Early Childhood Education B.A. with Grades PK-4 Certification

Early childhood educators play a vital role in fostering children's intellectual and social development during their formative years. The program Early Childhood Education (ECE) B.A. with Grades PK-4 Certification prepares teachers for preschool through Grade 4 in public and private educational institutions. The program leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree and the Pennsylvania Instructional I in Grades PK-4 Certificate. Students may expand their certification to the middle-school level by taking an additional certification exam. This teacher preparation program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

The program with daytime classes is offered on main campus. The program with evening classes for adults is offered on the Pottsville campus.

Experience a synergy of engaging student learning environment, diverse field experiences, enriching student teaching, and inspiring mentorship by education professors and PK-4 cooperating teachers.


Estimated Program Length2-4 years
Credit Hours81 (may vary depending on transfer credits)
Course Length7 weeks
Transfer Credits Accepted75
Cost per Credit$640*

*Tuition discount available. Ask for details!


Teaching Certifications in Pennsylvania

To become a certified teacher in Pennsylvania, a person needs to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher preparation program, pass a certification test, and receive an instructional certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Read more about this process. Learn more about it here.

Education Student Organizations, Awards, and Scholarships

Gain experience and build your professional network through participation in the education student organizations and service learning in various educational settings. Join the community of education majors who offer support and comradery. Make a difference in children's lives. Learn more here.

Adult Education Programs

Getting Started

Program Requirements

Academic Performance

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Earn Grade C or better in the required general education and professional education courses

Field Experience

Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences including: 

Read about the requirements for education field experiences

Teacher Candidacy

Teacher candidacy signifies a formal admission to the teacher preparation program. Achieving a teacher candidacy status is required for taking the upper division education courses, pre-student teaching, and student teaching. Students must apply by the end of their sophomore year. Mid-degree transfer students must apply by the second semester of their studies at Alvernia University. The achieve a teacher candidacy status, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Earn minimum of 48 credits including 6 credits of math, 3 - English composition, and 3 - American/British literature with earned Grade C or better 
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences
  • Apply for teacher candidacy and receive an approval from their education faculty advisor and the Education Department Chair

Student Teaching

Student teaching occurs during the last semester in the program and includes two 14-week placements in PK-4 classrooms. To be admitted to student teaching, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete the required general core and professional education courses except ED 470 & ED 472 with Grade C or better
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences

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Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective students may apply to Alvernia at any time. Multiple start dates throughout the year allow accepted students to begin a program of study at an accommodating time. We continually review applications and accept students for each of the six term starts (August, October, February, March, May, and July).

Keeping on track is important throughout the process. We encourage you to work with an admission team member to submit all materials and meet all deadlines. Our dedicated team will work directly with you to identify the best options that work for you and your unique situation.

Once your application is complete, you will not have to wait long for a decision. We continually review applications and notify students as soon as a decision has been made.

To get started, visit our Adult Education Application page for a list of instructions and documents needed.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email sfs@alvernia.edu.

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Elementary education
Why Alvernia?
• The Early Childhood Education Program is among three teacher preparation programs in Pennsylvania and 23% nationwide that were ranked as “Grade A” for preparing students to teach reading by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
• Alvernia University is a nationally ranked comprehensive regional university that has been a leader in adult education for over 35 years.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meets the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• With world-class facilities and resources and a dedicated advisor team to help you balance your studies, family, financial and work demands, Alvernia is the ideal choice for your personal and educational comeback.

Program Overview

Program Mission

The PK-4 Program is built on a solid foundation of the principles of child development.  It focuses on the whole child as it prepares highly-qualified, highly-effective candidates to meet the many and diverse needs of young children in a global society.


81 credits (Number of credits may vary depending on transfer credits)

Required General Education Courses

  • MAT 105, Math for Teachers: Principles of Mathematics
  • MAT 106, Math for Teachers: Geometry
  • MAT 208, Probability & Statistics
  • HIS XXX (any History course)
  • BIO 102, Fundamentals of Biology or BIO 109, Human Biology
  • PSY 101, Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 312, Psychology of Play

Note: The University requirements are met as follows: Exploring the Natural World (6 cr.) - MAT 105, BIO 102/109; Individuals & Communities (3 cr.) - PSY 101; Human Diversity (3 cr.) - SPE 110. Other general education courses may vary depending on a selected path of knowledge.

Professional Education Courses

Year 1

  • SPE 110, Overview of Human Exceptionalities
  • ED 110, The Teaching Profession

Year 2

  • ED 204, Human Development & Learning
  • ED 209, Planning & Preparation (pre-reqs.: ED 110, ED 204)

Year 3

  • ED 313, Managing Classroom Learning Communities (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 320, Assessment & Evaluation
  • SPE 315, Teaching Reading/Language Arts to Students with Disabilities
  • ED 302, Principles of Writing Instruction (pre-req.: SPE 315)
  • ED 370, Introduction to Inclusive Instruction for English Language Learners (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 445, Principles of Universal Design for Learning (pre-reqs.: ED 209, SPE 110)
  • ED 425, Curriculum & Instruction in Intermediate Grades

Year 4

  • ED 403, Reading Methods for Elementary Inclusive Classrooms
  • ED 404, Teaching Math in the Elementary School
  • ED 414, Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School
  • ED 440, Teaching Science in the Elementary School
  • ED 436, Field Experience III (150-hour pre-student teaching)

(These fall semester courses are co-requisites.)

  • ED 470, Student Teaching (14 weeks, 2 placements)
  • ED 472, Student Teaching Seminar

(These spring semester courses are co-requisites.)

Note: The University requirements are met as follows: Writing Enhanced - ED 110; Senior Capstone - ED 470 & ED 472.

Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Field experiences, an integral part of the teacher preparation programs, include course-embedded fieldwork, pre-student teaching and student teaching.
Accreditation Statements
  • The Grades PK-4 teacher preparation program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about the average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $61,350.

  • Preschool through Grade 4 in public and private educational institutions.
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Heather Lewis
Enrollment Coordinator, Schuylkill Campus


Get To Know Your Faculty (Alphabetical)

Molly Brobst

Molly R. Brobst

Assistant Professor of Education

  • Faculty

Elena Lawrick, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education / Director of the TESOL & Educational Leadership Programs

  • Faculty
Lucinda Schaeffer Instructor of Education Special Education Headshot

Lucinda Schaeffer, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor / Chair of Education Department/Director of Special Education Programs

  • Faculty
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Mary B. Schreiner, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Education

  • Professor Emeritus