Early Childhood Education

Be the person that helps all children reach their potential regardless of their abilities! Our unified program in Early Childhood Education prepares you to be a successful educator in the high-demand area of early childhood education. Two areas of specialization (endorsements) in special education are built into your major meaning you’re highly marketable and competitive when you graduate! The program leads to recommendation for a state of Iowa license that will allow you to teach children from birth through third grade in both general and special education.

Why Early Childhood Education at Iowa State?

  • You’re part of the Human Development and Family Studies Learning Community your first year, connecting you to others in your department and major as well as to resources on campus!
  • You will gain practical experiences in local elementary schools.
  • Part of your education includes over 100 hours of hands-on practicum experience in our accredited, on-campus Child Development Laboratory School.
  • Nationally-recognized faculty will teach your courses.
  • You’ll have access to the latest technology in your classrooms as well as have full access to our on campus Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching.
  • You will take courses from both Human Development and Family Studies and the School of Education. This gives you the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise in the ages, grades, and curricula that will better prepare you to work with children and their families, as well as with other professionals.

Program Information

2024-25 Curriculum Requirements

2024-25 4-Year Plan

Curriculum Requirements

REQUIRED: Completion of two or more years of high school foreign language in one language or one year of university-level foreign language in same language or American Sign Language.

Background Check Policy for Practicum Courses

Faculty Review of ECE Student Progress

ISU Child Development Laboratory School

Early childhood experiences in human development and family studies classes take place in our nationally accredited (National Association for the Education of Young Children) model laboratory school housed on central campus. The Iowa State University Child Development Laboratory School has been educating young children and practicum students alike since 1924.

Each practicum experience you have will be determined by the course content and goals set forth to engage you with each aspect of early childhood teaching.  Based on the course you are enrolled you will spend between one and three hours interacting directly in the early childhood classroom alongside licensed teachers who will supervise and mentor you throughout the experience.

The Child Development Laboratory School offers the unique opportunity to interact directly with young children of all abilities during your educational journey that most early childhood education programs do not offer.

Educator Preparation Program

Once you’ve been accepted to Iowa State University, our Educator Preparation Program (EPP) prepares you for recommendation to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) for licensure. Admission into the Educator Preparation Program is the first step in completing your teacher education. Learn about the options, timing and requirements for the Educator Preparation Program.


As a graduate of the early childhood education program, you are well-prepared for working in early childhood intervention programs, elementary schools, and other childcare centers. You are also able to pursue further education options in graduate programs.

Look at a list of career possibilities inside early childhood education.

Explore graduate programs in Human Development and Family Studies

Career Services
Prepare for your next job or student teaching with Career Services, where staff help you with job or student teaching searches, interview preparation, and resume/cover letter reviews.

To apply for full-time career opportunities after graduation, you can use CyHire, the on-campus Teacher Education FairCareer Services, or TeachIowa.gov.

See where other students have taught with Career Connections.

Get Involved!


Scholarships are available at the university, college, department and program levels. You can apply for most scholarships through OneApp.

Specifically for Early Childhood Education majors, the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children offers scholarships through their Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H.) program. This application process is separate from the OneApp process outlined above. You will need to apply directly on the T.E.A.C.H. website.

Study Abroad Programs

Studying abroad and international student teaching can broaden your educational perspectives and personal view of the world – consider taking your education abroad!

International Student Teaching
Student teaching opportunities are available within various school systems throughout the country and in Iowa. For more information, visit the School of Education Student Teaching webpage.

The HDFS department offers various additional international opportunities through the College of Human Sciences International Programs office.

Ready for the next step!