Head Start's CDA to BA Pathway

Earn a Bachelor's Degree in ECE with a Head Start focus!

Complete your studies on your own time.

Start your courses when it’s convenient for you.

Get recognized for every eight courses you complete.

Stack your certificates to earn your bachelor’s with discounted pricing!

The Head Start Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Pathway is offered by National University and developed in partnership with the National Head Start Association to prepare learners to better serve historically underserved children, families, and communities. This program provides an affordable and inclusive opportunity for Head Start staff across the country to complete their bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education with a Head Start focus.

With our flexible online program, learners set their own pace and earn five stackable early childhood education certificates as they go. Each certificate focuses on a specific area of early childhood education, from foundations to curriculum connections, to trauma-informed care and leadership development. They consist of eight courses that can be completed in eight months.

Five Stackable ECE Certificates

The following certificates culminate in the bachelor's degree:

1. Undergraduate Certificate: Early Childhood Foundations Collapse

Course List (36 Quarter Units)

  1. ECE 201 The Growing Child: Zero to 8*
  2. ECE 210 Child, Family, School, and Comm*
  3. ECE 211 Diversity: Development & Ed
  4. HED 220 Health, Nutrition, and Safety*
  5. ECE 330 Early Cognition 
  6. ECE 464 Ethical and Legal Issues 
  7. ECE 465 Trauma-Informed Practice
  8. COM 120 Intro to Interpersonal Comm

* Credit available for NHSA’s CDA Pathway Learners

2. Undergraduate Certificate: Early Childhood Social Advocacy Expand
3. Early Childhood Education Certificate in Curriculum Connections Expand
4. Undergraduate Certificate: Early Childhood Education STEAM Integration Expand
5. Undergraduate Certificate: Fostering Early Childhood Education Leaders Expand

Get a Head Start with Credits!

Head Start staff who have been awarded the CDA Credential through NHSA’s CDA Training Pathway will be eligible for credit for the following courses:

  • ECE 201
  • ECE 210
  • HED 220

Leaving only five courses to complete the first certificate!

There may be other opportunities for Prior Learning Credit such as military training and experience, non-collegiate training programs, advanced high school courses, career experience, and self-development. You can learn more here.

Financial Support Available

We understand that cost can be a significant barrier to degree completion, which is why National University offers scholarships for Head Start staff. Those who have completed NHSA's CDA Training Pathway are eligible to receive a scholarship that makes tuition pricing $880* per course ($7,040* per certificate). If a student qualifies for a 100% Pell Grant, each certificate is $0 out of pocket! Find out if you qualify for a Pell Grant and visit NU’s admissions department website for more information.

*These costs are current as of January 2023 and are subject to change without notice.

A Word from NHSA

"This is about helping high-potential community leaders–those who wake up everyday excited to make a real difference in the lives of the children and families they serve–to have viable, long-term, rewarding careers in Head Start."

- Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director

Executive Director - Yasmina Vinci

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