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

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The Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Program at Northern Lights College (NLC) provides opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with young children and their families in early learning settings in British Columbia. A variety of delivery methods enables students to remain in their home communities and to integrate theoretical and practical experiences through full- or part-time studies.

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: NLC's ECEC Diploma program is typically completed through a blended model of online, teleconference, and web/videoconference delivery. Face-to-face course offerings are available within the Northern Lights College region or other provincial regions depending on student enrollment or special-project funding.

Students may complete practica in their home communities and/or worksites provided options exist for acceptable placements and opportunities to explore diverse experiences and philosophies can be achieved. Students unable to locate suitable practica placements in their home community may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practica.

Note that some courses require regular access to working with children in an Early Care and Learning Environment.

Students and/or their employers are advised to review NLC’s ECEC Admissions web page or contact ECECPracticaPlanning@warwickbs.org for more information on workplace practica options and criteria.

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.

Students planning on transferring to further post-secondary programs are encouraged to complete ENGL 100 Academic Writing in addition to the Diploma requirements.

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:  .
3a. Domestic students and students from countries that practice Standard Written English must have official transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one of the following English courses with a “C” or higher: English Studies 12, English 12, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, English 050, English 099., or an equivalent course.
3b. Any university-level English course with a "C" grade or higher.
3c. Completion of the NLC Writing Assessment with 100-level 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. International Students and Domestic Students Who Received Their Secondary Education in a Language other than English:
1. In lieu of Item A3 above, international students and domestic students who received their secondary education in French or in a language other than English require minimum IELTs Academic scores of 6.0 overall with no band less than 6.0. On-campus students who received their secondary education in a language other than English are strongly encouraged attend Professional Communications Seminars in the first semester of their program. 

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.

Post-Admission Criminal Record Check:
A valid Solicitor General Schedule B Criminal Record Check (CRC) ("works with children" or "works with children and vulnerable adults") is a is a non-course prerequisite required prior to registration in most of the ECEC Diploma courses.  

 Under no circumstances are students permitted to complete any practical work without having a CRC on file with NLC’s Office of the Registrar. Failure to ensure a valid CRC is on file with the Office of the Registrar may result in a requirement to withdraw from the program.

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 also result in a requirement to withdraw from the program.

Students who have completed a valid Schedule B CRC ("works with children" or "works with children and vulnerable adults") for another organization may share their results with Northern Lights College by completing the Sharing Form. Note that CRCs must be renewed if they expire before the program is completed.

Please see NLC's Criminal Record Check procedures for instructions on how to complete a CRC.

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. 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.
  3. The Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma program accepts applications on an ongoing basis but there is a deadline for applications for each term:: Jun 1 for Fall (September) start; October 1 for Winter (January) start; and February 1 for Spring/Summer (May / July) start.
  4. 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. (Program Completion Guide effective Sept 2020)
  5. 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
  6. Program graduates 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.
  7. 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/.


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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.”