Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains a list of frequently asked questions. If your question isn't answered here, you can contact the program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is Birth-Kindergarten Licensure?
- Which license is best if I want to teach Kindergarten?
- How long will it take me to add Birth-Kindergarten licensure to my existing degree or license?
- Do I have to be formally admitted to the Watson College of Education (WCE) to take my major EYC courses?
- When do I have to be admitted to the Watson College of Education? How do I get admitted?
- Can I double-major?
- Do I have to complete an internship?
- What does an approved setting mean?
- Do I get to choose my internship site?
- When do I apply for student teaching?
- Can I do this program online?
- I work full time. When are classes scheduled?
- How will I know what courses to take?
- Are field experiences required in courses?
- Which tests are needed to enter and complete the EYC program?
- What does "Highly Qualified" teacher mean?
- What is the difference between Birth-Kindergarten Add-on and Pre-School Add-on?
- What else can I do with this degree and license besides teaching?
What is Birth-Kindergarten Licensure?
Birth-Kindergarten Licensure qualifies individuals to work with children ages birth through five years, including children who have disabilities. It is an interdisciplinary license incorporating best practices from early childhood education, child and family studies and early childhood special education. Individuals who earn this license are qualified to work in a variety of early childhood settings including public schools, developmental day centers, child care centers, and early intervention programs. In the state of North Carolina, licensure is required for teachers in public preschool (4-year olds) and kindergarten classrooms. UNCW’s Birth-Kindergarten Program emphasizes:
- teacher-directed and child-directed learning activities to meet the individual developmental and learning needs of young children
- inclusion of children with special needs in classrooms with children who are developing typically
- collaboration with families as the primary teachers and decision-makers for their children
- respect for diversity of children and families, including diversity in culture, language, and ability.
Which license is best if I want to teach Kindergarten?
In North Carolina, individuals holding either Birth-Kindergarten or Elementary (K-6) licensure are fully qualified to teach Kindergarten. We believe that the principles and practices taught in the Education of Young Children program are especially appropriate for meeting the developmental and learning needs of children in Kindergarten. Some school systems in North Carolina may prefer that Kindergarten teachers have B-K licensure, whereas others may prefer Elementary licensure for Kindergarten teachers. Typically there is no preference. However, if you are interested in teaching Kindergarten and know the school system in which you wish to teach, you may want to inquire about whether that school system has a preference. We do recommend that EYC majors explore the option of taking the North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exam (NCEL) so that they will be licensed to teach in grades above kindergarten.
How long will it take me to add Birth-Kindergarten licensure to my existing degree or license?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, including your existing degree or license, the number of related courses you have taken in the past, your related experience, the number of courses you can take at one time, and the availability of summer and/or online courses during the time you are enrolled. Recently, students who are enrolled part-time have completed their programs of study in 1½ to 3 years. Students who are enrolled full-time can generally finish more quickly, but up to two years may still be needed for full-time students who have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field. It is important to remember that a significant commitment of time and energy is required to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with young children and their families. To find out how many courses will be required for you and how long it will take you to add B-K licensure, start by clicking here.
Do I have to be formally admitted to the Watson College of Education (WCE) to take my major EYC courses?
You may take the following courses prior to being admitted to WCE: EDN 200 and lab, EDN 204, EDN 302 and lab, EDN 303 and EDN 380. You may also take SED 250 and required courses outside the School of Education i.e., NSG 345, SOC 345, etc. To take Early Childhood Education courses numbered higher than 302, or Education courses from other Education programs higher than 303, you need to be formally admitted to the WCE.
You can take education courses numbered 303 or lower and the EYC interdisciplinary courses without being admitted to the WCE. However, to take education course numbered higher than 303 you need to be formally admitted to the WCE.
When do I have to be admitted to the Watson College of Education? How do I get admitted?
It is important to understand that admission to the Watson College of Education (WCE) is a separate process, completed after you are admitted to UNC Wilmington and often after you have completed some of your coursework.
Undergraduates: Plan to complete admissions requirements and apply for admission by the end of your sophomore year. For detailed statement of the admissions requirements and how to complete them, click here.
Individuals with Degrees but No Teacher Licensure Who are Adding B-K: Apply for admission to WCE in the semester when you will complete your first 9-12 hours at UNCW. Note that in order to avoid delays in eligibility to take upper-level Education courses one must be admitted to WCE. Admission requirements for individuals with existing BA/BS degrees typically include passing the Praxis I tests, completing EDN 200 and EDNL 200 with a grade of “C” or better, meeting minimum GPA requirements, and completing an application. For more information, click here.
Individuals with Teacher Licensure in Another Area: Complete an application for admission to WCE in Room 308 Education Building during the first semester you are enrolled at UNCW. Write “licensed teacher” at the top of the application.
Can I double-major?
It is possible to double-major in Education of Young Children and another non-Education field such as Social Work or Psychology. Students who are interested in double-majoring should consult the second department for program requirements. Completion of a degree with a double major takes longer than completion of a degree with the EYC major only. For students who wish to earn teacher licensure in more than one area, the most efficient way to accomplish this goal is to earn a degree and licensure in one area and then add licensure in a second area. For example, one additional year of study is needed to add Elementary licensure to a degree in Education of Young Children with B-K licensure. However, it would take longer to complete an undergraduate degree with majors in both EYC and Elementary Education.
Do I have to complete an internship?
Yes. However, the type and length of the internship depends on the student’s program of study and whether or not the student is currently teaching at the Pre-K level in an approved setting. An internship is taken at the END of a student’s course of study, just before they are ready to graduate. There are five different internships available in the EYC program. Consult the catalog and your advisor for more information.
- EDN 465 (12) requires one full semester (15 weeks) of internship in an early childhood setting. This internship is designed for undergraduate students pursuing a B-K licensure
- EDN 467 (6) requires a total of 240 hours of internship in a semester equivalent of about 15 hours per week. Specific experiences and requirements will be designed to complement the student’s career goals (e.g., classroom setting, early intervention, administration, child-life specialist)
- EDN 466 (3) this internship is designed to help practicing Pre-K teachers without B-K licensure to complete their practicum at their place of work in own classroom.
- EDN 412 (3) a part-time internship equivalent of six-week of full time teaching. It is designed for students with a teaching license in Elementary or Special Education, Middle-grade or High School interested in pursuing a B-K licensure.
What does an approved setting mean?
Approved settings include all public school settings or any other alternative school settings approved by the appropriate public agency in the state. Alternative approved school settings are any organizations under contract to the local school system (e.g., Developmental Day program, Easter Seals UCP, and NC Public Pre-K housed in private child care centers).
Do I get to choose my internship site?
Student interests and input are integrated into the decision-making process; however students are not able to choose their internship sites. Internship and program coordinators work to match student interests with the best available site and partnership teacher.
When do I apply for student teaching?
Students are required to apply for Student Teaching (EDN 465, EDN 467, EDN 466, EDN 412) early in the semester prior to their student teaching. There is a mandatory orientation meeting each Fall and each Spring for students applying to student teach during the following semester. The dates for these meetings are mid-September for Spring student teaching and the end of January/first of February for Fall student teaching, and are announced well in advance before the meeting (notices posted through building).
Can I do this program online?
Currently, some of the general education including some interdisciplinary courses have online option but a majority of the EYC courses are held face-to-face since they incorporate a great deal of instructional materials and concrete experiences to assure a rich learning experience for students. Face-to-face courses might also have a significant online presence via use of a course website, use of online discussion tools or electronic assignment submission.
I work full time. When are classes scheduled?
Most of the students in the program work during the day so majority of our classes are scheduled for late afternoons and evenings. Depending on their plan of study, students can expect to be in class 3-4 nights per week.
How will I know what courses to take?
The suggested program of study is posted on the EYC web site. Since EYC courses are offered only once per year (fall or spring) students must plan their schedules carefully and plan ahead several semesters. Thus, it is necessary that you work with your program advisor to ensure that all requirements are met.
Are field experiences required in courses?
Yes. Field experience hours are required in every course. In addition, field experiences are an integral part of the EYC curriculum. There are several field experiences, one each semester of the program and each taken in conjunction with one or more method courses during the same semester. Although each field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, they are to extend the principles and practices of the EYC program goals. A minimum of 40 clock hours of fieldwork is required for each of these field experiences.
Which tests are needed to enter and complete the EYC program?
Undergraduate students must take and pass Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test for admission to Watson College of Education and enrollment in education courses numbered higher than EDN 303 unless SAT or ACT scores allow exemption. The test mesures academic skills in reading, writing and mathematics. The three required sections for Praxis Core are: Reading (#5712), Math (#5732), and Writing (#5722) or the combined test (#5751). This test is offered only as a computer-based test. For more information click here
Students majoring in the Education of Young Children program are not required to take any Praxis test unless they are planning to teach kindergarten. In that case, in order to be designated “highly qualified” to teach kindergarten, they can take Praxis test 5025 (Early Childhood Education) – passing score 156. Alternatively, they may take North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exam (NCEL) for Elementary Education (K-6).
What does "Highly Qualified" teacher mean?
The federal definition of a "Highly Qualified" teacher is one who meets the following criteria:
- fully certified and/or licensed by the state,
- holds at least a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution, and
- demonstrates competence in each core academic subject area in which the teacher teaches. For more information on “Highly Qualified” teachers click here
What is the difference between Birth-Kindergarten Add-on and Pre-School Add-on?
The Birth-Kindergarten Add-on license gives the individual teaching credentials to teach infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners with and without developmental disabilities. It is an inclusive teacher licensure with a focus on children with developmental delays as well as children who are typically developing. Individuals employed by the public schools are required to have a Birth-Kindergarten or a Pre-school licensure in order to teach in public school supported preschools or kindergartens.
The Pre-School Add-on license approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education, gives the individual teaching credentials to teach only three- and four-year old children with and without disabilities in the public schools of North Carolina.
What else can I do with this degree and license besides teaching?
There are a variety of employment opportunities besides teaching for students who major in Education of Young Children. For other potential positions for EYC majors, please click on the career opportunities link.