Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Concentration (Integrated B-K)

College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

Program Overview

Are you passionate about early childhood education? Get your online BSHHS in Early Childhood Education and teach children ages birth through kindergarten (B-K.)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers a fully online bachelor's degree program with three different teacher licensure pathways: for those with at least 60 hours of college credit, for distance learners holding a bachelor's degree with no teaching license, and for individuals already certified to teach in Tennessee who are seeking a B-K add-on endorsement.

Credit Hours

(includes transfer credits)

Cost Per Credit Hour*

In-State $439

Out-of-State $514


Asynchronous & Synchronous

Field Experience


*Cost per credit hour is an estimate based on maintenance and university fees. Some programs may have additional course fees. Please contact your department for additional information on any related fees, and visit Tuition and Fees in Detail at One Stop.

Fulfill Your Passion & Earn an Early Childhood Education Credential

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Integrated Birth-Kindergarten (B-K) Track, previously known as the Early Development and Learning PreK-K Track, is a fully online teacher licensure program with three different licensure pathways. The program offers flexible learning options through synchronous and asynchronous courses to meet the needs of post-traditional learners. Entrance into the college requires a minimum 2.5 GPA from prior coursework as well as a background check. Admissions take place in all three semesters: fall, spring, and summer.

B-K program boasts three licensure pathways

The Early Childhood Education Integrated Birth-Kindergarten program provides online licensure options for the following distinct groups:

  • Transfer students who have earned an Associate of Science degree or completed at least 60 hours of transferable college credit
  • Individuals who hold bachelor’s degrees without a teaching license, seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate licensure
  • Educators currently licensed in Tennessee, seeking to earn an endorsement in Birth-Kindergarten Education

Coursework scheduling is flexible each semester, allowing students to enroll in the number of hours that best aligns with their individual lives as well as educational and professional goals. Ideally, students are enrolled in the program while also employed in early childhood settings such as community-based childcare, Head Start, preschool, or public school programs that serve children with and without disabilities, ages birth through five. For students not working with young children, early childhood settings are identified for fieldwork within their local communities.

Fieldwork and clinical experiences are embedded into many courses within the ECE Integrated B-K Program, aimed at providing students with multiple opportunities to translate educational theory and developmentally appropriate practices into real-life early classroom settings. The ECE Integrated B-K Program culminates in a semester-long, 12-credit hour, full-time student teaching experience that allows teacher candidates the opportunity to solidify their skills and knowledge of early childhood and complete licensure requirements in placements approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Early childhood education pedagogy

The ECE Integrated B-K Program prepares early education practitioners for success in today’s classrooms by developing educators who demonstrate expertise in child-centered pedagogy applicable for children with and without disabilities from birth through kindergarten. Program completers uphold professional dispositions essential for working with diverse families and children in educational settings. They view diversity as an avenue for deepening educational experiences within communities and implement evidence-based practices that promote child-centered preparation of curriculum, instruction, use of high-quality instructional materials, and use of technology and assessments. 

In addition to applying to the university, all students seeking licensure must also apply for acceptance into the Teacher Education Program through UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Application requirements and timelines for completion will be discussed during academic advising. 

What can I do with a BSHHS in Early Childhood Education Integrated Birth-Kindergarten?

Graduates of the ECE Integrated B-K Program, and those who complete licensure requirements set forth by the state of Tennessee, can pursue careers in the following roles:

  • Voluntary Pre-K or Title 1 Preschool Teachers
  • Developmental/Special Education Preschool Teachers
  • Blended Preschool Teachers
  • Kindergarten Teachers
  • Special Education Preschool Teachers
  • Head Start Early Childhood Classroom or Leadership Positions
  • Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) Classroom or Leadership Positions
  • Private Childcare Positions

Which Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Licensure Pathway is Right for You?

Transfer Students

For students who have attained an Associate of Science (AS) degree or completed a minimum of 60 hours of transferable college credit who desire to earn their licensure to teach children, ages birth through kindergarten.

Post Baccalaureate

For individuals seeking a licensure-only post-baccalaureate option who have already completed an undergraduate degree and desire licensure for teaching children with and without disabilities, birth through kindergarten. The Post Baccalaureate is a non-degree-seeking pathway and consists of specific courses needed to fulfill state requirements for earning an Integrated Birth-Kindergarten endorsement in Tennessee. Coursework may be individualized based on transferable undergraduate credits.

Add-On Endorsement

For individuals currently certified in Tennessee who are seeking to add on the Integrated B-K Endorsement to an active Tennessee license, coursework is offered to fulfill state requirements for adding on an Integrated Birth-Kindergarten endorsement to an active Tennessee license. Coursework may be individualized depending on prior educational and professional experiences and currently-held endorsements.

Featured Courses

The online early childhood education degree and licensure program provides students the opportunity to take coursework and hands-on practicums based on birth through kindergarten teaching methods, developmental theories, and inclusive interactions.

IEC 423:  Pre K-K Teaching Methods

In this practicum-based course, you will learn the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to become an inquiry-based, reflective practitioner who is a teacher of young children (birth through six years of age), in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.

IEC 205: Early Childhood Language Development & Inclusive Interaction

Current theories and practices associated with the development and enhancement of language in young children (birth through 8) from diverse backgrounds and ability levels are discussed.

IEC 330: Global Perspectives on Childhood & Learning

This course explores basic concepts, rationale, frameworks, and vocabulary related to global citizenship, intercultural competence, and international perspectives of childhood education and learning with a critical comparison of international learning environments.

IEC 472: Practicum: Student Teaching

The program culminates in the semester-long, full-time student teaching experience conducted in an approved preschool or kindergarten classroom setting within students’ local communities.

kindergartener teacher helping girl paint