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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.

In addition, courses in the program can help you prepare to pursue the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification sponsored by the Early Childhood Education Training Institution and the Council for Professional Recognition.

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

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. 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 APU undergraduate programs require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent (i.e. GED).
  • Please read all undergraduate admission requirements before applying to this program and be prepared to submit the required documentation.
  • There is no fee to complete the APU 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 APU admissions representative at 877-777-9081 or info@apus.edu.


Undergraduate Tuition Rates 

Per credit hour: $270 | $250 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers 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

APU 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.

School of Education


School of Education

This program resides in the American Public University School of Education which provides opportunities for practicing teachers to enhance their professional training in critical needs areas such as differentiated instruction, reading and literacy, gifted education, online learning, and educational leadership. We offer programs at all educational levels ranging from undergraduate certificates to masters of education. Undergraduate programs include pre-K child development, family and adolescence studies, and courses in instructional design. We also offer graduate-level certificates designed to enhance your leadership skills as school administrators.

The School of Education also provides individual continuing education courses to help you earn CE credits or meet your employer's professional development requirements. Our online educational courses are taught by the same professors teaching our degree programs. These courses are convenient, relevant, and affordable, and are ideal if you are an educational professional seeking to maintain certification or looking for career or salary advancement.

At APU, we understand your need for flexibility because most of our students are working adult learners balancing school around work and life commitments. This is why we offer 8-week or 16-week online courses that start monthly. Through an online virtual classroom, you’ll communicate with students and professors in forum communities as you work to complete your weekly written assignments on your own schedule from anywhere in the world. And with our mobile application, you can even work offline and upload your assignments when you reconnect.

We encourage you to browse the School of Education webpage to learn more about our what’s happening in the school and to find a program that’s right for you.