TCL’s 63-credit-hour Early Care and Education Associate Degree program can be completed in as little as six semesters. Coursework ranges from guidance and classroom management to science and math concepts. General education courses such as English, algebra and public speaking round out the curriculum.

Whether you want to become a child care center director, operate your own licensed family care home or be a preschool teacher, TCL can help you reach your goals.

The program culminates with a semester-long supervised field experience that provides you with real-world, hands-on experience in child care settings across Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper.

Please note, this program does not lead to teacher licensure.

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  • Quick Facts


    Nationally accredited through the NAEYC.


    Learn in the classroom and in the field.


    Complete the program in as little as six semesters.


    Technical College of the Lowcountry is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Degree-granting institutions also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Technical College of the Lowcountry may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website ( y.

    The Early Care and Education career paths are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1313 L St. N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-4101.

    2018 NAEYC Program Outcome Data


    Total Program Tuition: 63 credits x $214 per credit = $13,482.*

    Remember, this is before S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance and other financial aid, which could drop your costs by more than half. In fact, after financial aid, many TCL students attend for free. See more about paying for TCL.

    *Based on Fall 2022 in-state, in-service-area tuition. Your actual cost may differ. Does not include fees, books and other costs. Qualifications vary; all subject to change.

    Kelli Boniecki


    “Employers know that when they hire our graduates, they are getting a highly qualified professional.”

    Kelli Boniecki

    Program Director


    The Career & Education Opportunities

    Graduates go to work in a variety of child care settings, including child care centers, preschools, Headstart programs, public schools, private kindergartens or may decide to open their own private or family child care center. Others choose to continue their education and pursue a bachelor’s degree, as many TCL courses transfer to colleges and universities in and out of state.

    The S.C. annual mean wage for childcare workers is $25,050, according to 2022 reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings can increase substantially with time and experience. For example, child care administrators have an annual mean wage of $55,120.

    Important Additional Admissions Requirements

    Students applying to the Early Care and Education associate degree program must supply the following documentation before registering for courses:

    • An official copy of high school transcripts or Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) transcripts. A certificate of completion will not be accepted as a substitute for a high school diploma or GED.
    • All candidates for the ECE associate degree program must take the Accuplacer placement evaluation unless they have official college transcripts with a “C” or better in MAT 110 – College Algebra or MAT 120 – Probability and Statistics and ENG 101 – English Composition I.
    • Official transcripts must be sent from the issuing College directly to the Admissions Office at TCL via the mail.
    • A copy of the high school or GED transcripts, Accuplacer placement evaluation, and/or college transcripts must be at the TCL Admissions Office before a student can register in the ECE program.

    Program Dean

    Karen Smith

    Dean, Business & Industrial Technologies


    Beaufort Mather Campus, Bldg. 14, Rm. 118


    Kelli Boniecki

    Early Care and Education Program Director


    Beaufort Mather Campus, Bldg. 2, Rm. 246