Early Childhood Education at Roxbury Community College

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RCC_early_edPreparing You for a Career Shaping Young Minds

Do you have a passion for caring for and teaching young children? Are you looking for a career path where your creativity will be valued and supported? Are you patient, kind and flexible? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then RCC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program can help you reach your career goals.

RCC_6281Our longstanding ECE Program allows students to gain both the knowledge and skills needed for a successful career in early childhood education. In addition to completing coursework, our students earn six credits from the required internship component. This 300-hour internship requirement gives students hands-on experience teaching preschoolers for 150 hours, and 150 hours caring for toddlers and infants. While there is no formal testing required to join the program, the program is best suited for individuals with a passion for shaping young minds. Like many of RCC’s programs, ECE courses are offered during day and evening hours to allow students who are currently employed to complete the required coursework.

Students who graduate from this program and immediately join the workforce can expect to find employment as a preschool teacher, a day care instructor, or as a teaching assistant in the public schools. Graduates will also have completed the coursework for the director I certification. Graduates can also transfer to a four-year school to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a variety of teaching fields.

To earn RCC’s Associate in Science in Early Childhood Education, students must complete 71 credits of coursework, with 36 credits in early childhood education courses. Upon graduating from the program, you will:

  • be immediately eligible for the Early Education and Care Certification in both infants and toddler, and preschool;
  • be prepared to develop and implement developmentally appropriate lesson plans;
  • be able to incorporate the Mass. Guidelines for Preschoolers in all lessons and activities;
  • become a viable resource for parents by developing a list of community agencies, programs, etc.; and,
  • be prepared to incorporate music, movement, art and drama in your classroom.

If you have what it takes to complete RCC’s Early Childhood Education Program, the next step is to apply to RCC. You can begin the program at the start of the spring or fall semester. If you have questions on the ECE Program, please contact Michelle Howard-Harrell, program coordinator of RCC’s Early Childhood Education Program, at [email protected] or (617) 427-0060 ext. 5179. If you have questions about the enrollment process, please contact our Enrollment Office at 617-541-5320 or [email protected].


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for preschool teachers (excluding those teachers qualified to teach preschool special education courses) is expected to increase 17% in the United States, from 2012-2022. The demand for day care center administrators who are qualified to “plan, direct, or coordinate the academic and nonacademic activities of preschool and childcare centers or programs”1 is also expected to increase 17% over the same term.

Workforce Demands – 2012-20222
Job Title Location Employment 2012 Employment 2022 Percent Change
Preschool Teacher United States 438,200 514,600 +17%
Preschool Teacher Massachusetts 15,160 17,740 +17%
Education Administrators, Preschool of Childcare Center/Program United States 63,800 74,700 +17%
Education Administrators, Preschool of Childcare Center/Program Massachusetts 2,260 2,620 +16%

1,2This  information was provided by http://www.careeronestop.org/ 


As with many careers, the starting salaries in the field of early childhood education vary greatly based on a variety of factors, including previous work experience and job title. In 2014, the median income for preschool teachers in Massachusetts was $32,400 annually, while the median income for education administrators at preschools, day care or child care centers was $51,900. The U.S. Department of Labor provides the following information on the salaries graduates of our Early Childhood Education Program can expect, upon entering the workforce:

Preschool teachers (excluding special education teachers)

Location Pay
10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States Hourly $8.98 $10.58 $13.52 $18.11 $24.46
Yearly $18,700 $22,000 $28,100 $37,700 $50,900
Massachusetts Hourly $10.63 $12.73 $15.59 $20.16 $26.96
Yearly $22,100 $26,500 $32,400 $41,900 $56,100


Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program

Location Pay
10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States Hourly $13.71 $16.78 $21.76 $29.91 $41.88
Yearly $28,500 $34,900 $45,300 $62,200 $87,100
Massachusetts Hourly $16.32 $19.24 $24.95 $34.79 $44.62
Yearly $33,900 $40,000 $51,900 $72,400 $92,800

*These tables, and further information on these professions is available at http://www.careeronestop.org/

RCC_IsamalExpected Degree and Graduation Date: 

AS in Early Childhood Education, May 2016

Isamal Fritzberg has always enjoyed working with children, which is why she decided to study early childhood education.

“I enjoy working with children—I’ve been working with children since I was at UMass Dartmouth, where I completed my work study at a homeless shelter. And, I also worked at Carney Academy, where I taught children how to read, write and speak in English. This is where I first became interested in the field. They didn’t have an ECE program at (UMass) Dartmouth; so, when I found out about RCC’s ECE Program, I decided to transfer here.”

Isamal completed her internship during the fall 2015 semester at the Little Sprouts day care center, at RCC. She spent 75 hours with infants, and another 75 with toddlers. “I learned how to develop a curriculum and participated in activities with the children. I also helped with the daily routine—feeding, diapering, and playing games. I did a little bit of everything.”

After graduating, Isamal plans to transfer to a four year school to obtain a bachelor’s degree. “I’ve actually been offered a job by Tarts Day Care Center; they offered me a full-time job as a lead teacher. I’ll work full-time while I earn my bachelors.”

RCC_MichelleProgram Coordinator and Professor, Early Childhood Education Program

Prior to joining Roxbury Community College in 1994, Michelle Howard-Harrell had a long career teaching young children. She started her teaching career as an elementary school special education teacher for emotionally disturbed children before becoming a middle school resource teacher. She taught and was later head of the Bay Cove Psychiatric Day School at New England Medical Center, where she oversaw the education of 4-12 years olds who were diagnosed with emotional problems that could not be addressed by the public school system.

“There are three attributes that all early childhood ed. teachers must possess,” says Professor Howard-Harrell, “patience, compassion, and flexibility. In this profession, you are dealing with young minds and developing brains—the children you are teaching are exploring their world, and learning new skills every day.”

Professor Howard-Harrell, who has over 20 years of teaching experience, enjoys teaching all of the early childhood education courses at RCC; however, her favorite course to teach is Child Growth and Development. “This course is the foundation for all other ECE courses. Through this course, our students get an in-depth look at the child from conception through the age of five. We examine how the child grows, learns and develops his or her personality.”

RCC_VeronicaExpected Degree and Graduation Date: 

AS in Early Childhood Education, May 2016

Veronica Tomlinson always loved playing “school” and pretending that she was the teacher when she was young. So, it’s only natural that she decided to pursue a career in early childhood education as an adult. After earning her GED at RCC in 2012, Veronica decided to continue her education and enrolled in RCC’s ECE Program.

Veronica completed her internship during the fall 2015 semester at Rosa Parks Day Care Center in Roxbury on Savin Street. “I was working there while I completed my internship. I practiced curriculum planning, assisted with activities practicing fine and gross motor skills, and helped with homework. I gained experience with both toddlers and preschoolers during my internship.”

After graduating from the program, Veronica plans to work full time at the Dimock Center. She already works there, part-time, and looks forward to becoming a full-time member of their staff.

And she has serious words of advice for anyone considering a career in ECE: “You have to pay attention. Make sure that this is something that you want to do. This is hard, and there’s a lot that is at stake. If this is something that you’re studying just to find a job, do something else. The first years of childhood education are crucial for a child’s development. You have to have a passion for this to be successful.”

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