Early Childhood Care and Education

Associate of Arts

The Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Care and Education prepares you to work with young children from birth to 5 years of age in a variety of private and public childcare and educational settings. This associate degree program is listed by the Council for Professional Recognition as preparatory training to help you pursue the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, which is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education.

Knowledge gained in this online associate program can also serve as a springboard to a related baccalaureate degree.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this online associate degree program is regularly reviewed by an advisory council of industry experts for relevancy to today’s marketplace. Course topics include:

  • Infant and toddler development
  • Planning and implementing early childhood programs
  • Theories of early childhood care and education
  • Real-life settings in the classroom
  • Introduction to the American family
  • Theory and practical approaches to accommodating a child with special needs.

View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Describe the scope and principal theories of early childhood care and education.
  • Describe how existing knowledge and practice in early childhood care and education is tested and revised.
  • Use appropriate research documents on early childhood care and education, and cite appropriately.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply concepts learned in the classroom to real-life settings.
  • Describe his or her own cultural background and how this background has influenced his or her own beliefs and practices in the field of child development and family studies.

Degree at a Glance

Admission Requirements

  • All undergraduate programs require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent (i.e. GED).
  • New undergraduate students may be asked to complete our College Readiness Assessment (ADMN100). If you have successfully completed 9 or more hours of college credit, you may reach out to your admission representative to inquire about waiving this requirement.
  • If you have previous college experience, you will be asked to submit your transcripts from previous schools where you earned academic credit.
  • There is no fee to complete our admission application. View steps to apply.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an admission representative at 877-777-9081 or info@apus.edu.


Undergraduate Tuition Rates  

Military-Affiliated Students* = $250/credit hour

All Other Students = $270/credit hour

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, we offer a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans that caps undergraduate tuition at the military TA limit. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Undergraduate Book Grant

Ebooks are provided at no cost if you are enrolled in undergraduate courses for credit. The undergraduate book grant is estimated to save $250 per academic semester if you are registered as a full-time student.

Transfer Credits

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

The university has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.