One way to boost income potential is to earn certifications, which can be done simultaneously while earning the associate degree. Students completing the Early Childhood Education program have the opportunity to obtain inclusion, infant toddler and preschool credentials through the Wisconsin Registry.
These credentials benefit students as it relates to Wisconsin YoungStar, where licensed centers earn stars based in part on the educational achievements of their employees. Centers are motivated because rates for children in Wisconsin Shares vary, depending on the number of stars a center earns.
Gateway’s associate degree goes a long way towards earning credentials, as many of the required Gateway courses overlap with required certification courses. For both the Inclusion and the Infant Toddler Credentials, two of four courses are required for the associate degree. For the Preschool Credential, five of six courses are already required.
An additional option available is to take only the courses required for a specific certification(s), without earning an associate degree. This option might be good for those already working in the field who want to earn a credential or for those who are not ready or able to earn an associate degree. The credential process consists of completing all the courses in each credential, then submitting a portfolio, and finally, going before a commission for determination on whether or not the credential is earned. This all goes through the Wisconsin Registry.