Early Childhood Education

Teachers and classroom aides are some of the most important people in the lives of children. That's why we are investing in you as you prepare for a career in early childhood education.

  • Free tuition for students who work or have worked in the field.
  • Free laptop for students enrolled in ECE programs.
  • Additional funds to help cover transportation and other expenses.
  • Dedicated student support specialist to help with scholarships and other resources for your success.

ECE programs

Black Hawk College offers three programs designed to prepare you for immediate employment or career advancement as a classroom educator or assistant, or to prepare you to transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelor's degree.

General education courses can be taken on campus or online; program courses are online so you have flexibility with your schedule. All programs include hands-on experience in day care centers or classrooms. We'll help you get started on your best path for success.

Assistant Teacher Certificate
Early Childhood Educator Certificate
Early Childhood Education (AAS Degree)

Scholarships available to cover tuition costs

Black Hawk College is a proud member of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. The ECACE Scholarship Program was created to address the shortage of qualified early childhood professionals in the state of Illinois. This scholarship program provides financial assistance to individuals who work or have worked in early childhood education and are seeking additional credentials and/or a degree in early childhood education.

Current and prospective students can apply for the ECACE scholarship each school year for the duration of the grant (through September 2024). The scholarship funds will cover the cost of attendance after other financial aid has been applied.

To be eligible, BHC students must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
  • Have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Be currently working or having worked in the early childhood field.
  • Be a current member in the Gateways to Opportunity® Registry.
  • Be enrolled for at least three (3) credit hours in one of the following BHC programs:
    • AAS/Early Childhood Education
    • Assistant Teacher Certificate
    • Early Childhood Educator Certificate
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Not be in default on any federal student loan nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant.

The 2023-24 tuition scholarship is available in the state of Illinois for students in Early Childhood Education programs.

View complete scholarship instructions, eligibility requirements and deadline dates.

Apply for the ECACE scholarship.

Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

Transferring from BHC to continue your education

Several Illinois universities guarantee transfer for BHC students who have completed ECE programs.

ECACE Programs at Illinois Universities

Eastern Illinois University
Human Services B.S. with a minor in Early Childhood Program Administration (PDF)

EIU is introducing an ECACE licensure option through the College of Education, tentatively available spring 2023. Contact EIU for updates at admissions@eiu.edu or phone 217-581-2223.

Illinois State University
Early Childhood Education B.A. (PDF)

National Louis University
Early Childhood Education B.A. (PDF)

Early Childhood Education B.A. – Competency Based (PDF)
Licensure and non-licensure options

Infant Toddler Studies B.A. (PDF)
Contact Stephanie Alban Kako | salbankako@nl.edu | 312-261-3733

Northern Illinois University
B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences – child development emphasis (PDF)

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Early Childhood B.S. (PDF)
Licensure and non-licensure options

Western Illinois University
Early Childhood Education B.S. (PDF)
Licensure and non-licensure options
Contact Lindsay Meeker | lc-dennison@wiu.edu

Next steps

Whether you are a current or prospective BHC student, please contact Early Childhood Education Support Specialist Audrie Aden or submit the form. We’ll help you learn more about the Early Childhood Education programs and how to take advantage of the ECACE Scholarship and other support services while you train for a career you'll love.