Updated December 2023
It's an excellent time to start an early childhood education career in Quebec.
Early childhood educators (ECEs) are in demand throughout the province. The Government of Canada Job Bank gives this occupation four out of five stars for demand and employment growth for the next few years.
But before you can get hired, you need to get training. The only problem is, there are so many courses to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right fit.
Which early childhood education program is right for you? What features should you notice when researching options?
In this post, we go over five things you should consider when comparing ECE programs.
We also include some helpful questions to ask admissions before you sign up. Find out how to choose the right ECE training and start your career with confidence.
1. AEC VS. DEC
When choosing an early childhood education program in Quebec, one of the first things you need to decide is what type of credential you want.
AEC (Attestation of College Studies)
An AEC in early childhood education is usually one to two years long. It's designed to lead directly to employment.
If you go this route, all your classes will be specific to early childhood education. You won't take any general courses like English or science.
AEC holders are fully qualified to work in daycares, preschools, and special education centres. This is the quickest way to get started in your new career.
DEC (Diploma of College Studies)
A DEC takes at least two years. In addition to program-specific courses, you will also take classes in areas like literature and humanities.
With a DEC in early childhood education, you can enter the workforce or go on to earn a bachelor's degree and become a licensed teacher.
So which one is better? That depends on your priorities.
If your long-term goal is to become an elementary school teacher, a DEC is a good option. If you're hoping to start working as an early childhood educator as quickly as possible, an AEC may be the way to go.
2. EXPERIENCED ECE INSTRUCTORS
You want to learn from early childhood professionals who have extensive experience actually working in daycares and preschools.
So dig into the backgrounds of the instructors who deliver the ECE training. Check what credentials they hold and how much experience they have working with children. Have they worked in a variety of early childhood settings? Do they have experience with different educational approaches and philosophies?
Most schools include instructor profiles on their websites. But if not, ask admissions for that information.
3. A HANDS-ON TEACHING STYLE
A good early childhood education program provides hands-on training that simulates a real daycare or preschool environment.
You want to interact with real materials and learn a wide range of child activities. That way, you'll be better prepared to create and implement an effective ECE curriculum.
4. A HIGH GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT RATE
Does the school offer training that employers respect? Do graduates actually get hired?
One way to find out is to check what percentage of the college's students land jobs after graduation. That tells you how well the college prepares students for the real world.
If you can't find this info on the school website, ask admissions.
Look for a graduate employment rate of at least 80 per cent.
5. CAREER SUPPORT BEYOND AN INTERNSHIP
Under government regulations, every early childhood education program must include an internship. So you will have a chance to connect with an employer and get real-world experience before you graduate.
But what happens when your training is over? Will you get help finding your first ECE job?
See if the college offers:
- Assistance with creating a resume and cover letter
- Help applying to preschools or daycares
- Connections to industry partners who often hire their ECE graduates
- Mock interviews to prepare you for common questions and scenarios
- Lifetime career support (you can go back for help whenever you need it)
Your CHECKLIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK ADMISSIONS
Once you've narrowed down your options for early childhood education training, it's time to connect with an admissions advisor at the schools you're considering. You need to have a complete picture of what to expect before you commit to a program.
Here are some key questions to ask admissions:
- How long is the ECE program?
- How much experience does the instructor have in daycares and preschools?
- Does the ECE program emphasize hands-on learning?
- What percentage of the college's students get hired?
- Which local employers have hired graduates?
- What kind of career support is available?
- How much does the program cost?
- Is financial aid available?
- How soon can you start?
EXPLORE THE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM AT HERZING
Herzing College offers a certificate program in early childhood education that runs for just 14 months, including an eight-week internship. Training can be extended up to 24 months.
This program is designed for students who want to go straight to work (it is not a university pathway program).
Click below to explore the ECE program and chat live with an admissions advisor. Get your questions answered and see if this course is right for you.