How do we improve childcare?  ECE does it.

Oscar Juarez

The Early Childhood Education Career Pathway is a certificate program designed to accommodate part-time and full-time students. A full-time student can complete the certificate in as little as three terms. Graduates are certified to work with children age birth to six years old. Through the program, they are encouraged to discover what age group appeals to them, and where their passion lies.

{View our online Early Childhood program brochure.}

Qualified childcare and early education professionals are among the biggest needs in Lincoln County. Many local businesses want to hire OCCC graduates because of the robust certificate program. Students who want to continue and earn their bachelor’s degree in education can also transfer to Western Oregon or Oregon State University and earn their four-year degree after completing the ECE program.

Students in the ECE program also get to explore different job sites near where they live for their practicum hours – whether they live in north, central, or south Lincoln County. Some students have even been hired right out of the certificate program at the businesses where they do their practicum. Graduates are currently employed throughout the county at the Lincoln County School District, Head Start programs, Neighbors for Kids, day care centers, private preschools, and others. Resources are also available if students desire to start their own in-home childcare and preschool programs.

The program is divided into three terms:

Fall term includes a multicultural class – students will learn how to incorporate children who come from many cultures and how to use cultural strengths in the classroom with culturally and age-appropriate activities. Fall term also includes an introduction to the ECE field and learning about family/teacher relationships, which can help children succeed. 

Winter term includes learning best practices for children from birth to three years old. Students learn to develop lesson plans, understand development best practices, and learn how to foster children’s growth in five areas – cognitive, language development, gross motor skills, science and mathematics. Winter term also includes 90 hours of practicum where students learn hands-on skills in a childcare setting.

Spring Term classes include learning curriculum for children ages three to six years old, as well as Health & Nutrition and Practicum. As future teachers, students will also learn how to use learning outcomes from the State of Oregon and how to create lesson plans that will meet state goals. Students also learn how to create a nutritious menu, and continue in their practicum. 

Some students can qualify for the STEP program and reduce their financial burden. Financial aid and scholarships are part of the mix as OCCC strives to help ECE certificate students complete without student debt. Learn more about these options, and the program, by meeting with Theresa Harper ( or program director Oscar Juarez ( 

Or, visit