Influence the young minds of tomorrow and create the foundation for their success.

A major in early childhood education can lead you to a meaningful and fulfilling career working with young children. In this program, you'll discover how young children learn and develop through a sequence of relevant courses and hands-on field experiences. If you’re passionate about working with children and want to help guide and nurture them in some of the most formative years of their lives, this major may be right for you.

UNI student McCayla Dahlberg reading a book to a young child

Career Placement

One year post-graduate, 97.8% of College of Education teaching graduates either found jobs or chose to pursue further education.

STEM Focused

We’re focused on bringing out children’s natural curiosity by creating hands-on, interactive learning that will lay a foundation for later STEM learning.

Blended Curriculum

This major certifies you to teach both regular education and special education for early childhood, making it easy to work with students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Interested in Majoring?

Tell us more and we'll send information on how you can succeed with a degree in early childhood education from the University of Northern Iowa College of Education.

Contact us directly at:

Early Childhood Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
SEC 107
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0606

Phone: (319) 273-2167

Undergraduate Majors RFI Form

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Courses & Careers


Here's a course sampling to show a few of the classes you will take as an early childhood education major.

  • Child, Family, School and Community Collaboration
  • Development and Assessment of Young Children
  • Language Development and Emergent Literacy
  • Infant Toddler Curriculum and Early Intervention
  • Guidance and Instruction in Early Childhood
  • Experience in Special Education, Birth-3
  • Administration and Advocacy of Programs in Early Childhood
Plan of Study


More and more, the critical value of early childhood education is being recognized. Here are some career options you can prepare for with your degree and licensure in early childhood education.

  • Pre-kindergarten teacher
  • Early childhood special education teacher
  • Elementary teacher (K-3rd grade) 
  • Early intervention home instructor 
  • Child care director
  • Infant and toddler teacher
McCayla Dahlberg
Shannon Stolen early childhood

Beyond the Classroom

Get Connected.

Join a student organization or an honors society to get connected with other students who share your interests!

Student organizations:

  • Student Elementary and Early Childhood Association (SEECA)
  • Student Literacy Association
  • America Reads

Honor societies:

  • Kappa Delta Pi
  • Alpha Upsilon Alpha, Alpha Chapter 

Apply Your Knowledge.

Here at UNI, we make sure you are ready to jump into your career by giving you professional field experience opportunities beginning as early as your first year. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills in the classroom, including:

  • 100 hours of field experience across three age groups (infant/toddler, preschool and K-3) before student teaching
  • student teaching in early childhood programs throughout Cedar Falls and Waterloo (K-3 and preschool OR Birth-3 Area Education Agency programs)
  • becoming a student volunteer or staff at the Child Development Center 
  • learning how to integrate STEM-focused activities and materials into the classroom through the Iowa Regents Center for Early Developmental Education
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Be Recognized.

Every semester, we recognize incoming freshmen and students for their hard work and accomplishments through awards and scholarships. Below is just one of the many scholarships we offer to early childhood education majors.

The Jean Kelly Early Childhood Student Teaching Award is a scholarship of $1,200 presented each semester to one early childhood education student. Jim Kelly created this award to honor his late wife, Mary Jean, for her commitment and contributions to early childhood education. While selecting a student, the early childhood faculty consider criteria focusing on:

  • Professionalism
  • Content knowledge
  • Pedagogical skills
  • Communication skills
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Child Development Center

The Child Development Center (CDC) is one of our five centers of excellence and a perfect opportunity to gain experience working with young children. The CDC provides childcare and facilitates developmentally appropriate learning for children six weeks to five years of age in each of its five classrooms. You can apply to be either a student staff member or a volunteer at the CDC and receive valuable field experience that is applicable to your major. 

Allison Pattee and kids at Child Development Center