What credentials and degrees can I earn in early childhood education, child development or child care administration?
What is a Child Development Associate (CDA)TM Credential?
What is a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC)?
What is a Technical College Diploma (TCD)?
What is an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)?
Community-based Training Credential:
- Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC)
- Technical College Diploma (TCD)
- Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)
- Bachelor's Degree (BS)
- Master's Degree (M.Ed)
- Child Development Associate (CDA)TM Credential - articulates into academic credit at Georgia's technical colleges
While not a college credential, the CDA is an entry-level credential issued by the Council for Professional Recognition. Earning the CDA credential is a three-step process that requires an education component; a visit by a Professional Development Specialist; and testing at a Pearson VUE testing location. The education component requires 120 clock-hours of education covering eight subject areas. These can be training hours (.1 CEU = 1 hour) or equivalent college credit. Click here
to visit the Council for Professional Recognition's website for complete information.
The CDA credential must be renewed every three years.
Funding: Unless the training is conducted in another language besides English, tuition for training hours is not covered by state or federal funding or by SCHOLARSHIPS through DECAL. The Council for Professional Recognition charges $425 for the CDA Application process.
The DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS program covers the $425 fee ($400 up front to the Council; $25 reimbursed to candidate when CDA is earned) if the CDA training completed by the candidate is state-approved, or the education component is fulfilled through an eligible Georgia college or university that has an early childhood department. The candidate must meet all program requirements.
Your CDA course must be approved through the Georgia ECE Training Approval System. To find an approved CDA training, click here
, and click on the CDA Training link in the Find Training box.
A Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC)
is a short program of study leading to an entry-level credential offered through Georgia's technical colleges (www.tcsg.edu
) onsite and/or online. Many of the TCC programs of study only contain three courses. The following eight TCC’s in early childhood education
offered at various technical colleges:
- Early Care and Education Basics TCC
- Child Development Associate Preparation TCC
- Child Development Specialist TCC
- Early Childhood Program Administration TCC
- Early Childhood Exceptionalities TCC
- Family Child Care Specialist TCC
- Infant Toddler Care Specialist TCC
- Arts Integration TCC
- Introduction to Child Care TCC (Unlike other TCCs, this "terminal" TCC does not require a high school diploma or GED, but the courses do not apply towards higher programs of study. Available online through Southern Crescent Technical College.)
The various TCCs range from 9 to 26 credit hours. A TCC is accepted by DECAL, NAEYC and some Head Start employers in lieu of a CDA credential.
: HOPE Grant, HOPE Career Grant, DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Technical College
is a 53 credit-hour program of study offered through Georgia's
technical college’s onsite or online. A full-time student can earn a TCD in
four semesters if he/she requires no preparatory work in English, Reading, Math
or Algebra. Forty-five (45) of the 53 credit hours are in ECE-related courses.
Anyone presenting a valid CDA credential to a technical
college receives nine credit hours toward their TCD. Most TCC credit hours are
also transferable into the TCD program of study.
to visit the Technical College System of Georgia
: HOPE Grant, HOPE Career Grant, Pell Grant, DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
degree is a 72 credit-hour program of study, offered onsite or online through Georgia's technical colleges. A full-time student can earn an AAS in six semesters if he/she requires no preparatory work in English, Reading, Math or Algebra. Fifty-four (54) of 72 credit hours are in ECE-related courses.
Anyone presenting a valid CDA credential to a technical college receives nine credit hours toward an AAS. Credit hours earned through the Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) and Technical College Diploma (TCD) programs are transferable to the AAS program of study. The number of credit hours that will transfer into a bachelor's degree program varies depending upon the institution.
to visit the Technical College System of Georgia website
: HOPE Scholarship, Pell Grant, DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS
(Note: An Associate of Science (AS)
, a foundational degree preparing a student to continue on in a particular field of study at the bachelor's degree level, is not eligible for DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS unless it is offered at a SACS accredited, HOPE
eligible four-year college or university.)
What is a Bachelor's Degree?
What is a Master's Degree?
What HOPE-eligible Georgia colleges and universities offer credentials and degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE) that qualify for SCHOLARSHIPS assistance to approved applicants?
What financial resources are available for earning an Early Childhood Education (ECE) credential or degree?
A Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education is a 120-126 semester credit-hour program of study offered at most of Georgia's four-year public and private colleges and universities.
The number of credit hours transferrable from technical colleges or other two-year colleges varies.
Funding: HOPE Scholarship, Pell Grant, DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS
A Master's Degree
in Early Childhood Education is the first level of graduate study. To apply for a master's degree you usually must already hold an undergraduate degree (a bachelor's degree).
A master's degree typically requires one and a half to two years of full-time study.
To earn a master's degree you usually need to complete from 36 to 54 semester credits of study (or 60 to 90 quarter-credits). This equals 12 to 18 college courses.
Master's Degrees in Early Childhood Education are available at the following Georgia colleges and universities:
- Public Institutions:
- Albany State University
- Armstrong Atlantic State University
- Columbus State University
- Georgia College and State University
- Georgia Southern University
- Georgia Southwestern University
- Georgia State University
- Kennesaw State University
- University of Georgia
- University of North Georgia
- University of West Georgia
- Valdosta State University
- Private Institutions:
- Berry College
- Brenau University
- Mercer University
- Piedmont University
- Reinhardt University
- Thomas University
- Wesleyan College
: DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS
or on the image to download a map and color legend that identifies all colleges and universities offering ECE programs of study that qualify for SCHOLARSHIPS
(Click map to enlarge
HOPE Grant Eligibility: Available to residents of Georgia who are attending eligible colleges or universities in Georgia to earn a certificate or diploma regardless of high school graduation date or grade point average. Those who have already earned a bachelor's degree are not eligible. Technical college students enrolled in a Technical Certificate of Credit or a Technical College Diploma level and are receiving the HOPE Grant will also receive the HOPE Career Grant up to the cost of attendance ($250 for eight credit hours or less or $500 for nine credit hours or more).
HOPE Scholarship Eligibility: Available to students who graduate from a HOPE-eligible high school with a 3.0 grade point average and are seeking a college degree. Students are eligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship until seven years from the date of the student's high school graduation or successful GED test.
Award: HOPE Grant or HOPE Scholarship award amount will cover approximately 85% of the student's tuition at a public college/university; 74% at a technical college; and up to $2,152 per semester (2021-2022 academic year) at an eligible private institution. HOPE does not cover fees or books.
APPLY AT: www.gafutures.org (for both awards)
PELL GRANT Overview
Eligibility: Applicant must: be an undergraduate student who has not yet earned a bachelor's degree; a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen; have a high school diploma or a GED; or demonstrate the ability to benefit from the program. The U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula to evaluate each person's application. This formula calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which determines an applicant's eligibility.
DECAL SCHOLARSHIPS Overview
Award: The grant ranges from $638 to $6,345 per
academic year (2021-2022). The amount of the grant depends on the EFC and other
factors, including cost of attendance (tuition and fees, including room and
board, books, and meal plans); the amount of time the student plans to attend
college; and if the student is full time or part time.
APPLY AT: www.fafsa.ed.gov
Eligibility: Applicant must be a teacher or assistant teacher for at least 25 hours per week or director, assistant director or a Family Child Care Learning Home at least 40 hours per week employed with a licensed/registered facility working in an infant, toddler, three-year-old or Pre-K classroom in one of the following:
Tenure requirements range from three months to one year depending on the level of ECE credential/degree pursued. Applicant must be enrolled in one of Georgia's technical colleges, or any SACS-accredited, HOPE-eligible, public or private institution. Applicant must be pursuing a credential or degree in early childhood education, child development, or child care administration.
- A licensed child care learning center
- A registered Family Child Care Learning Home
- An exempt Georgia Head Start center
- A Georgia Pre-K classroom in a public school
Award at Georgia Institutions: 80% of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by
HOPE or Pell at public institutions and up to $2,152 per semester (2021-2022 academic year) at private institutions. Award for master's degree is up to
$1,000 per semester. In addition, the approved applicant receives a $250-$500
support stipend per semester enrolled.
SCHOLARSHIPS is funded by Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning through the federal Child Care and Development Fund.
to access the SCHOLARSHIPS for Academic Credit page.
Through the INCENTIVES
program, eligible applicants working in an eligible work setting may receive a maximum of two award payments for earning a Child Development Associate (CDA)TM
Credential and a maximum of four award payments per educational level achieved beyond the CDA as follows:
| INCENTIVES Payments Effective Fall 2014
|| Maximum Numberof Payments
| Introduction to Childcare TCC
| Technical Certificate of Credit
| Technical College Diploma
| Associate of Applied Science Degree
| Bachelor's Degree
| Birth through Five Bachelor's Degree
| Master's Degree
is funded by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning through the federal Child Care and Development Fund.
to access the INCENTIVES