Association for Young Children, and it consists entirely of classroom studies; no field experience is required. Many students apply the credits they earn toward an associate's degree when they finish.
Northampton Community College
The Childhood Development Associate (CDA) Specialized Diploma offered by Northampton Community College is designed specifically to prepare students for the CDA exam offered by the Council for Professional Recognition, because some early childhood education organizations, including Head Start, require applicants to have this designation. The program consists of three courses of three-credits each: Early Childhood Development and Learning; Child, Family and Community; and Early Childhood Profession. Although the college itself is located in Bethlehem, this short diploma program is also offered online. Not only are students who finish prepared to take the CDA exam, but they may also apply their credits toward a certificate or associate's degree program in early childhood education.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Diplomas Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|Lehigh Carbon Community College||2-year, Public; large suburb*||Early Childhood Education Specialized Credit Diploma|| In-district: $3,800*
|Westmoreland County Community College||2-year, Public; rural fringe*||Pre-K-Grade 4 Education Diploma|| In-district: $4,830*
|Northampton Community College||2-year, Public; large suburb*||Childhood Development Associate (CDA) Specialized Diploma|| In-district: $3,990*
Source: *NCES College Navigator