The Current Workforce Early Childhood Degree Program is designed for people employed in the early childhood field to receive academic training, financial resources, a supportive learning community, and a connection with advisors to boost their careers and become licensed, highly-qualified educators.

Fully online program to accommodate your busy schedule and allow you to complete a bachelor’s degree in just two years. Course offerings will include courses aligned with both the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards and Gateways Competencies. Students may be fully funded as part of the State of Illinois’ Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE). 

  • Two-Year Program
  • Cohort Design
  • Fully online
  • Affordable
  • Financial assistance

Program Design & Purpose

To attain a Bachelor of Arts degree from Blackburn College a student must meet all degree requirements including courses often referred to as “general education courses.” As a liberal arts college, Blackburn believes a well-informed professional has had opportunities to experience coursework across a wide field of knowledge.  Opportunities to complete those general education requirements are built into the program design. As members of the consortium, Blackburn agrees to accept credit for these courses from other educational institutions, therefore a student may be enrolled in a general education course offered online by another college or university. The program course of study allows time for that to happen in more than one semester.

Who Is Eligible

Individuals currently or previously employed as early childhood professionals who have completed enough transfer credits, given that they can successfully complete the program within two years. Individuals must also be registered with the Gateways system.

  • Applicants must be currently working or have worked in the early childhood incumbent workforce
  • Applicants must complete a transfer review to determine eligibility for acceptable coursework (recommended to have completed 60+ college credit hours)
  • Applicants must be registered with Gateways
  • Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher

Incumbent Workforce

The incumbent workforce is defined as currently working or having worked in the early childhood field, whether licensed or license-exempt, including home-based child care, center-/community-based child care, Preschool for All programs, school-based preschool settings, and Head Start programs that serve children from birth to age 5.

Completion of the Program

Upon completion of the program, you will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education (licensure and non-licensure options) and level 5 Gateways credentials.

Financial Support

In addition to PELL and MAP grants, Illinois residents in this program may be eligible for the new Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) which covers all costs – including books, fees, technology, and transportation.

The first step to financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and use Blackburn’s code 001639.

Academic Support

Personalized attention has always been a major part of the Blackburn College experience – even in an online environment! The Current Workforce Early Childhood Education program will offer:

  • Study groups to prepare for content test
  • Cohort design model
  • Technology support
  • Mentoring support for academic advising, registration, and financial aid

Admission to Program

Complete the application and attach a copy of all college transcripts and Gateway credentials. Our team will review your transcripts and credentials and contact you regarding your admission status.


Questions about the Current Workforce Early Childhood Education degree program or the application process? Please feel free to contact the Department of Teacher Education!

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