UNI adds online option for transfer students to earn early childhood education degree

UNI adds online option for transfer students to earn early childhood education degree

Teacher education student standing in front of children playing in a sandbox

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Registration is now open for summer 2024 enrollment for transfer students seeking an online option to earn their bachelor’s degree in unified early childhood education from the University of Northern Iowa. This new online delivery option comes with approval from the Iowa Board of Regents at its February 28 meeting.

The program’s new entirely online option is for students with an associate degree who want to teach children from birth up to grade three in inclusive settings. Matching its on-campus counterpart, the degree follows a unified, blended curriculum that prepares students for teacher licensure and an endorsement in early childhood education in inclusive settings (Endorsement 1001), including a foundation for working with children with special needs and diverse backgrounds in child care centers, preschools and K-third grade classrooms. 

Early childhood and special education faculty in the UNI College of Education will lead the online coursework. In addition, students will complete required field experiences and student teaching to prepare them for Iowa licensure.

“There’s a great need for early childhood educators who understand the needs and potential of these younger students and who are prepared to provide the foundational experiences,” said Robin Dada, head, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and interim head, Department of Special Education, in UNI’s College of Education. “We’re excited to build upon our experience in quality online teacher education to create greater access to teacher preparation programs and more pathways to becoming a teacher.”

The new program complements the original online transfer program leading to the elementary education bachelor’s degree. It began nearly 30 years ago as a “2+2” option for graduates of the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) who had earned their two-year associate degree from the Boone, Carroll or Ankeny campuses and wanted to complete their bachelor’s degree – but from a distance. 

Today, more than 250 transfer students are enrolled in the elementary education online program as well as the Purple Pathway for Paraeducators program, introduced in summer 2022 as an accelerated pathway for working paraeducators to earn their bachelor’s degree. These programs and the new online transfer program for early childhood education are accessible to graduates of all 15 Iowa community colleges. 

The new option adds to the more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates and endorsement programs offered online through UNI. The Division of Online Education & Individual Studies within UNI’s College of Graduate, Research and Online Education provides dedicated staff to recruit and assist students from the enrollment process through graduation and beyond. For more information, learn more or apply to begin coursework in May at online.uni.edu/early-childhood-ba.