Early Childcare Education and Programming – Bachelor’s

The early childcare education and programming (E C P) is a fully only bachelor’s degree offered in conjunction with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (or GP IDEA) program that prepares you to work in a variety of early childhood education programs, including…

  • Childcare centers and homes
  • Infant/toddler and preschool programs
  • Head Start programs
  • Before and after-school programs for children ages birth to eight
  • Childcare administration

This online undergraduate program does not lead to teacher licensure. If you are looking for licensure, learn about the on-campus early childhood education major.

About the program

 What is GP IDEA?


Online format

You take all your classes online, studying when it fits into your schedule. Your classes are taught by faculty from each GP IDEA university who are experts in early childcare. Within Great Plains IDEA the program is referred to as early care and education for a mobile society (ECEMS) instead of E C P. Requirements to complete the program online include…

  • A computer that meets all requirements for your classes
  • Web access
  • Email address


The E C P degree requires 120 credits (51 credits of E C P courses plus generation education courses).

Required E C P courses and sequence (51 credits)

Students can transfer in a maximum of 12 credits of the required E C P courses (if available)
Practicum I (3 credits) could be waived in some situations. Refer to ECEMS Student Handbook
General education courses (at least 69 credits)


You must complete the following steps before you are able to take classes associated with the E C P degree.

Work with our Iowa State Admissions Office to apply to be admitted to Iowa State. Follow these instructions to fill out the online application.
You will be expected to have all of your transcripts sent to Iowa State. They should only be sent to the address below and no one else.

Office of Admissions
100 Enrollment Services Center
2433 Union Drive
Ames, IA 50011-2042

You will apply for the E C P major. If admitted, you are considered Pre-E C P. You will then need to follow the instructions sent to you in order to accept your offer of admission to Iowa State University which includes paying the $330 acceptance fee. Part of this fee is a deposit for on-campus housing. However, for students who never contract for on-campus housing, the housing deposit portion of the $330 acceptance fee would be refunded on your first university bill.
Once you’ve paid your admission fee, you will need to complete two orientations. One is the University’s orientation, and the second is the College’s orientation. After you complete both, you will be instructed to contact the College’s Student Services office to finalize your orientation. Student Services will then confirm you are done and assign you an adviser.
Contact your adviser to help you understand what classes transferred if you are a transfer student, go over requirements and prerequisites, and to make a plan.
You will get a Registration Access Number (RAN) from your adviser if you need to register for a general education course or an elective.
If you are eligible to take E C P courses, you will work with your academic advisor and GP IDEA coordinator, to get registered for any E C P courses.

Students are considered pre-E C P until the following requirements are fulfilled:

Completion of a minimum of 30 credits (either at Iowa State or transferred in from another college or university)
Minimum GPA of 2.50
Successfully pass a criminal background check
Completion of Lifespan and Development (HDFS 102 at Iowa State)