Majoring in early childhood education prepares students for careers in a variety of early care and education settings as well as in related fields working with children, birth to age eight, and their families. Our program focuses on child development theory and early childhood education practices, with a particular emphasis on presenting practical information that can be used working with young children. Students will combine learned theories with practice, in actual settings with young children, under the supervision of Cuesta College Lab Teachers.


Early Childhood Teacher Pathways prepare students to work with children from infancy into middle childhood in various learning environments. The Pathways will educate and train students to become effective teachers; provide hands on learning in the classroom; and support students to develop as teaching professionals.

Students who plan to work in the field of Early Childhood Education are advised to pursue a Child Development Permit (CDP). Early Childhood Education Program course work is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as meeting the requirements for the CDP Permits. The six levels of Child Development Permits are: Assistant Teacher, Associate Teacher, Teacher, Master Teacher, Site Supervisor, and Program Director. Students completing the core four courses (ECE 201, 202, 203, and 205) will qualify for an Associate Teacher Certificate, through Cuesta College. Students completing the ECE AA or AS-T degrees (coupled with experience in the field) are eligible for the Child Development Permit at the Teacher level.

The ECE Distance Learning Professional Track is designed for Early Childhood Educators, who are not pursuing a degree at Cuesta College, and who want to deepen their understanding of child development, build their early childhood classroom skills, and advance their careers in ECE in a supportive online learning community. Three professional certificates are available: Associate Teacher Certificate of Achievement (12 ECE units), Teacher Certificate of Achievement (26 ECE units), and Master Teacher Certificate of Achievement (35 ECE units). Early Childhood professionals may earn Work Experience credits at their early care and education sites, under the supervision of a mentor teacher.