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Associate Degree Practicum Course Requirements

Students completing Pierce College's Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education must take the following practicum courses to fulfill degree requirements:

  • ECED& 120 Practicum: Focus on Relationships (2 credits)
  • ECED& 190 Practicum: Observation and Assessment (3 credits)
  • EDUC 223 Practicum: Focus on Special Education (2 credits)

These courses require volunteer hours in an early learning setting. Pierce College practicum students must demonstrate the following before they are approved for enrollment and placement in an early learning setting by Pierce College staff:

Pierce College Practicum Application

All students must complete a practicum application to be able to enroll and be placed for practicum courses. The application provides the Education department with contact information, placement preferences and considerations, the required release forms to participate in practicums, and the opportunity to provide proof of other practicum requirements. Contact teaching@pierce.ctc.edu for application information.

Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families Portable Background Check (PBC) Certificate

A portable background check is required prior to working with children. You will need a STARS ID number which can be obtained through the MERIT website. The background check application is also located there. Fingerprinting may be necessary, so be sure to consider time and cost in your planning. For more information about MERIT portable background checks, visit the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families website.

Negative Tuberculosis (TB) Test or Verification of Treatment

A completed negative TB (tuberculosis) test or negative chest X-ray is also required prior to working with children in these courses and must be dated within the two years. You can get tested through your primary care doctor or at local drug stores/community health centers.

Student Intern Insurance

For your own protection, practicum students are required to show proof of professional liability coverage ($1,000,000 minimum) before beginning any practicum experience. You can provide proof of your own coverage from your local insurance provider (the policy must specifically address professional liability insurance) or can purchase a student intern insurance policy through Pierce College for $6.75. You can purchase student intern insurance through the Cashiering Office either in-person on the Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup campuses, over the phone at 253-964-6700, or online through the Simple Pay System.

Please Note: Students completing practicum hours at their place of employment do not need to purchase insurance; it is assumed that these students are covered under their employer’s professional liability insurance.

Course Prerequisites

Students must have either completed the course prerequisites for the practicum(s) with a 2.0 or higher or be enrolled concurrently to register for practicum course(s). The prerequisites for each course are:

  • ECED& 120 prerequisite: ECED& 105 - Introduction to Early Childhood Education (5 credits)
  • ECED& 190 prerequisite: EDUC& 115 - Child Development (5 credits)
  • EDUC 223 prerequisite: EDUC& 204 - Introduction to Inclusive Education (5 credits)

For guaranteed placement, students must complete ALL above enrollment requirements by the following dates:

Term Guaranteed Placement Deadline Typical Courses Offered Each Term*
Fall August 31 ECED& 120
EDUC 223
Winter November 15 ECED& 120
EDUC 223
Spring March 1 ECED& 120
ECED& 190
EDUC 223
Summer June 15 ECED& 190

*Please Note: typical course offerings are subject to change.

Practicum Courses

ECED& 120 Practicum: Focus on Relationships

The focus of this course is on building relationships, which includes communication and child guidance. The expectation is that students will learn how to build relationships with children and families through appropriate and professional communication. The goal of the course is to give students experience in the field of early childhood education near the beginning of their studies at the college.

Practicum students in this practicum/field experience course will complete 45 hours of volunteer time in an early learning setting. Ideal placements are childcare facilities serving children ages 0-3 years old. All coursework associated with ECED& 120 is online.

ECED& 190 Practicum: Observation and Assessment

The focus of this course is on becoming familiar with various observation and assessment tools in the early learning setting that can be used to assist with curricular planning, individualized instruction, and parent/family conferences. The expectation for students is to become familiar with Teaching Strategies GOLD and be allowed to assess one child with this tool. Students are then expected to design three individualized learning activities for this child based on assessment results.

Students in this practicum/field experience course will complete 30 hours of volunteer time in an early learning setting. Ideal placements are Head Start/ECEAP facilities serving children ages 3-5 years old. All coursework associated with ECED& 190 is online.

EDUC 223 Practicum: Focus on Special Education

The focus of this course is on programs for young children throughout the community including or focusing on special education. A practicum student will need access to at least one student who is serviced by an IEP or IFSP as well as the ability to read/reference that document. The expectation is for students to assess one child with Teaching Strategies GOLD and to design three individualized learning activities for the child based on assessment results and the student’s or family’s individualized plan goals.

Students in this practicum/field experience course will complete 45 hours of volunteer time in an early learning setting in which one or more child is receiving specially designed instruction outlined in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) of Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Ideal placements are special education or general education elementary classroom serving children ages 5-8 years old. All coursework associated with EDUC 223 is online.