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Certified individuals have three to five years to complete their renewal requirements, based on their EEC level, and may earn CEUs or college credits or a combination of both to meet EEC renewal requirements. Below is additional information on where to access continuing education sources.

College Courses/Degrees Sources

In North Carolina, 58 community colleges and over 20 universities provide college credits and degree programs in early childhood education, school age and other related fields. 
Both two- and four-year early childhood degrees and recently a new school age two-year degree are available in North Carolina.

Two-year early childhood degree programs are offered by all 58 community colleges in the state. The network of community colleges has been designed in a manner that requires a student to drive no more than 1 hour to reach a campus. Community colleges have geographic service delivery areas, which means they are assigned to specific geographic areas and may have authority and responsibility for providing courses in a county other than the one in which the college is located.

School age care professionals in the state are able to access more college courses. As of fall 2009 A total of 21 community college early childhood programs have filed a School Age Degree course of study with the NC Community College System Office. A total of 22 colleges offer a school age certificate and the school-age credential (5 semester credit hours or 90 contact hours/9 CEUs), is required by the NC Division of Child Development for school age group leaders working in regulated child care facilities. Check with your local college to learn more!

College Costs

NC Community College Rates
The per semester credit hour tuition for all degree programs offered in NC Community Colleges, as of fall 2009, was $50/credit. A three-credit hour course would for example, cost $150 plus any additional fees imposed by the college. One three-credit hour course = 4.8 CEUs.

NC University Undergraduate Rates

Undergraduate tuition rates range from lowest to highest (fees not included):
1 – 5 credit hours $238.06 – $323.75
6 – 8 credit hours $476.23 – $647.50
9 – 11 credit hours $714.19 – $961.88
12 + credit hours $952.50 – $1,295.00
The tuition and fee rate per credit hour for distance learning: $76.61 – $144.22
Child Care Services Association 12/09

Consumer Beware – Regional vs. National Accreditation of Degree Programs

All NC early childhood systems require coursework be taken at a regionally accredited institution of higher education (college or university).

All public community colleges and universities in North Carolina are regionally accredited. Degree program accreditation systems in other states, offered online or in other countries may not be regionally accredited. This means you may not be allowed to transfer college credits you paid for from one college to another to complete a degree or use toward another degree or an advanced degree .

All early childhood systems in NC  use regionally accredited education including Early Educator Certification. Read the fine print carefully and review the list of regionally accredited post secondary institutions and programs before enrolling.

Links to College Sources in North Carolina

Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Sources

A list of CEU providers can be found in the CEU Events section of the website.  Also, contact your local child care resource and referral agency, Smart Start agency, college and university, public school and/or your professional association to learn more about CEU options available near you.

Many professions and an increasing number of early childhood systems in other states are including continuing education units (CEU) as a part of their professional development continuum.  Research has shown that adult learners need time, reflection and more to listen, take in and use information to improve practice.

CEUs are used by many professions to help individuals working in the field to gain in-depth knowledge and resources. A CEU is not a workshop or a set of workshops pieced together. It is a pre-planned, pre approved, cohesive learning experience that is learner-centered, is based on learning objectives, with resources and an opportunity for the learner to learn, practice, reflect and assess their own learning experience.

CEUs may count for in-service training hours by DCDEE if the trainer has already been approved to provide training hours or the organization is a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

Quick Tips

  • 1 CEU = 10 contact hours
  • CEUs for EEC renewal must = 0.5 CEU at a minimum.
  • CEUs offer more than training and less than a college course.
  • CEUs have a similar cost to workshops (see below).
  • CEUs are one type of continuing education for EEC renewal.
  • College courses, CEUs or a combination of both can be used to meet EEC renewal requirements.
  • CEUs may be offered at one time or over several sessions, over a long period of time or at a conference as a defined track.
  • Quality may vary. Shop wisely!
  • CEUs are typically taught by instructors with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, are seasoned adult educators with experience and knowledge in the subject area.

CEU Costs

The cost of a CEU varies just like the cost of in-service training or workshops. The cost for up to 2.4 CEUs (or 24 contact hours) through a NC community college is about $3/hour. NC universities offer CEUs at a cost of about $10/hour. Local school system and non-profit agencies also offer CEUs for free or at a low cost.

The Institute is working with local, state and national partners to develop a vibrant supply of continuing education unit opportunities to expand your options and support EEC renewal requirements.


CEUs must be approved by one of the following bodies:

Online Learning Tools

CEU Instructors

Learn more about developing and offering CEUs by clicking here!

© 2010 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 dtorrence@ncicdp.org