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Program Requirements

  • In addition to the requirements for either an AA or AS degree at Heartland Community College, you'll take five specific early childhood courses as part of your electives.

    Earn a C or better in your electives and they will transfer to ISU and count towards your Professional Educators License with an Early Childhood Education endorsement.

    As you work toward your degree, you can also earn Gateways credentials and extra endorsements for your license.

  • Choose how you want to complete testing requirements. Select one of the options below:

    1. Complete the Illinois TAP (scaled subtest score of 240 or higher on each of the subtests: Reading Comprehension, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Writing)
    2. Provide an ACT with Writing score (minimum composite score of 22 and minimum combined English/Writing score of 19)
    3. Provide an SAT score (minimum composite score of 1030 on critical reading and mathematics and minimum writing score of 450).

    Additional details on these test requirements are available from ISBE.

    Heartland Community College offers a self-study ACT preparation course if you want to meet this requirement by taking or retaking the ACT with Writing test. Contact Johnna at for more information.

  • Once you’ve earned your AA or AS degree at HCC, you can apply to ISU. Admittance to ISU's early childhood education program is a competitive process.

    In order to gain admittance, you will need to have already:

    • Earned a C or better in all education and early childhood courses taken at Heartland.
    • Completed the TAP, or ACT with writing, or SAT requirement as outlined in step 2.
    • Completed your AA or AS degree at Heartland including the five required ECP3 courses.

    After admittance to ISU, you will be assigned an ISU advisor for the final two years. Your ISU advisor will help you work through the Illinois State Board of Education requirements for new teachers (PDF).

  • As you work toward your degree, you can also earn Gateways credentials and extra endoresments for your license.

Contact Us

Johnna Darragh Ernst

Professor Early Childhood Education
Phone: 309-268-8746