Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma

Do you live near our Dawson Creek campus?

Or are you interested in coming to Dawson Creek to attend our "On Campus" delivery of our ECEC program?
If so, please see the information here for our next ECEC Diploma On Campus cohort Fall 2019 to April 2021.

Program Description

Early Childhood Education and Care students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with young children and their families in diverse early learning settings in British Columbia. Students develop skills through courses and practica designed to integrate academic and practical experiences. This program may be completed on a part- or full-time basis. Students may complete the program within their own community through online delivery.

The Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma program accepts applications on an ongoing basis but there is a deadline for applications for each term:
May 1 for Fall (September) start
October 1 for Winter (January) start
February 1 for Spring/Summer (May or July) start

Career Prospects

- After successful completion of one of HDEC 101, 102, or 103 with a minimum grade of “C,” students may apply to the BC ECE Registry for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) Certificate.
- After completing the first 15 courses listed under “Required Courses” below, students may apply to the BC ECE Registry for an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Certificate.
- Students who complete the full NLC ECEC Diploma will be eligible to apply to the BC ECE Registry for both an Early Childhood Educator Certificate and an Infant and Toddler Educator (ITE) Certificate or a Special Needs Educator (SNE) Certificate depending on their selection of a final practicum course.
- NLC diploma graduates may complete the alternate final practicum course as ongoing professional development in order to apply for the remaining BC ECE Registry certificate to practice. 
- For up-to-date information on licensing requirements, including an additional required 500 hours of work experience (post diploma), please visit http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/ece/ .
- Early Childhood Educators with BC ECE Registry certificates to practice may be employed as educators, supervisors, managers, directors, or administrators of licensed group childcare centres; in Aboriginal early care and learning programs; or in strong start programs, young parent programs, drop-in programs, home visit programs, licensed family centres, out of school care, or preschool programs.
- Early Childhood Educators have also found employment as supported child development workers, holiday destination children's program workers, nannies, and respite providers.
- With additional relevant education (e.g., a Child and Youth Care Degree, Social Work Degree, or an Early Childhood Education graduate degree), Early Childhood Educators may find work as child development counsellors, family resource centre coordinators, child care resource and referral consultants/co-ordinators, licensing officers, ECE researchers, or ECE instructors.


Location: Online/Distributed Delivery

Length: The ECEC Diploma program may be completed over a two-year period of full-time studies that may include Spring and Summer semesters. Part-time study is also an option. For both full- and part-time students, program completion time may vary depending on the availability of courses and on individual course selection.

The program consists of 16 academic/ theory courses (720 hours) and 4 practica courses (650 hours) for a total of 1370 hours.

Start: September, January, May, July

Fees: Current Fee Schedule

Need upgrading first? Start with NLC’s Career and College Preparation program.

Admission Requirements

A. Standard admission requirements are as follows:
    1. Completion of a Northern Lights College Application Form and payment of the related fee.
    2. Copy of government-issued ID with current full legal Name:  .
    3. Official transcripts from all secondary or post-secondary institutions attended, indicating successful completion of one of the following English courses with a “C” or higher: Grade 12 English, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, English 050, or English 099.
       Any university-level English course with a C grade or higher.
       Completion of the NLC Writing Assessment. Performance on the NLC Writing Assessment is used to make recommendations about appropriate course placement.
    4. Submission of completed Program Questionnaire.
    5. Comprehensive letter stating background, interest, and goals in taking the program.
    6. Two current letters of reference written and dated within a year of application, attesting to personal suitability for working with young children.
    7. Current assurance of good health from a physician. The relevant form is included in the ECEC application package available on the program website.

B. On-Campus International Students:
    1. In lieu of Item A3 above, international students studying ECEC on an NLC campus through face-to-face or video-conference delivery require IELTs scores of 6.0 overall with no band less than 5.5. Any students with a score below 6.0 in writing will be required to take English 099 prior to beginning ECE course work

C. Dual credit students:
    1. In lieu of Item A3 above, dual credit students may submit secondary school  transcripts indicating successful completion of English 11 and enrollment in an acceptable Grade-12-level English course with an interim grade of “C” or higher.

D. Students seeking an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) Certificate from the BC ECE Registry:
    1. Item A3 above may be waived for applicants in this category; however, such applicants are advised to be aware of the standard requirement for Grade-12-Level English proficiency.
    2. In lieu of Item A5 above, applicants in this category merely need to indicate an intent to take HDEC102 or HDEC 103 for the purposes of acquiring an ECE Assistant Certificate to Practice from the BC ECE Registry.
    3. Students admitted under this category will be required to fulfill all standard admission criteria if they plan to enroll in additional diploma coursework.

Criminal Record Checks
Note: A Ministry of Justice Schedule B Criminal Record Check (CRC) is not a program admission requirement. However, ALL students must complete a Schedule B CRC before beginning any practical work. Ministry of Justice CRC searches can take from 3 to 6 weeks for completion, so students are urged to attend to this matter at least 6 weeks before the program start date. Under no circumstances are students permitted to complete any practical work without having a clearance letter on file with NLC’s Registrar’s Office. Accordingly, students without the required clearance letter will not be able to complete a practicum or any courses where assignments require work with children, observations of children, or interviews with adults. Prolonged delays in completing a CRC may ultimately result in a requirement to withdraw from the program.

Students who have completed a Ministry of Justice Schedule B CRC for another organization within the last five years may share their results with Northern Lights College by completing the Ministry of Justice Sharing Form.

Students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a CRC but are still enrolled in NLC’s Early Childhood Education and Care Program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program.


Important Notes

  1. The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit StudentAid BC to apply for financial assistance online.  Note that dual credit students are not eligible for Student Aid.
  2. Each student is required to authorize a Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check before participating in any courses involving access to children or vulnerable adults.
    Under no circumstances will students be permitted to complete any practical work in a child care or school setting until NLC has received a clear Schedule B criminal record check from the Ministry of Justice.
    Students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a Criminal Record Check but are still enrolled in the program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program.
    Please see the NLC Criminal Records Check page for completion instructions and more information pertaining to Criminal Record Checks.
  3. Students complete practica within their own communities provided the options exist for acceptable placements. Students unable to locate suitable practicum placements in their own communities may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practica.
  4. The duration of study for the program will vary in length due to course offering schedules, student course selection, and student start dates, but may generally be completed in four semesters (2 years) of full time studies.
  5. The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council. Download the current Program Completion Guide. To review the upcoming Sept 2020 changes to the program please download the Fall 2020 Program Completion Guide.
  6. NLC’s Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma is available in French. For more information on delivery of the program in French, please contact:
    Emilie Dehoubert, Student Advisor
    Collège Éducacentre
    604-708-5100 poste 1404
  7. Program graduates of NLC's English version of the ECEC Diploma are eligible for direct admission into the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Justice Institute of BC logo
    Advanced Specialty  Certificate in Community Care Licensing. Advanced standing is granted for HDEC 104.
  8. Completion of the ECEC program as described meets the educational requirements of the Ministry of Children and Family’s Early Childhood Educator Registry. However, additional profession-related requirements may apply. For more information and how to apply for ECE Registry certificates to practice, please visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/training-and-professional-development/become-an-early-childhood-educator

View the Early Childhood Education and Care Admissions Page

Do you need more information?

ECEC/EA Office: ece-ea-office@warwickbs.org

Our “virtual quilt” celebrates the needs and rights of all children http://vquilt.weebly.com/.


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

One of the following:

Note: An NLC Education Assistant (EA) Certificate graduate who applies to NLC’s ECEC Diploma Program will have the following notation placed on their transcript: “Exemption from ECED109A and ECED150 based on completion of the NLC EA Certificate.”