Community College of Vermont is expanding its early education program, as a new report highlights the need for more teachers in the state’s pre-K program. CCV will offer an accelerated, online early child care certificate program this spring.
Diane Hermann-Artim, associate academic dean at CCV, said the program could encourage more people to enter the early child care field.
“There’s a huge need for early childhood care professionals in Vermont,” Hermann-Artim said. “More and more they’re being asked to take college-level courses as part of their training.”
The early childhood advisory group Building Bright Futures released two reports this week, and the organization said almost 40 percent of Vermont's children under five years of age who are likely to need care have no access to regulated child care programs.
The reports say a shortage of child care workers is one reason why there are gaps in the availability of certified early education programs.
The online program at CCV offers 24 college credits and can be completed in four semesters. CCV says students in the new program can use their credits toward the school’s early childhood education associate degree, and then move on to Northern Vermont University’s online early childhood education bachelor’s degree.
Hermann-Artim said that while the new CCV program could bring more teachers into early education, the teachers already working who need to update their qualifications to remain in certified programs will also benefit.
“Many of them entered the child care field without college-level training, but they’re being asked to take more and more college-level courses and increase their training,” Hermann-Artim said. "So many of the students that we serve are already working in the field.”
According to a CCV press release, "in recent semesters, early childhood education students have enrolled in accelerated online classes in higher numbers than any other program group."
The online program starts later this month for the spring semester.