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Early Childhood Practice Degree

B.A. in Early Childhood Practice

National Louis University’s Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Practice program is designed for students who are interested in early development and education but who do not wish to be licensed teachers.

Choose NLU's early childhood practice bachelor's degree if you:

  • Want to work in child care, infant/toddler care, early childhood social service or other settings that do not require state licensure
  • Want to obtain up to three statewide, widely-recognized Gateways to Professional Opportunity credentials, including the ECE Level 5, Infant Toddler Care Level 5 and the Family Child Care Level 5 and/or the Illinois Director Credential Level II.
  • Are looking for a well-established and highly regarded program
  • Would like to study with a group of students who will work together and support one another throughout the program


Learn more about education degrees offered at NLU >>

  • Work in programs serving children from birth to 5 years old, if those programs do not require licensure, but do require Gateways to Opportunity Credentials
  • Work in environments requiring an early childhood education background, and coursework relevant to supporting infant/toddler development and working with families

Wage and salary jobs in the child day care services industry are projected to grow about 15 percent over the 2008-18 period, compared with the 11 percent employment growth projected for all industries combined.

Center-based child care should continue to expand its share of the industry because an increasing number of parents prefer its more formal setting and believe that it provides a better foundation for children before they begin traditional schooling. However, family child care providers will continue to remain an important source of care for many young children because some parents prefer the more personal attention that such a setting can provide. Subsidies for children from low-income families attending child care programs also could result in more children being served in centers, as could the increasing involvement of employers in funding and operating child care centers. Legislation requiring more welfare recipients to work also could contribute to growing demand for child care services.

National Louis has a 130-year-old reputation for its teacher training programs, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NLU has trained thousands of Chicago-area teachers, and graduated more prestigious Golden Apple Foundation award winners than any other institution in Illinois. In addition, this program is aligned with the standards determined by the State of Illinois’ Professional Development System, the Gateways to Opportunity Credentialing system, which is, in effect, aligned with National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards, to foster the ongoing professional development of teachers.

NLU was at the forefront of the kindergarten movement in 1886, preparing some of the first early childhood teachers to be employed in the Chicago area. Now more than a century later, our National College of Education continues to design and deliver the best teacher education programs. NLU’s early childhood education faculty brings deep experience teaching young children in classrooms, childcare facilities and communities. NLU’s professional portfolio assessment process documents student learning experiences and practices so that graduates may present a substantive body of work to potential employers.

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Practice program requires a minimum of 60 quarter hours or the equivalent in general education coursework for the completion of the B.A. degree. This includes demonstration of competence in all areas of general education. The Early Childhood Practice program accepts the following types of equivalent work: transfer from approved and accredited institutions, appropriate scores on advanced placement tests, and passing scores on CLEP and DANTES examinations.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to this program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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