Early Childhood Care & Education Certificate

Make a difference in the lives of young children by providing quality care and education for healthy learning and development. Specialize your skills while you apply theory to practice with children ages 30 months to five years in a variety of early care and learning settings. 

Dual credit options are also available, speak to a recruiter for more details.


Applications for Fall 2021 start will open Thurs, Oct 1, 2020

Where: Campbell River, Comox Valley, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Ucluelet
Starts: See Schedule tab
Length: 1 year full-time; part-time options available
Delivery: On-campus and Digital (Blended)

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With kids, you’re coming from a place of positivity. Everything is new. Your role is to support them and encourage them as they explore the world.” 

Taylor Stern, NIC ECCE certificate grad

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Program Requirements

  • ECC-104 Developmental Journey – Part I
  • ECC-114 Partnerships – Part I – Child Guidance
  • ECC-116 Partnerships II - Advanced Guiding and Caring
  • ECC-124 The Learning Child – Part I – Play & Curriculum
  • ECC-125 The Learning Child – Part II – Planning for Play & the Environment
  • ECC-136 Foundations of Professional Practice
  • ECC-140 Practice Experience I
  • ECC-141 Practice Experience II
  • ECC-142 Practice Experience III
  • ECC-157 Effective Interpersonal Communications
  • ECC-163 Child Family and Community
  • ECC-168 Health, Safety and Nutrition in Childcare Settings

Completion Requirements

  1. Attendance is required in all courses. Students who miss more than 10% of a course may be asked to repeat the course for credit.
  2. To complete the program, students must successfully complete all courses with an overall average of C (2.0 GPA) and a minimum of C- in each course.  A student who fails any course in the program cannot progress until the course is passed.

    In order to repeat a course, the student must reapply to the program in a subsequent offering of the same term in which the failure occurred providing there is an available seat. If in repeating the course, the student fails again, then the student will be removed entirely from the program and can only re-enter by going through the admission process. Please note that the student may be required to begin at Term 1.
    A student who has failed a course, re-entered the program and successfully repeated the failed course, and then fails another course, will be removed entirely from the program and can only re-enter by through the admission process. Please note that the student may be required to begin at term one of the academic year.
    Re-entering the program under any circumstance is dependent on an available seat and at the discretion of the Early Childhood Care and Education department and in consultation with the Dean. Students who fail a course may be asked to complete a learning assessment prior to being reconsidered for re-admission. These regulations are important to the profession to ensure that graduates have the required skills and knowledge, and are therefore deemed safe to practice.
  3. Students are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics of the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia. Failure to adhere to these principles may result in the student being required to leave the program.

Admission Requirements

  1. C in one of Provincial English 12, English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, NIC ENG-096, or ENG-098; or C+ in ESL-092 and ESL-095; or English assessment.
  2. A signed Requisite Skills and Abilities (RSA) document. The RSA document describes the requirements for practice in early childhood care and education. Prospective students need to review these and decide whether they believe they are able to meet them. Should you have concerns about being able to meet the RSA’s, please contact the ECCE Department Chair.

Priority Admission for Aboriginal Applicants

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has provided Special Program approval to allow priority admission for a selected number of self-declared Aboriginal applicants to this program beginning in September 2013. For more information please refer to NIC's Aboriginal Education Services program page or contact an Aboriginal educational advisor at your local campus.

International Language Requirements

If you are applying as an international student, you must meet NIC international admission requirements.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

Before Classes Begin

Once accepted to the program, but before classes begin, the student will be required to:

  1. Complete a Solicitor General Consent for Criminal Record Search form. This form will be sent to you from the admissions office once you are offered a seat in the program. Processing costs will be incurred by the student.
  2. Hold a current Child Care First Aid certificate OR take the required course offered at North Island College during the first month of the full time program. Students who provide proof of a current equivalent certificate are not required to duplicate this training. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain certification throughout the program.
  3. Full-time students will be required to submit a Portfolio containing the following documentation on the first day of class. Note: Part-time students will be required to submit the portfolio and their First Aid certificate to their practicum instructor before beginning their practice placements.
    • Completed Personal Immunization form. This form will be sent to you by the admissions office when you have a seat in the program. It must be validated by a health care professional, ie. a physician or public health nurse at your local health unit.
    • Two (2) character reference letters attesting to your good character, temperament and ability to work with children.
    • A current resume.

Transfer Credit & Credit For Prior Learning

Students with previous course work from another accredited institution may apply to transfer course credits to NIC. For more information refer to Steps to University Transfer or contact Student Services.

Your previous life, work or study experience, unassociated with formal education, may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). Your knowledge and skills will be evaluated to determine if you meet the objectives for selected courses up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the program. To qualify for PLAR, you must apply to the program and meet all the program requirements. The fee for each PLAR course is 75 per cent of the regular course fee. Refer to NIC policy #4-10: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. For information about which courses qualify for PLAR please contact the program department chair.


To Be Successful

Skills required to be successful in the program include but are not limited to the following:

  • communicate effectively
  • build relationships
  • work as part of a team as well as work independently
  • maintain confidentiality
  • demonstrate the ability to follow directions
  • display a positive attitude toward attendance and punctuality
  • maintain satisfactory level of academic theory and practical application
  • demonstrate a reasonable attitude toward self-directed learning
  • maintain appropriate energy levels and good physical health
  • develop capacity to maintain own mental stability
  • problem solve to develop own professional development
  • demonstrate basic computer literacy

Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.

Laurie Tulloch

Laurie Tulloch

Department Chair, Faculty

Early Childhood Care

Subjects: Early Childhood Education
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000 ext. 4218 | Location PNT - 105

Paula Avender

Paula Avender

Early Childhood Care

Campbell River Campus 250-923-9764 | Location CWG - 229
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000

Cathy Batho

Cathy Batho


Early Childhood Care

Masters in Early Childhood Education (University of British Columbia, 2015)

Subjects: Early Childhood Education
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5063

Katrina Connell

Katrina Connell
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8722 | Location SOU - 116

Theresa Gereluk

Theresa Gereluk

Department Chair, Faculty

Early Childhood Care

Masters of Learning and Technology (Royal Roads University, 2013)

Subjects: Early Childhood Education
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8766 | Location SOU - 116

Leighann Ruel

Leighann Ruel
Port Hardy Campus 250-949-7912 ext. 2855

Program Highlights

The Early Childhood Care & Education certificate can be completed full time in 10 months or on a flexible, part-time basis.

Full-time option:

During the first term, you are introduced to the fundamental principles of child development, health, safety and nutrition for the caregiver and the child, as well as positive child guidance. You will also have opportunities to plan early childhood play-based activities in the areas of art and literacy.

The second term builds on the content from Term 1, developing further into studies of child guidance and the foundations of professional practice. You will explore responsive learning environments and different curriculum models, including emergent and project-based curriculum.

In addition to scheduled classes, you will participate in a variety of practicum experiences. This allows you to explore different models of child care and different early learning environments. You will begin your practicum experiences with a focus on observation and will advance to implementing curriculum and working directly with children.

In the third term, you will participate in a field placement four days a week, working with a mentor while planning and implementing curriculum. Some classroom work is also required, such as participation in seminars and attendance in the Child, Family, and Community course.

Part-time options

A flexible approach of study allows you to create the schedule that works with your lifestyle. A range of part-time options from a single course to multiple years of study are available and should be discussed with the department chair or instructor on an individual basis.

Program graduates receive NIC's Early Childhood Care and Education certificate, which fulfills the provincial ECE curriculum requirements for certification and employment in the early childhood education sector in BC. Requirements for your BC Early Childhood Educator certification (including 500-hours of work experience) are posted on the BC Early Learning website.

Career Opportunities

Early Childhood Care and Education Certificate
Employment opportunities in the field will increase with further training and work experience. The Early Childhood Care & Education certificate prepares you to work with young children of varying abilities from 30 months to five years, in a variety of early learning settings. Program completion is the first step toward your BC Early Childhood Educator certification. This program also provides opportunities for you to work with children and their families in other related fields.
Qualify as an Early Childhood Educator Assistant
Assistant certification enables you to care for children under the supervision of a fully certified early childhood educator. To qualify for ECE Assistant certification, you must complete at least one for-credit post-secondary course in an approved ECE training program in one of the following areas:
Graduates of the Early Childhood Care & Education certificate or Educator Assistant course(s) applying for their BC Early Childhood Educator certification should forward a copy of their official college transcript, along with their application, to:

Early Childhood Education Registry
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Victoria BC V8W 9R4
Toll-free: 1-888-338-6622
In Greater Victoria: (250) 356-6501
Email: eceregistry@gov.bc.ca
If you plan to continue your education, you may enter the NIC Early Childhood Care & Education diploma program, or you may choose to transfer your certificate credentials to a program at another post-secondary institution. Many institutions will recognize the certificate program for block transfer credit. The opportunity to continue into a degree program in child and youth care is also available. You should contact an educational advisor at your university of choice for information regarding admission and transfer credit.

Practice Experience

Practicums are an essential component of the Early Childhood Care and Education program, giving you the opportunity to put your theory and knowledge into practice under the direction of qualified early childhood educators. Before beginning your practicum, you will have opportunity to consult with faculty to collaboratively plan your practicum placement. Please note, while the majority of practicums occur where you live, it may be necessary to complete a practicum outside of your community. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from practicum settings.

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Tuition $3,427
NISU Fees $205
Lab Fees $50
Books $1,000
Learner Resource $221
Health and Dental $275
Total $5,178

Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).

Book costs noted are estimates for planning purposes.  Accurate book costs are available by course through the NIC book search.

Find out if this program is eligible for Student Aid BC funding.

This program is tuition refund Category 1.

International Fees

Tuition $16,728
NISU Fees $205
Student Services Fees $1,255
Lab Fees $50
Books $1,000
Learner Resource $221
Health and Dental $275
Total $19,734

Additional costs for International students are the $100 application fee (required).

Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).

For more information on tuition costs and refunds refer to International Tuition and Costs.

Book costs noted are estimates for planning purposes.  Accurate book costs are available by course through the NIC book search.

Start Dates for upcoming ECCE certificate:

Comox Valley at St. Joe's: March 31, 2020 - June 27, 2020, part-time evening and weekend; full-time, September 2020 - April 2021 
Dual credit options available.


Comox Valley, Port Alberni, full-time: Sept 2020
Campbell River, Port Hardy, Ucluelet/West Coast, part-time: Sept 2020


Note: NIC will be offering a full-time diploma coming in Fall 2020 in Comox Valley. This offering is not available to international students.