Earn an Associate Degree as an Occupational Development- Child Development Specialist

Our Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist Associate degree offers academic and practical training to learn real-time skills for seeking employment as child care center teachers, aids in schools, or other pre-school child care programs. This program is designed for professionals who are currently working in the childcare industry, but have not completed formal training.

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Enroll in an Associate Degree in Child Development Designed for You

Blue Ridge CTC’s Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program is designed by industry experts that provide students an opportunity to further their current career in childhood careers by pairing higher education with prior learning experience.

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Build a solid foundation in the child development field with the 2-year Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program. Blue Ridge CTC offers a blend of content-specific knowledge, transferable skills, and practical experiences employers look for in qualified applicants.

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You are not alone, as almost a third of students transfer schools! Check our transfer evaluation tool to save money and time while transferring to our Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program.


New Job Openings

Projected for in-demand early childhood specialist roles by 2030!


Average Salary

Estimated for pre-school teachers and similar occupations.


Job Growth

Is expected in the employment of preschool teachers from 2020-30.

    • As per BLS, there will be 556,000 new job vacancies in the early childhood care industry between 2020-30.
    • As per BLS, 18% growth in employment of preschool teachers has been predicted for the next 10 years.
    • As per BLS, the average median salary is $30,210 for early childhood specialist careers.

Why Pursue an Associate Degree as an Occupational Development- Child Care Specialist?

Our two-year Child Development associate degree program is designed to provide special career training to individuals who have completed or are in the process of completing a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) in Child Development through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship. Students must be currently employed and enrolled in a Department of Labor RAP program to declare this major. The degree ensures students:

    • Apply theories of early childcare with practical applications.
    • Prepare to assume supervision roles in an early childcare facility.
    • Maintain childcare facility records in accordance with West Virginia and Federal Law requirements.
    • Apply professional written and spoken communication skills with staff and parents.

Become Career Ready with an Occupational Development - Child Development Specialist Associate Degree

Does evaluating and monitoring children’s needs interest you? Blue Ridge CTC’s associate program as an Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist helps students gain skills needed to advance their careers as childcare specialists.

Throughout the Occupational Development – Child Development Specialist program, learn the fundamental theories of early childcare with practical applications. Improve creative thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, analytical, organizational, and leadership skills required to perform effectively in an actual childcare work environment.

Earn this degree from our School of Workforce Development and Engineering Technologies.


Degree Program


On-campus, Hybrid


Credit Hours

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What Will You Learn - Curriculum Overview

With our associate degree in Occupational Development- Child Care Specialist, you learn vital child development skills through experiential learning under the guidance of highly trained faculty.

Throughout the Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program, learn fundamentals of speech, professional communication, assessment of young children, early language and literacy, and get an apprenticeship for child development. The curriculum allows students to:

    • Obtain fundamental knowledge of child development stages.
    • Learn human growth and development.
    • Learn how to foster children’s cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development.
    • Understand family/community engagement, early childhood inclusion, and English and mathematics essentials.

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Build Your Future With Blue Ridge CTC

Blue Ridge CTC offers a holistic industry-focused approach to learning, leading to a path-breaking career and continuing education opportunities.

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What You Experience at Blue Ridge CTC

Blue Ridge CTC acts as a catalyst to career goals, gives students exposure to real-time career prospects, and provides a learning environment supporting personal and professional growth.

World-class Pedagogy That Shapes Future Leaders!

Effective faculty is the backbone of any school. Our faculty are committed teachers and scholars who:

Deliver real-world learning to shape a students’ job market competency.

Impart teaching that promotes creativity and sets the base for further 4-year programs.

Extend a smart learning model that raises job prospects.

Integrate best-in-class learning formats and resources to drive focused learning.

Student Support Services and Spaces for Balanced Learning!

We provide comprehensive Student Support Services to promote student success.

Student Services provides a variety of support, including tutoring, accessibility accommodations, and more!

We provide high-tech classes, supporting labs, and study areas to promote a balanced education.

We recognize talent and celebrate performance with awards and acknowledgments.

We have supportive staff to help with personal, professional, and academic challenges.

Placement Assistance to Nurture Careers!

We support students from admission through the career search! Career Services assists students:

Find the right kind of job with a career inventory assessment.

Get assistance on resume writing and referral to participating employer partners.

With interview preparation to boost their morale and get prepared with the right narration to win job negotiations.

Get a holistic learning environment, where they are nurtured to become the next set of professionals entering the workforce.

Promoting Equity to Develop an Intercultural College Environment!

As a community of students, faculty, staff, and external stakeholders, we strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campuses, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Campus diversity encourages open dialogue on campus.

Equity removes barriers and ensures equal opportunities are afforded to all.

Our campus offers an inclusive, welcoming environment where all are valued, celebrated, and included.

The campus community promotes diversity and inclusion through a variety of speakers and events.

Hands-on Training and Internship Opportunities

We are committed to providing students with real-time training and internship opportunities to enter the workforce directly after graduating.

We provide industry expert instruction to strengthen job-specific skills needed for real-world challenges.

We assist students with internship opportunities to find their way to a successful career.

We provide industry-certified expert supervision and guidance to raise students’ job prospects in the Government and Private sectors.

Our campus is well equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, machinery, hardware, and software required to provide the technical skills needed for real jobs.

Our Learner’s Voice!

Learn more about alumni who successfully reached their goals by earning an education at Blue Ridge CTC!

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Worried About Paying for College? Many Options Exist for Financial Aid.

Blue Ridge CTC provides need-based financial aid to qualified applicants, ensuring all students have equal access to quality education.

Whether you are a student worrying about tuition fees or are a parent assisting a child paying for college, we have a wide variety of financial resources available.

    • State and Federal Grant Programs 
    • Student Work-Study Opportunities 
    • Student Loans 
    • Special Grant Funding Opportunities
    • Blue Ridge CTC Foundation Scholarship opportunities

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Have Questions? Talk With an Admissions Counselor Today!

Admissions Counselors and Academic Advisors at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College help students navigate career paths throughout their academic career.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program? We can help!

An Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program. is designed for students who may be working in childcare centers and are seeking career advancement opportunities within the industry. Job opportunities in this field are growing much faster than average. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment for preschool teachers is projected to grow 18%in the next 10 years, and for child care workers, the growth rate is projected to be 8%.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent and a complete application packet. Students who have earned credits at other Colleges or Universities must also provide official copies of those transcripts. There is also a $25 application fee that can be paid at any time after submitting the application.
Blue Ridge CTC’s Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program. does not require ACT or SAT scores to qualify for admission. Students may need ACT or SAT scores, or free placement testing to qualify for courses such as English, Math, or Chemistry. Placement testing can be scheduled at any time during the application process.
The Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program. at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College lets students meet their career goals in a limited time with great affordability and flexibility. With this two-year degree, students obtain real-world knowledge on how to educate young children, centered around child practices, cultural sensitivity, family, and community required for direct entry into the real-time Child care profession or for pursuing higher education. The Associate in Applied Science degree in Occupational Development is a program that works closely with the United States Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) for Child Development Specialist (ACDS) Program. This degree is a combination of apprenticeship training and college courses totaling 60 credit hours. This degree program builds on the educational component and the on- the-job-training hours completed during the apprenticeship. Therefore, upon completion of the required ACDS courses and the certificate from the Department of Labor students may earn up to 30 credit hours. Graduates with the Occupational Development, Early Childhood Practitioner AAS Degree, are qualified to teach in child care centers, Head Start programs, private nursery schools, private preschools or to serve as a Nanny. Students must be currently employed and enrolled in a Department of Labor RAP program to declare this major.

When selecting an Occupational Development: Child Development Specialist program ensure the program offers:

  • Institutional Accreditation
  • Qualified faculty and industry-driven learning delivery
  • Job prospects and placement assistance
  • Need-based financial assistance to qualified applicants

Students obtain knowledge of different stages of child development, Human Growth & Development, Health, Nutrition and Safety, Assessment of Young Children, and more.

Blue Ridge CTC’s associate degree in Occupational Development- Child Care Specialist curriculum is relevant to the needs of industry and develops foundational skills to enter or advance in the workforce.


Note: All salary projections are based on the current position and educational needs. BRCTC cannot guarantee that job titles or the projections given will be the salaries students or graduates will ultimately receive. Two year completion is approximate and based on full-time enrollment. Student testimonials, income statements, and examples on the College website are the results of real students. These testimonials are not intended to guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. Each individual’s success depends on his or her desire, commitment, dedication, and motivation to pursue academic and workforce opportunities. Testimonials are not intended to create a contract between a student and the College.

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