Early Childhood Education (B.S.)


If you love endless "lightbulb moments," check out our experiential and research-informed program in Early Childhood Education. We prepare you to obtain the state of Illinois Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Education endorsement (teach children from birth through second grade in Illinois public schools), Early Childhood Special Education approval (teach children with disabilities from 3 through 6 years of age in Illinois public schools) and English as a Second Language endorsement. The early childhood education program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education, (ISBE), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and Gateways to Opportunity. Candidates who meet the Professional Education License (PEL) requirements through our program will automatically be eligible to receive the Gateway to Opportunity Level 5 Early Childhood Education (ECE) credential.

Illinois Community College Transfer Students

NIU is pleased to offer an online Early Childhood Education cohort beginning in fall 2024.

Students admitted to NIU to pursue the B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education enter directly into the major program.

  • Admission to teacher education and retention in this major require a university GPA of 2.5.
  • Grades of C or better are required in specific major courses.
  • Current verification of TB test (required for specific coursework).
  • Completion of Safety Tutorial.
  • Students must meet all ISBE testing requirements for teacher licensure.

The NIU College of Education embeds diverse, real-world learning opportunities in Early Childhood Education, offering you valuable experiences you won’t get anywhere else.

  • You’ll enjoy more than 500 hours of direct experience working with young children in clinical settings.
  • If you choose to live in Stevenson Towers’ T.E.A.C.H. House, home to students pursuing any area of teacher licensure, you’ll interact with teacher licensure faculty as well as peers with similar professional aspirations.
  • Our Educate and Engage Program provides hands-on experiences close and far from home.
    • Educate Global sends selected students to China and Taiwan to teach English.
    • Educate U.S. allows selected students to travel to the Houston Independent School District in Texas for an all-expenses-paid week during which they practice their skills and broaden their perspectives.
    • Educate Local provides opportunities to volunteer, observe and participate in various campus, community and educational settings.

When did you start thinking about higher education? First- and second-graders at Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood already picture themselves on college campuses, thanks to some assistance from students in our Open Doors project, part of SEEC 403 (Primary Curriculum). Because some children at Lincoln already doubt that higher education is a possibility for them, our Early Childhood Education majors help them to create “vision boards” that also include the steps needed for success. The Bellwood children love working with our students, who themselves report proud tears and warmed hearts when the vision boards are presented to the class. And while it open doors, the project also opens eyes to the need for teachers in low-income and diverse schools.

  • SEEC 403 Primary Curriculum (3 credits)
  • SESE 240 Introduction to Special Education (3 credits)
  • SEEC 282 Educational Participation in Clinical Experiences (1-2 credits)
  • LTLA 305 Language Development (3 credits)
  • LTRE 309 Emerging Literacy and Beginning Reading Instruction through Age 8 (3 credits)
  • SEEC 340 The Language Arts and Social Studies for the Primary Child (3 credits)
  • SEEC 343 Teaching Science and Mathematics to Children Ages 5-8 (3 credits)
  • SEEC 201 Play Development of the Young Child (3 credits)

Our graduates become teachers in preschool through second-grade classrooms; child care administrators; family services workers; parent educators; resource and referral specialists; family child care providers; and intervention specialists.

Job Fair

NIU’s annual Educators’ Job Fair brings school districts from throughout the state and around the country to interview for teaching positions. Participants are offered open session time with recruiters. It’s a great way to practice your professional communication skills and learn about employment opportunities, with the possibility of invitation-only interviews at the event.