Career Pathways

Get started—or get ahead—in education! Free classes prepare eligible students for Early Education & Care (EEC) Certifications and the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential—the nationally recognized credential for early childhood educators! Both are incorporated directly into GCC’s new Certificate in Early Childhood Education program and into our Associate in Science degree in Early Childhood Education!

Career Pathways is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care to support increased program quality and enhance educator career advancement.

Our Pathways

  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education (CECE) – Students earn 18 college credits  Meets requirements for Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Lead Teacher Certification (with 18  months experience)
  • CDA+ Option – Students earn 18 college credits plus complete a Child Development Associate (CDA) portfolio  CDA+ application fee, on-site observation, coaching, tutoring and portfolio development included.  
  • EEC Certification Classes – Free classes towards Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Teacher, Lead Teacher, and Director certifications.
  • All classes are offered at convenient times in a remote or hybrid format.

APPLY NOW for Summer/Fall 2022!

Courses offered Summer Session I.   May 23 – July 11, 2022

  • EDU 133, Early Education and Care Administration, online with required meetings via Zoom, Thursdays 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • EDU 123, Infant and Toddler Care and Learning, online with required meetings via Zoom, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • EDU 201, Early Childhood Curriculum, online with required meetings via Zoom, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:00pm

Courses offered Summer Session II.   July 14 – August 31, 2022

  • EDU 144, Child Behavior and Development, online with required meetings via Zoom, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:00pm

Courses offered Fall 2022.   September 7 – December 22

  • EDU 144, Child Behavior and Development, online with required meetings via Zoom, Tuesdays  6:30 – 8:00pm. (NOTE: this is a 7-week course from 9/07 – 10/26)
  • EDU 101, Introduction to Early Childhood Education, online with required meetings via Zoom, Tuesdays  6:30 – 8:00pm. (NOTE: this is a 7-week course from 10/27 – 12/22)
  • EDU 103, Creativity and Creative Experiences with Young Children, 14 weeks 9/07 – 12/22,  hybrid class online with required biweekly in-person meetings on campus for hands-on studio experiences in the Studio for Creative Thinking and Learning. In person meeting dates are 9/7,  9/21, 10/5,  10/19,  11/2,  11/16,  11/30,  and  12/14.
View of studio space showing seating, shelves, displays
Studio for Creative Thinking and Learning
Showing the light table with exploration of materials
Exploring the properties of light and color in the studio.

What’s next?
Continue your education in the Early Childhood Education associate’s degree program at GCC.  All CECE and CDA+ classes are applied toward your associate degree. Transfer to a bachelor’s degree program with seamless transfer options.

Who is eligible?
Classes are free for anyone currently working at least 20 hours per week in a Massachusetts licensed, or license-exempt program in the field of Early Childhood Education or Out-of-School-Time care or those actively seeking  to begin working within the first 3 months of enrollment. High school students enrolled in an early education program or high school graduates planning to pursue a career in Early Education and Care are also encouraged to apply.

Students must have (or immediately obtain) a current Professional Qualifications Registration number (PQR) and demonstrate college readiness through high school, HiSET/GED or college transcripts, or by taking the college placement test (Accuplacer).

Is it really free?  
Yes! All courses in the CECE and CDA + option are free. This includes tuition and fees, cost of books, and access to career advancement support and enhanced advising.  This is funded through the Massachusetts Early Educator Career Pathways program.

Can I get degree for free?  Yes! If you are pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in community based early education and care you may qualify to receive funding for up to 3 courses per semester. This is funded through the Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship program.

How do I get started: Sign up for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions, review the Career Pathways Application  or contact Felicia Gooler, Program Coordinator at goolerf@gcc.mass.edu. We are ready to answer your questions and help you get on the right pathway!