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Early Childhood & Childhood Education

For Career Changers

Are you a career changer with a bachelor’s degree interested in early childhood or elementary teaching?

New Paltz offers two options for prospective teachers who already hold a bachelor’s degree:

  • A second bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood & Childhood Education (birth-grade 6)
  • A Master of Science in Teaching degree that leads to initial certification in Childhood Education (grades 1-6), and can be extended to include Early Childhood (birth-grade 2).

Note that in New York, initial certification is for five years; in order to obtain professional certification after that point, teachers must earn a master’s degree.


The New Paltz bachelor’s degree program includes a 30-credit academic concentration in one of 11 liberal arts disciplines, and the master’s program has an admission requirement of 30 undergraduate credits in one of those same disciplines: art history, biology, black studies, earth science, English, French, geography, history, mathematics, political science, or Spanish.


Both the bachelors and masters programs include once-a-week daytime fieldwork placements over multiple semesters, and a full-time student teaching experience the final semester.


Advantages of the undergraduate program:

  • More choices of mostly daytime classes
  • The option to save the required master’s degree for a more specialized field, such as Special Education, Literacy, or TESOL
  • Students are matriculated (enrolled in a degree program) throughout their coursework, which can have positive implications for financial aid

Advantages of the graduate program:

  • Evening, online, and summer course offerings
  • A cohort of more mature fellow students
  • Being able to earn your teaching certificate and master’s degree all in one
  • A student may complete prerequisite liberal arts undergraduate credits as a non-matriculated student through another institution


For Application Information:
Second bachelor’s degree: Undergraduate Admission

Master of Science in Teaching: Graduate Admission