High school students and adults who enjoy working with young children in a classroom setting should consider pursuing a career in early childhood education. Florida has one of the most innovative and state-of-the-art post-secondary schools available for students interested in early childhood education: Immokalee Technical College.
Immokalee Tech College, or iTECH, has one of the newest, most sophisticated learning centers of any technical college in Fort Myers. Explore our Immokalee campus. All our programs encourage real-world learning experiences, immersing students in practical applications of the knowledge they obtain in the classroom. Our combination of classroom and laboratory/clinic coursework is what sets us apart from other technical schools in Florida.
What Makes Immokalee Technical College Special?
The Early Learning Childcare Center on the Immokalee Tech College campus presents a unique opportunity for Immokalee Tech College students to interact with children face to face in a supervised, safe, and secure environment. The Department of Children and Families approves our program for 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old children. The Little Indian Early Learning Center is open to the public.
iTECH’s Little Indians Early Learning Center doubles as a learning lab for students involved in early childhood education. Florida students looking for an educational experience that takes them outside the classroom won’t find a better fit than Immokalee Tech College. Students in our Early Childhood Education program must complete at least 480 hours inside the Little Indians Learning Center. This time gives them real hands-on experience working with preschool children.
Outside the learning lab, our students prepare for tests and credentials the state requires of childcare workers. These include:
- National Child Development Association (CDA) credential documentation
- National CDA exam
- Florida Childcare Center Staff-Credentialed Employee status
- National Child Development Council requirements
- Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) certification
- Early Childhood Professional Certificate (ECPC)
The Immokalee Technical College not only prepares students to fulfill these requirements to work in early childhood education in Florida, but it also readies them to work one-on-one with children. Our comprehensive Early Childhood Education program touches on all the bases necessary to prepare students for jobs in the industry after graduation. From the fundamentals of early childhood education to learning how to communicate with parents, iTECH students will be able to do it all. Learn more about our Early Childhood Education program.
Courses Required for the iTECH Certification
The career certification programs at Immokalee Technical College are rigorous, engaging students in relevant activities, projects, and assignments. Our mission at iTECH is to sculpt students into capable and prepared employees. To prepare for employment in early childhood education in Florida, students need to receive the ECPC and fulfill basic proficiencies toward the CDA. The Early Childhood Education program at iTECH makes both these goals possible.
During classroom and Little Indians learning laboratory hours, students learn the attitudes, skills, and information the state demands of childcare workers. Immokalee Tech College has designed the courses in this program to provide students with the tools necessary to earn gainful employment as educators, lead preschool teachers, daycare operators, and child development specialists. Here’s what the required courses will teach you:
- HEV0870: Childcare Worker, Part 1. In this course, students learn the basic principles of health and safety, as well as typical characteristics of preschool children and how to guide their behavior effectively. Students will move to the Little Indians classrooms for hands-on experience. When not working directly with the preschoolers, students prep for DCF-mandated exams and create portfolios documenting their knowledge and skills. 150 hours.
- HEV0871: Childcare Work, Part 2. Students will prepare to take the remaining DCF-mandated tests and continue to put together portfolios. They will assemble the required documentation for Florida ECPC and national CDA credentials. Students also assist toddler and voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) teachers, executing the role of teacher’s aides. 150 hours.
- HEV0872: Teacher Aide. In the roles of preschool teacher aides, students learn about lesson planning, curriculum development, and classroom management. They design activities that are developmentally appropriate for preschoolers and guide the children through them. Students receive peer group and teacher support. 150 hours.
- HEV0873: Preschool Teacher. Students will gain skills in the areas of motivating young children, mentoring them, and recognizing cultural differences. They will also learn how to differentiate instruction for special-needs children. This course prepares students to be preschool teachers upon graduation. Students will focus on professional development, preparing for the CDA exam, and finalizing portfolios. 150 hours.
If you enjoy working with and caring for young children in the classroom setting, iTECH’s program for early childhood education in Florida may be for you. Browse our full course catalog.
How to Acquire the Early Childhood Education Certificate
Students must take 600 hours to qualify for the certificate of early childhood education. Florida students cannot count absences toward their program hours, in accordance with the guidelines for the ECPC and the CDA Certificate. Students who successfully finish the iTECH’s program’s competencies, as well as satisfy basic skill levels according to state guidelines, receive the iTECH Career Education Certificate. Students who meet DCF guidelines also receive the ECPC certificate. Immokalee Tech awards students who meet the National Child Development Council requirements with the CDA Credential.
To get started on a certificate in early childhood education, Florida residents can apply to Immokalee Tech College. Admissions requirements for entry into the Early Childhood Education program include having a high school diploma or GED and being at least 18 years of age. Part of the iTECH admittance procedure is to take the Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE). To enroll in our childhood education program, you must make TABE scores of at least:
- Reading 9
- Math 9
- Language 9
Unless you’re exempt from taking the TABE altogether.
Contact an Immokalee Tech College adviser at (239) 377-9900 to talk about your application in greater detail. Our advisers will walk you through the process and schedule your time to take the TABE, if applicable. Get in touch with us to start your journey toward a successful career in early childhood education. Florida residents can dial (239) 377-9900 or (239) 658-7080 to speak with an Immokalee Technical College representative today.