Early Childhood Education / Special Education Assistant
Early Childhood Education / Special Education Assistant
Associate in Applied Science Degree in Human Services (A.A.S.)
Program Website
Business, Technology, and
Professional Studies Division


The Education / Special Education Assistant option of the Human Services program is designed to meet the needs of students interested in careers as education assistants or teacher aides in schools, day care centers, or similar institutions. Individuals currently holding paraprofessional positions in education may use this option to enhance classroom and related skills.

  • Identify and explain the historical and philosophical foundations of American education;
  • Interpret current issues facing educators on the basis of study and research;
  • Evaluate how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners;
  • Conduct small instructional groups under the supervision of a teacher;
  • Tutor individual students in selected subjects;
  • Implement lesson plans that have specific learning outcomes and procedures, support inclusion, and reflect differentiation of instruction;
  • Demonstrate the use of classroom technology for instructional, adaptive, and enhancement purposes.

Although some of the required courses are offered in the evening, the complete option will require daytime attendance either full-time or part-time. During the Spring semester of the sophomore year, the student has an intensive 15 to 20 hours per week field experience in classrooms under the supervision of skilled teachers. Arrangements for the field experience must be made during the preceding Fall semester.

By careful selection of electives, students interested in working with special populations may become qualified as special education assistants. Consult an Education program advisor for more information.

Admission to the program requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and competency in English as demonstrated through placement testing.

Students who have completed this program have found employment in public and private schools, day care centers, and similar institutions.

Graduates of the program have transferred to various four-year colleges and universities including The College of New Jersey, Rowan University, Georgian Court University, Rider University, and Rutgers University. This program is not, however, designed for transfer, and some loss of credit may be expected depending upon the transfer institution and the intended program of baccalaureate study.

Education (K-12) degree program

2023-2024 Academic Year
 earlier / Archive
CIP 440000

The course sequence below represents a recommended example of how this degree program can be completed in two years, presuming a Fall Term start and satisfaction of all Developmental Studies (foundation courses) requirements and prerequisites. Actual approaches toward completion depend on each student's anticipated transfer institution, career objectives, or other individual circumstances.

Students are encouraged to meet regularly with an academic advisor or Success Coach to consider options, establish plans, and monitor progress.

Code Course (lecture/lab hours) Credits
To Do This Semester
CSW 100 College Success and Personal Wellness (2/0)
  • Some exemptions apply. Consult academic advisor for details.

✔ Meet with your faculty advisor to complete an academic plan. Make sure you are aware of any course prerequisites you may need to take, and how long it will take to complete your degree.

✔ Use your online tools: Check your MercerMail daily, utilize features of Office 365, and get to know Student Planning.

✔ Take advantage of Learning Centers or Online Tutoring to support your studies and assignments.

EDU 109 Introduction to Education: Foundations, History, and Trends of American Education (3/0) 3
ENG 101 English Composition I (3/0) 3
LAS 101 Introduction to Liberal Arts Studies (1/0) 1
MAT 120 Mathematics for Liberal Arts (3/0)  
  OR 3
MAT 125 Elementary Statistics I (3/0)  
PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology (3/0) 3
CMN 111 Speech: Human Communication (3/0)  

✔ Transitioning to college can be challenging. Meet with your Success Coach for guidance and support.

✔ Apply for financial aid by May 1.

✔ Contact professors with questions and use their office hours to develop a connection. Talk with them to get the inside scoop on how your profession works.

✔ Be sure to visit the Career Services office to explore jobs, internships, and career information and get help with your resume and other career tools.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at www.mccc.edu/m-scholarships.

  OR 3
CMN 112 Public Speaking (3/0)  
EDU 102 Introduction to Exceptional Children (3/0) 3
ENG 102 English Composition II (3/0) 3
PSY 206 Child Development (3/0) 3
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology (3/0)  
  OR 3
SOC 104 Sociology of Education (3/0)

EDU 120 Introduction to Early Childhood Education (3/0) 3

✔ Keep in contact with each professor and your faculty advisor. Make sure you are on track to graduate on time.

✔ Work with Career Services to formulate plans for after you've earned this degree.

✔ Develop team and leadership skills by getting involved in activities and clubs.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at www.mccc.edu/m-scholarships.

✔ Manage your stress! Take advantage of the MCCC pool, Fitness Center, free yoga and Zumba. Reach out for counseling or other support if you need it. Your Success Coach can connect you with resources.

IST 101 Computer Concepts with Applications (2/2) 3
ENG  — Literature elective
  • ENG 222 recommended.
HIS  — Historical Perspective general education elective
  • Select from HIS 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 112, 113.
  —    — Science OR Technology general education elective

EDU 210 Education Field Experience (15-20 hours per week) 6

✔ Get ready to start your career! Begin the job application process.

✔ Discuss your career plans with your faculty advisor. S/he can help you transition successfully.

EDU 211 Education Seminar (3/0) 3
EDU 214 Curriculum and Methods for Early Childhood (3/0) 3
  —    — Visual Arts or Music elective 3
NOTE: Students who have completed the Child Development Associate (CDA) or Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) certificate can receive 6 education credits for that work after having satisfied English and math requirements.
NOTE: Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all EDU courses to graduate.