Bachelor of science Early childhood education & Adolescent development

Union Institute & University’s Bachelor of Science with a major in Early Childhood Education & Adolescent Development prepares you for licensure and to work with children and families in a variety of health, human services, and educational settings. This major encompasses all aspects of human growth and development from birth to adolescence with emphasis on the standards for professional preparation of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Graduates may advance their careers in the early childhood education profession, become an administrator, or even operate an early childhood education program of their own. With the demand for jobs in the early childhood education profession always growing, this degree will empower you to achieve your dream career.

Early Childhood Education & Adolescent Development CONCENTRATIONS

Students who choose to major in Child & Adolescent Development may complete a generalized program or select one of the following three concentrations:

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Early Childhood Special Education

This concentration provides students with the knowledge and skills to work within the inclusive early childhood classroom setting with children who have special challenges. The concentration is built upon an established need for early childhood educators to enhance their skills in preparing for today’s classrooms where a variety of children with varying needs will be schooled.

The focus of this concentration is on best practice and educational accommodation, modification, disability-related laws and regulations, and professional preparation standards and competencies of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Areas of focus may include working in inclusive early childhood education programs, assist children on the autism spectrum disorder, assist with behavior management plans, becoming involved in advocacy for children with special needs.

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Early Childhood Studies

This concentration is for individuals who wish to pursue a career working with young children from birth to age eight, their families, and their communities. Students in this concentration will be expected to understand and apply the standards that serve as the foundation of the early childhood profession. Areas of focus may include infant/toddler programs, preschool settings, home-based service provider, childcare center director/supervisor, family support specialist, or other areas in early childhood education.

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Teacher as Practitioner

This concentration is focused on a sound pedagogical foundation and potentially may provide graduates with many of the required courses needed to apply for teacher certification* in their respective states. The area of focus is early childhood education.

*Note: Teacher certification may be known as licensure or credentialing in other states.


Trauma Studies

The Trauma Studies Concentration focuses on the knowledge and skills relevant to working with children or adults suffering from trauma. The concentration examines trauma-informed practice and intervention strategies for early educators and mental health professionals who will then be able to apply the learned skills in trauma detection, behavior guidance, and intervention strategies in their classrooms. This will effectively accommodate the needs of individuals who experienced child abuse, domestic violence, divorce, immigration, war, and death or dying.

Upon completion of the concentration, students will be able to provide trauma-informed care and environments, as well as resources and support to families.

  • 120 credit hour program (minimum)
  • Full & part-time options
  • Classes start every eight weeks
  • Transfer up to 90 credit hours


General education courses are the foundation of a bachelor's degree and aim to introduce students to the world of critical thinking, written expression, broad philosophical topics, scientific method, quantitative reasoning, and more.

General education at Union Institute & University is different with a purpose. Most colleges have an assortment of “Introduction to….” courses for their general education curriculum - not Union. Our general education courses are topic-based, and they have a direct link to our popular majors. These topics make for a seamless transition from the breadth of general education to the depth of your major.  

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the major in Early Childhood Education & Adolescent Development, graduates will be able to:

Applying Your Degree to Real World Experience

Graduates with an Early Childhood Education and Adolescent Development degree from Union excel in a variety of early childhood education careers. With this degree, you’ll be ready to guide the educational and developmental needs of children, from infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, to adolescence.

  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Early Childhood Education Program Owners
  • Early Childhood Education Program Administrators
  • Home-Visitors

Stay Ahead of State & Federal Mandates

We understand that the changes to state and federally-funded early childhood education programs may seem overwhelming. Union Institute & University is here to help you to stay up-to-date with government mandates and regulations. Earning a degree while working full-time and caring for your family is a balancing act. Our online degree program is flexible, making it possible for you to live your life and learn at the same time.

“I wanted teaching experience and a degree where I can work with children and adults or families. I got the job that I wanted because of my degree. I always wanted to be a teacher and now I am in the profession that I love. I am also a first-generation college graduate.”

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Funding Your Future

We strive to make college affordable. Explore your financial aid & scholarship options. See what makes Union the smart choice.