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The ECE degree is deeply tied to your current or future career working with young children. Your career goals and trajectory are embedded in each course, and we will nourish your current or future in the ECE field. Instructors have also been ECE educators and are right alongside you to support and guide you as you craft your career path.

Courses build on one another, and instructors encourage you to explore your professional identity through the course topics, materials, and assignments. Examples include:

  • Creating a professional philosophy–based on your critical exploration of current and historical themes, research, and early learning approaches as it relates to your personal values, goals, and experiences teaching and learning in the early education field.
  • Applying practice-based assignments at your community based learning site.
  • Identifying your individual strengths and setting professional goals, as you prepare to take the next steps in your career as an early learning professional or to prepare you for applying to graduate school. You will practice searching for jobs, networking, and presenting yourself professionally both in writing and orally. You will also have an opportunity to dive into where you stand on equity as you develop a diversity statement.
  • Creating a senior project that aligns with your professional goals, is grounded in interdisciplinary coursework and the NAEYC standards, and incorporates an equity lens. The project choices are: 
    • Portfolio: choose the highest quality examples of your coursework as artifacts and justify how they illustrate each NAEYC Professional Standard and culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy. 
    • Paper: write an academic paper on a topic related to policy, research, and/or advancing equity in the early childhood field 
    • Project: partner with a community program to develop a project that supports community needs, strengths, and goals, is cognizant of power and positionality while advancing equity, and demonstrates your competencies in the early childhood field.

There are many supports build throughout our program and through UW for advanced students getting ready to graduate, such as:

  • Career & Internship Center: The Career & Internship Center equips Huskies to integrate their holistic UW experience and create boundless futures. They envision a future where every Husky graduates with the skills, experience, professional connections, and academic knowledge to pursue careers that lead to personal fulfillment, financial wellness, positive contributions to workplaces and communities, and continued engagement with the UW family.
  • Resilience Lab: The Resilience Lab promotes well-being at the University of Washington through research, education and strategic programs and initiatives. They work to cultivate a compassionate community, where the holistic well-being of students, staff and faculty is engaged from awareness to action.
  • Alumni networking: You’ll get full access to UW alumni career services, and you’ll join the vast alumni network of Huskies around the world.
  • Graduate school possibilities: The University of Washington offers more than 370 graduate and certificate programs in 120 academic departments across three campuses. The UW Graduate School offers a range of opportunities so you can develop the leadership, communication and personal skills needed for a rewarding life and academic, research or professional career. 


Career Paths

Graduates of this program go on to careers in a host of different fields, including:

  • Preschool teaching
  • Early childhood administration
  • Children’s museums and media
  • Early learning assessment
  • Early learning coaching
  • Education policy and advocacy
  • Education research
  • Family support

The ECE program can also serve as a stepping stone for graduates interested in K-8 education, health related fields, child life specialist, social work, psychology, or other fields related to children’s learning and development


Success Stories

Visit the Student Stories page to read more about the positive outcomes of this degree program.