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Birth-Kindergarten (BK) Program


WCU's fully online Birth-Kindergarten Program leads to a B.S. degree with a concentration in either early childhood or professional education as well as North Carolina licensure. This online, undergraduate degree is designed for students who have earned their Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree and are interested in pursuing state licensure to teach early childhood education. The program sets out to provide students with the skills to meet children's social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs from birth to kindergarten in a variety of settings.

BK Curriculum

The BK Undergraduate Degree Program offers the following concentrations:

Students who choose the professional education option are interested in possibly teaching kindergarten, public school pre-k or NC pre-k. Students must pass Praxis I and complete two semesters of internship. The course work between the professional education concentration and the early childhood concentration differ greatly. In order to obtain NC teaching license in Birth to Kindergarten, students will be required to complete 2 semesters of internship. Approved internship placement sites are limited to public NC Pre K, HeadStart, and Kindergarten classrooms (this does NOT include Early HeadStart). The internship for professional education is 6 credit hours for Internship I and 12 credit hours for Internship II.

Professional Education Concentration
Liberal Studies (42 hours)
Birth-Kindergarten Core Courses (30 hours)
Professional Education Concentration Courses (39 hours)
Guided Electives (9 hours)

Download checklist for professional education

Download checklist for North Carolina Statewide Articulation Agreement for professional education

BK Professional Education Bachelor Degree Plan

Students who choose early childhood are not certified to teach in the public schools. They are generally interested in working with young children & their families in settings other than public schools. There is no internship for the early childhood concentration. Students are required to complete 18 credit hours of action research, in which they need to be in an early childhood setting.

Early Childhood Concentration
Liberal Studies (42 hours)
Birth-Kindergarten Core Courses (30 hours)
Early Childhood Concentration Courses (30 hours)
Guided Electives (15 hours)


Download checklist for early childhood
BK Early Childhood Bachelor Degree Plan


Western Carolina University's alternative licensure programs open the door for those who already have degrees and are ready for the challenge of teaching. Our programs are designed to recruit, train, and support recent college graduates, mid-career professionals, and retirees as they enter the teaching profession. 

As a student in Western's alternative licensure program, you will many opportunities to observe and work with public school master teachers. We have dedicated faculty with strong public school partnerships.

BK Certificate

BK Add-on-Certificate

Eligibility: Baccalaureate degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.     

Results: Recommendation for a Birth-Kindergarten teaching initial or add-on license.

Instructional Format: Online asynchronous format. Each course requires some type of field experience component. One full semester of intern/student teaching is required, in the subject & grade of the licensure concentration, and should be fulfilled after all other course work is successfully finished. Approved placements for the internship are limited to public NC Pre K, Headstart, and Kindergarten classrooms (this does NOT include Early Headstart). The internship is not a paid internship. However, lateral entry teachers may complete internship using their own classroom.

Admission: Students may begin Spring or Fall semester. Application deadline for the B-K program is November 1 for Spring term, and April 1 for Fall term.


Entry to the program is competitive with no more than 30 students accepted into the program each spring and fall. Students in the Birth-Kindergarten Program must maintain a 2.75 grade point average.


Pursuant to University of North Carolina System Policy, students who graduate from an accredited community college in North Carolina and who have earned either an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree will have fulfilled all Liberal Studies (general education) requirement at WCU.

*** If you have an A.A., A.S., or a four-year degree, your Liberal Studies are waived at WCU. However, if you have one of those degrees, you may still need to take the courses that WCU assumes you have had as an early childhood student at the community college. Those courses are EDU 144, EDU 145 & EDU 234 (in place of BK 366) or PSY 244 & PSY 245 (in place of BK 363), EDU 146 (in place of BK 462), EDU 259 (in place of BK 470), EDU 234 (in place of BK 366), and EDU 221 (in place of SPED 240).

Students who have earned a degree from an accredited institution located outside of North Carolina will undergo a course-by-course evaluation for transfer credits and may have to complete additional courses to fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement.

Students who possess an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree will undergo a course-by-course evaluation for transfer credits. In most cases, the student will be required to complete additional courses at a community college or through WCU to fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement.

Transfer students who have questions in regard to their previous college courses fulfilling WCU’s Liberal Studies or General Education Core requirements are urged to contact the University Advising Center.

WCU does not recognize years of services, training, certifications, or other continuing education units as being equivalent to academic courses at the university level. Transfer credit will only be awarded for courses offered by institutions of higher education that are accredited by nationally recognized, regional accredited organizations. Evaluation of academic transcripts is conducted by the Registrar’s Office, not the individual department.

Birth-Kindergarten Faculty

Cathy Grist


Birth-Kindergarten Program Director

Derek Becker

Associate Professor


Sarah Pedonti

Assistant Professor


Myra Watson

Assistant Professor

Birth-Kindergarten Program, Assistant Director, SOTL

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