If you possess a caring attitude with a desire to make a difference and enjoy working with children, you’ll find a rewarding experience and a career fit for you in our Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs.


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Future Students

Everything you need to know to be successful.



You can become an essential part of a child’s early years, where learning through play is a vital part of development, in our Early Childhood Education programs. We have over 20 years of experience teaching Early Childhood Education, so you’ll be in good hands as you pursue a rewarding career fit for your nurturing personality and love of children.

Offering both a one-year certificate and two-year diploma, our ECE programs are approved for licensing in most provinces and territories and have been designed for flexibility.

The certificate can be taken on campus or online – whichever method suits your life – and can be followed by the fully online diploma. When it comes to hands-on experience, your practicum can be arranged near you.

With this kind of flexibility, it’s easy to get started towards a rewarding career working with young children at any stage of development. Our blend of theory and practical application will arm you with the knowledge, experience and perspective you need to enter this in-demand field.

Develop a career you love – apply for an Early Childhood Education program today!

Career opportunities

When you graduate from either ECE program, your in-demand skills will open up opportunities in:

  • child care centres
  • early learning programs
  • kindergartens
  • preschool programs
  • family group care programs
  • schools
  • parenting centres
  • recreational facilities
Starts In: September and January (on campus and online), May (online only)
Application Deadlines:

For current application status, terms being processed and application deadlines visit the Program Application Status page.

Duration: 1 - 2 years
Credential: Certificate (Year 1) / Diploma (Year 2)

Algonquin College

Applicants with an ECE diploma or ECE equivalency must have an overall average of 70% from the ECE diploma program and have successfully completed the three mandatory bridging courses (Foundations of Social Development, Working with Adults, Legislation and Ethics in Family Services). Applicants meeting these requirements may be admitted to year 3 of the Bachelor of Early Learning and Community Development program. For more information, please contact Algonquin College directly. https://www.algonquincollege.com/healthandcommunity/ program/bachelor-of-early-learning-and-community-development/

Athabasca University

Diploma graduates may receive up to two years’ credit toward Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Professional Arts - Human Services major.

Institute of Technology Carlow, Carlow, Ireland

Graduates from the diploma in Early Childhood Education will be accepted for entry into Year Two of the Honours Degree in Early Childhood Education and Care. Please note, scholarships may be awarded – please refer to website: www.itcarlow.ie (https:// www.itcarlow.ie)

Lakeland College

Graduates from the certificate in Early Childhood Education are eligible for admission directly into Year Two of Lakeland College’s Early Learning and Child Care diploma program.

Medicine Hat College

Graduates from the certificate in Early Childhood Education are eligible for admission directly into Year 2 of Medicine Hat College’s Early Learning and Child Care diploma program.

University of Alberta

ECE graduates may receive up to 33 credits towards the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Science Human Ecology (Family Ecology major/ Child and Youth Studies minor).

Delivery Format
Blended (classroom and online)
Learning Environment

Certificate (year 1) is available through distributed/online learning and face-to-face delivery, while diploma (year 2) is only available online.

Year 1 Term I (Certificate)
Course Code Course Name Credits
Year 1 Term II (Certificate)
Course Code Course Name Credits
Year 2 (Diploma - Available Online Learning Only)
Course Code Course Name Credits

These courses are available through online learning.


New students are accepted into the Early Childhood Education certificate program for on-campus delivery for the Fall (September) term. Students wishing to enrol for the Winter (January) term may take courses in a revised curriculum based on course availability. This admission may result in a three term curriculum for the completion of the certificate. Courses are also open on an individual basis for part-time study.

Upon successful completion of your Early Childhood certificate program, you will be eligible for admission to the Early Childhood diploma. In order to be considered for the diploma program, we recommend that you submit a Change of Program to the Admissions Office in your last term of study of the certificate program. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Admissions Office.

Students completing the certificate or diploma program through online study are accepted for terms beginning Fall (September), Winter (January) or Spring (May). Students choosing this route must contact the ECE program to plan their program.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Applicants are required to have successfully completed a one-year Early Childhood Education certificate or equivalent from a recognized college to enter the Early Childhood Education diploma program.

Practice-based experience (PBE) requirements

This program has a required practice-based experience (PBE) component coordinated by the Placement Office. The college dictates the legal terms and conditions governing the practicum experience.

Applicants are advised they will be required to provide a criminal record check with a vulnerable sector search before entering the PBE component of the program. The existence of a criminal record may affect the practicum placement, program completion and employment prospects.

The consequences of a prior criminal conviction will be examined and discussed on an individual basis if necessary. Students are required to complete practicums in child care centres, preschool programs and/or kindergartens. Every effort is made to provide placements within Lethbridge; however, some placements may occur in the outlying communities. Students who are completing practicum through online learning may complete these practicums in their own communities or nearby areas.

Find out more about pre-placement requirements for your program.

Prior learning assessment (PLA)

If you have experience working in this field of study, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment. Please direct your inquiries to the ECE program.

Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the Academic Upgrading program to upgrade their academic skills.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 (Certificate) $3,135.00 $1,100.00 $1,800.00
Year 2 (Diploma) $2,850.00 $953.00 $1,500.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • Students are responsible for the cost of the field trips relating to this program.
  • Tuition for international students is $13,035 for Year 1 and $12,135 for Year 2. The cost of additional fees, books and supplies is the same for all students.

Maximize your experience

We’ve designed our ECE program to maximize your hands-on experience without compromising important classroom theory.

When it comes to working with children, it’s one thing to learn from a textbook and quite another to experience it first-hand. That’s why we’ve designed our ECE program to maximize your hands-on experience without compromising important classroom theory. Numerous practicum placements will put you in a variety of settings, trying out what you’ve learned in class.

One of those settings is our own unique preschool program. Developed in partnership with Barons-Eureka-Warner Family Community Support Services, the Parent Preschool Program provides an alternative preschool program in rural communities and a space for our students to learn. Working closely with our ECE faculty, ECE students apply classroom theory to co-construct a learning-through-play environment for the children.

Lethbridge College has gone back to basics for its outdoor play space. Located in the heart of the college’s campus, a yard is being converted to a state-of-the-art outdoor play environment.

An introduction to the ECE program

Hear from our students, alumni and faculty

“I decided to quit my job and come full time and it changed everything – it re-inspired me.”

A philosophy of value and worthy

You can be an essential part of a child’s early years.

From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you earn your certificate or diploma and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our graduates.

Raye Pinder

"After being a daycare operator in home for 27 yrs., my husband and I built a 50 space childcare on our property which I ran for nine years after I completed my ECE diploma. At the peak of our operation, I had six staff and a wonderful program of which we were very proud. I have since retired and the childcare has been converted into a 3400+ sq. ft. home which is now part of a subdivision that we are presently developing. We hope to build a new home on our 20 acre farm and live out the rest of our lives there. It is a slow, stressful process trying to reach that goal but we are getting there.”

– From Spring 2017 Wider Horizons

Lee Illes

“I was the first employee to run the Parent Preschool Program through Lethbridge College. I worked for Lethbridge School District 51 for 11 years in my profession. I have been an administrative assistant since 2009. I have three children and one grandson.”

– From Spring 2017 Wider Horizons

Success stories from Wider Horizons

COLLABORATION ON CAMPUS: Solid teamwork, creative cooperation and innovative partnerships thrive in all corners of the college campus

In the classrooms and on the playing courts, in the library and in the Lethbridge community, Lethbridge College students, staff, alumni and partners can be found working together on a variety of projects of all sizes and ambitions.

Your learning environment, a child’s play space

The Early Childhood Education lab transforms daily from a traditional classroom to an infant lab to a preschool setting, always meeting the needs of our students and the children who attend. It’s a fully equipped preschool environment that allows our students to try out the very concepts they’ve learned in class. As a student in the Early Childhood Education program, you’ll attend some of your classes here, access resources from this space for your practicum courses and assignments, and when you graduate, you’ll be able to leave your mark on the room.

Take a look around yourself and explore a learning environment that resembles your future workplace.