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Early Childhood and Elementary Education, PreK-4 - Accelerated, Bachelor's , Certificate


It's never too late to become a teacher

Learn the knowledge and skills you’ll need to become an elementary school teacher. After successfully completing this elementary education certification program, you’ll be certified to teach Pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade in Pennsylvania.

Our accelerated degree program is especially for "non-traditional" students — those who are looking for the flexibility to take most of their classes either online or during the evening. 

Your first question is probably, “what classes do I need and how long will this take?”

Our friendly academic advisors will explain which classes you’ll need and help you transfer any eligible credits you may have already earned from another school. They’ll also help lay out a clear path and timeline for which classes you’ll need to take before you begin student teaching.

Now you’re probably wondering, “How does student teaching work?”

The Professional Phase of the program, aka student teaching, is two placements of 7 weeks for five days a week. It’s important to note that you must be available five days a week for school hours, approximately 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., depending on your placement.

Students seeking certification must apply and be accepted into the professional phase once they have completed 48 credits. If you are transferring into the program with close to 48 credits, you’ll need to meet the basic skills requirement set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The good news is that there are now several ways to show that you have met the basic skills requirement. We’ll help to explain the different routes you can take, including SAT or ACT scores, the ETS Education core examinations, or the PAPA examinations. You can even mix and match — if you have one score that meets the requirement from one type of test and another score from another test, they both count!

You probably have many more questions as you consider your decision to earn a teaching degree.

Please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail with your specific questions or to arrange a visit. We look forward to speaking with you!

How will I attend classes?

Depending on which classes you take, this program is taught in a variety of classroom settings.

  • Online courses are held strictly in the virtual classroom. Depending on the course, students either go online at the same time, have the freedom to go online when convenient, or a combination of the two. Online classes are enriched with interactive, multimedia content from a variety of digital educational tools.
  • Hybrid courses follow an alternating on campus, online schedule. The first two weeks of class are held in person on campus. Subsequent weeks then alternate between online and on campus.
  • Flex courses blend the convenience of online with the personal interaction of a traditional classroom. Attendance is required at the scheduled day and time each week, BUT you can choose to come campus in person OR attend virtually from your computer.  

There’s a very special spirit here at DeSales, and our elementary program certainly reflects the dignity and kindness that is pervasive throughout the University. This program strives to support young children in reaching their highest potential in:

  • social interactions;
  • artistic endeavors;
  • spiritual growth;
  • and academic realms.


Admissions Requirements

If you have a high school diploma or GED and the desire to learn, you meet DeSales' basic requirements for the Adult Studies program. Anything beyond these basics puts you on an even faster track to earning your DeSales degree or certificate.

You are welcome to apply as long as you meet one* of the following:

  • have been out of high school for 5+ years;
  • are a veteran or active duty service member; 
  • have a full-time career and/or other significant non-academic responsibilities, such as being self-supporting or having financial dependents; 
  • already have a bachelor's degree and are now pursuing a certificate, second degree.

*Additional documentation may be required to determine eligibility. 

If you have already attended some college...

We will be happy to evaluate your prior college courses to the number of credits you may be able to transfer toward your DeSales' program.

  • DeSales accepts up to 75 credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities.
  • All transferred credits must be applicable to some curriculum offered at DeSales University.
  • You must complete at least 15 three-credit (or more) courses at DeSales University to earn a degree from DSU.
  • Only credit is transferred, your grades for transfer courses are not calculated into the your GPA at DSU. (Exception: grades earned at LVAIC institutions via the cross registration process are included in the calculation of your DSU GPA.)

Please review our transfer policy

Earn credits for your non-college experience...

The DeSales Adult Studies program can give you college credits for the knowledge and skills you have acquired through non-college learning. Our prior learning assessment enables you to demonstrate what you've learned. Examples of non-college learning may include:

  • Work experience
  • Military training
  • Non-traditional training

Learn about our prior learning assessment

Three steps to admissions

  1. Apply to Adult Studies
    The application process begins with an Adult Studies Application for Admission. A copy of your high school diploma or GED is also required
  2. Meet with an academic advisor
    One of our staff members will help you set up an appointment with an advisor at one of our locations.
  3. Choose your classes
    Your advisor will help you come up with your personal education plan.

Criteria for admissions to the Adult Studies program

A non-traditional student is defined as “Any student, regardless of age, whose primary adult responsibilities are non-academic, and for whom those responsibilities take priority at this time in their lives.”

Non-traditional learners meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Have a career and other significant non-academic responsibilities (e.g., being self-supporting, working full-time, having financial dependents) that conflict with traditional college experiences;
  • Be out of high school for 5+ years at the time of first undergraduate registration, or have a 2-4 year interruption in his/her undergraduate education;
  • Is a veteran or active duty service member; 
  • Needs to be enrolled in an online program due to significant non-academic responsibilities (e.g. being self-supporting, working full-time, having financial dependents);
  • Must take fewer than 12 credits due to significant nonacademic commitments (e.g. being self-supporting, working full-time, having financial dependents);
  • Is pursuing post-baccalaureate studies (e.g., certificate, second degree), primarily with undergraduate courses.


The Early Childhood Elementary Education program at DeSales is well-rounded and well-respected

The DeSales Early Childhood Elementary Education program is the right choice for students whose calling is to teach children in Pre-K-4th grade settings. The program centers on the learning process, the theory behind it, and how to apply it effectively. The field work experiences provide students the environment to practice classroom learning and hone their skills in an active environment.

This program requires 48 credits plus the Professional Phase (student teaching). 

General Education Core Course Requirements:

EN103 Composition and Rhetoric I
EN104 Composition and Rhetoric II
MOT Literature
MOT Science
PL109 Philosophical Thinking
HI213 American Civilization I
HI214 American Civilization II
Humanities 3
World Cultures/Foreign Language I
World Cultures/Foreign Language II
Catholic Theology
Intermediate Theology
Values Seminar

Prior to Professional Phase Acceptance:

ED109 The Educative Process
ED209 Cognition and Learning
EE201 Foundations in Early Education
EE2901 Clinical Field 1 (30 hours)
ED313 Literature for Children and Youth (Hum 4)
MA107 Math for Teachers I
MA108 Math for Teachers II

Student Applies for Professional Phase:

1) Candidates have passed the Basic Skills requirement in Reading, Writing, and Math;
2) Candidates have a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the completion of 48 credits;
3) Candidates have passed ED109, ED209, EE201, and EE2901.

EE310/EE512 Teaching Emergent Language and Literacy PreK-4
EE343/EE516 Teaching Arts, Health, and P.E. Standards
EE335/EE535 ECEE Instructional Design and Pedagogy
EE346/EE546 Teaching Mathematics Standards
EE336/EE536 Teaching Science and Technology Standards
EE315/EE515 Teaching Social Studies Standards
EE314/EE514 Literacy for Early Elementary
EE3901/EE5220 Clinical Field Stages 1-2 (90 hours)
EE4901/EE525 ECEE Clinical Field Practicum Stage 3 (80 hours)
ED218/SE500 Foundations of Special Education
ED366/SE522 Remedial Techniques in Reading and Writing
ED364/SE526 Content Access for Students with Learning Disabilities
ED354/ED528 Data-Driven Assessment and Instruction
ED373/ED515 Foundations of English Language Learner Education

Student Applies for Student Teaching:

1) Candidates have passed the PECT certification examinations
2) Candidates have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
3) Candidates have completed and passed all required coursework and fieldwork

Full-Time Student Teaching Semester:

EE432/EE436/EE550 Pre-service Teaching in ECEE: Professionalism and Classroom Environment
EE430/EE434/EE551Pre-Service Teaching in ECEE: Planning and Instruction

Graduation Requirements

Learning Outcomes 

Teacher Candidates in ECE demonstrate

  • Content mastery across disciplines appropriate to early childhood/elementary settings
  • Effective, creative, reflective, and data-driven pedagogy
  • Professionalism in personal, collegial and institutional settings 
  • Respect for the uniqueness of all learners and families across multiple contexts
  • Leadership in advocating for all children and supporting their highest achievement


Add a Teaching Certificate

Gain career flexibility and greater earning potential by adding a teaching certification to you major. Late middle and high school teaching opportunities are in high demand in areas such as foreign languages, mathematics, science, and English. Adding the STEP minor to your degree adds even more value to your major and it increases your professional marketability.

A STEP in the Right Direction for You?

  • Earn teacher certification to teach grades 7–12, with some schools hiring for 6th grade.
  • Teacher certification is easily transferable to 45 states.
  • Stay in your major and graduate in your major; education is a minor overlaying the major.
  • Join the program as late as fall of your junior year.
  • Nearing graduation? We have a fast-track graduate-level teacher education program that can be completed in one year.
  • Only nine education-specific courses are needed before starting student teaching (27 credits).
  • Add more certifications in English as a second language, special education, online instruction, instructional technology, and/or STEM endorsement.
  • Student teach full-time in the last semester of senior year OR come back in fall to student teach.

As a middle or secondary education teacher you'll help support adolescent youth reach their highest potential in social interactions, in artistic endeavors, in spiritual growth, and in academic realms.

Learn more about STEP

Become a Teacher - DeSales DeSales University is authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to prepare teachers in:

  • Biology (Major: biology)
  • Chemistry (Major: chemistry)
  • Communication (Major: theatre or communication)
  • English (Major: English or theater)
  • Mathematics (Major: mathematics)
  • Social Studies (Major: history)
  • Spanish (Major or minor: Spanish)

All certification areas are for grades 7-12, except Spanish, which is K-12. 

A program is offered for those preparing to teach theology but no Pennsylvania Department of Education certification is available.

Tuition & Fees

The Adult Studies tuition rate is significantly lower than the traditional day program.

If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, our tuition deferment plan can reduce your out-of-pocket cost each session by allowing you to defer the reimbursable portion of your tuition.

  • Special tuition rates — lower than traditional day programs.
  • Tuition deferment available.
  • Financial aid — you may be eligible for Federal Pell Grants and Student Loans, and Adult Studies students can apply for two DeSales scholarships (Federal Student Aid does not apply to certificates).

The Office of Financial Aid — Here to Help

We'll guide you to make the best choices to fund your education at DeSales University. We can help make your college expenses affordable through a combination of grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship resources.

Contact Financial Aid
610.282.1100, ext. 1287
Fax: 610.282.0131
Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Tuition and Fees for the 2024-2025 school year

  • Adult Studies Tuition: $575/credit*
    + variable Adult Studies Lab Fees per course where applicable
  • Nursing courses: $660/Credit
  • Audit a Class: $270.00/credit

*Adult Studies tuition is subject to change with notice.