Program Spotlight: Early Childhood & Youth Development

Make a lasting difference in the lives of children

The Early Childhood & Youth Development (ECYD) program at Dakota County Technical College trains students to work in an indispensable vocation with a huge variety of career options. Professionals in this field work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children and youth, and children with differing abilities. Workplaces include homes, schools, community centers and public agencies.

Child advocacy and social service are additional career options. Child life assistants may work in clinical and non-clinical settings with young children or youth who have special health needs.

In 2019, the ECYD program was ranked #37 in the United States by The Best Schools on the independent organization’s list of The Best Online Associate’s in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs.

Faculty perspective

Dawn Easley

If you have a big heart and want to serve children and families, our program is for you. We prepare students for a variety of career choices in early childhood, including teacher, paraprofessional, center director, parenting coach, child life assistant and much more!

One advantage of our program is students gain experience while completing education courses—and many of our students enter the field right away or transfer on after DCTC to a bachelor’s degree program.

Students can complete our program on campus or online. Our program faculty have advanced degrees, direct experience in the field, and strong relationships with industry professionals. We can’t wait to meet YOU and be part of your academic journey!

Dawn Easley
Early Childhood & Youth Development Faculty
Faculty Shared Governance Vice-Chair
Equity & Inclusion Council Co-Chair
651-423-8315
BIO

ECYD degree, diploma and certificate options

Early Childhood Education A.S. Degree

This program is designed to prepare students for transfer to an early childhood teacher licensure program. Students learn about child development, guidance, professional relationships, nutrition, health & safety, cultural sensitivity, and techniques for promoting learning in young children. Courses meet Minnesota Department of Human Services educational requirements for teachers and assistant teachers in a child care setting. This program is available in the classroom on-campus and also online.

Child & Family Studies A.S. Degree

This program delivers a broad scope of knowledge and skills necessary for working with, or on behalf of, children and families in a variety of non-teaching career fields such as human service agencies and services, home visiting, coaching, early childhood management, and child life. Students learn about child development, guidance, professional relationships, nutrition, health & safety, cultural sensitivity, and techniques for supporting children and families in a variety of settings, including therapeutic sites. This program can be used to focus on preparation for Child Life assisting. This program is available in the classroom on-campus and also online.

Early Childhood & Youth Development A.A.S. Degree

This program prepares students for employment in a variety of early childhood and youth settings. Students learn about child development, guidance, professional relationships, nutrition, health & safety, cultural sensitivity, and techniques for promoting learning in young children. Courses meet Minnesota Department of Human Services educational requirements for assistant teacher and teachers in a child care setting or paraprofessionals in the elementary school setting. This program is available in the classroom on-campus and also online.

Early Childhood & Youth Development Diploma

This program prepares individuals who would like to work in a child care center or preschool as a lead teacher or in a family child care program. This program is available in the classroom on-campus and also online.

Early Childhood & Youth Development Certificate

This program prepares individuals for work in a child care center or preschool as an assistant teacher or in a family child care program. This program is available in the classroom on-campus and also online.

Graduate perspectives…

Courtney Corson, 33, graduated from the Early Childhood & Youth Development program at Dakota County Technical College in 2014, earning her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Today, Courtney owns and operates her own family childcare business, Busy Buddies Early Learning Center, in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. She launched Busy Buddies in 2011 and also serves as a parent coach at The Parenting Tree.

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Lorelei Rein, 42, graduated from Dakota County Technical College in 2013, earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in the Early Childhood & Youth Development (ECYD). She has taken additional early childhood courses at Concordia University. Today, Lorelei is the co-director and a preschool teacher at St. Philip’s Preschool in Hastings, Minnesota, her hometown.

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Ashley Marek, 30, graduated in 2015 with her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Early Childhood & Youth Development from Dakota County Technical College. Today, Ashley works as a program specialist for Eager-to-Learn at Child Care Aware of Minnesota in St. Paul.

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Ashley Marek


Learn more about the Early Childhood & Youth Development program at DCTC by contacting:

Dawn Easley
Early Childhood & Youth Development Faculty
Faculty Shared Governance Vice-Chair
Equity & Inclusion Council Co-Chair
651-423-8315
BIO

Sharon Bergen
Early Childhood & Youth Development Faculty
651-423-8398

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