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If you love working with young children and want to be part of their development and learning, consider a rewarding career in early childhood.

The Three Rivers Early Childhood Development program prepares you for a career as an early childhood educator and for leadership roles at licensed child care centers, Head Start programs, infant/toddler programs, and preschools.

This program focuses on supporting developmentally appropriate practice and creating high-quality early learning experiences for young children. You’ll also learn management and communication skills for working with staff and parents. Coursework is based on guidelines set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

After earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Early Childhood Development, you can go directly into the workplace. For those interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree, we will work with you on selecting courses that will transfer into university programs.

An In-Demand Career

The demand for qualified early childhood professionals continues to grow due to the number of families that depend on childcare, and as society recognizes the importance of early childhood education. The field of early childhood is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for other occupations.*

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers,
at (visited August 13, 2022).

A Career in Early Childhood Offers Opportunities

Get the education and skills you’ll need to be successful in a variety of settings:

  • Early Learning Centers
  • Head Start Programs
  • Infant/Toddler Programs
  • Licensed Child Care Centers
  • Preschools

Early Childhood Education Pathways

You have a few options for starting, or continuing, your education as an early childhood professional.

  • Get started with short-term certificate
  • Earn a two-year AAS degree and get additional skills to advance your career
  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree for even more opportunities


Earn a Short-Term Certificate and CDA Credential

Three Rivers also offers a short-term certificate program in Early Childhood Development that provides preparation and guidance for obtaining a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition.

Program Outcomes

  • Promoting child development and learning.
  • Building family and community relationships.
  • Observing, documenting, and assessing to support young children and families.
  • Using developmentally effective approaches.
  • Using content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum.
  • Becoming a professional.
  • Early childhood field experiences.
T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Scholarships 2023


Heather Cornman

Heather Cornman

Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Early Childhood Development



Three Rivers College Catalog


Get information about core courses, electives and concentrations in our current academic course catalog.

View College Catalog

Main Campus
2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer Office Hours (June and July): Monday – Thursday,
7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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