University of South Carolina


Early Childhood Education: What to Expect

The Early Childhood Education program at the University of South Carolina prepares students to work with children from birth through third grade. The program is committed to preparing students to work in diverse communities and to meet the needs of all children. As an Early Childhood Education major, you will spend time in classrooms at the nationally accredited on-campus child development center and in many schools throughout the Columbia area. You will learn key strategies for working effectively with diverse populations to support children’s learning, growth, and development and how to work effectively with all children’s families. Through challenging and hands-on coursework, you will become adept at developing meaningful learning opportunities aligned with South Carolina learning standards and other guidelines and at assessing children’s progress in mastering those standards in academically and culturally appropriate ways.

The following courses fulfill the education core for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Early Childhood Education:

  • Classroom Inquiry with Technology
  • Learning Through Community Service
  • Schools In Communities
  • Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Practicum: Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Introduction to Classroom Assessment
  • Introduction to Exceptional Children

A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Early Education faculty members have led a trip to Reggio Emelia, Italy during Maymester for more than five years. On this trip abroad, you will learn about the unique Reggio approach to curriculum and benefit from staying with families and being immersed in the Italian culture. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As an Early Childhood Education major, you may be interested in joining Kappa Delta Pi, Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA), South Carolina Educators Association (SCEA), National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Future Educators Association. SCEA and PSTA are two state organizations that support their members by offering professional liability insurance, PRAXIS workshops, website access, periodicals, and a statewide network of members. Kappa Delta Pi is a national educational honors society that provides access to the website, conference opportunities, publications, online assistance, and a campus network for social services. You can also join the Future Educators Association, which offers students the opportunity to build community with other future teachers, participate in fundraisers for educational purposes, and provide multiple services to the community. You can also find other student organizations on campus that interest you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many graduates pursue Early Childhood graduate degrees. Other popular degrees among Early Childhood Education majors include graduate programs in Language and Literacy, Speech Pathology, and Special Education.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. The College of Education offers more than 30 scholarships each year for education majors.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Early Childhood Education students engage in a wide range of internship opportunities beginning in their sophomore year through graduation.

Career Opportunities

Typical undergraduates who become certified in Early Childhood Education work in public school classrooms from pre-kindergarten through third grade. There are also employment opportunities in childcare or agencies addressing the needs of children and families upon graduation. Within the first five years after graduation, Early Childhood Education Majors typically earn a salary of $37,000 to $43,000.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the College of Education

The College of Education prepares students for professional careers as educators or athletic trainers through focused studies and extensive field experiences in personal settings.  The College offers five majors including Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, Physical Education, and Athletic Training. The College also offers Masters in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy, and Teaching. Doctoral degree programs in Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy, and Teaching and Learning, and curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in curriculum studies are also offered. All undergraduate programs emphasize putting theory, methods, and skills into practice in real professional settings. Students are also exposed to extensive fieldwork in schools throughout the program for those seeking teacher certification and in athletic training settings for those enrolled in the athletic training program.

Points of Pride

  • All teacher preparation programs in the College of Education are fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teach Education (NCATE).
  • The Athletic Training program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Additional Resources
Early Childhood Education Website
College of Education Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin