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Pathways to ECE: Early Childhood Education / Child Development Practitioner


The Professional and Part-Time Learning offers two different programs for those who are interested in becoming a Registered Early Childhood Educator:

The table below is designed to help potential students decide between these two pathways and make the right decision for their personal situation.

Program overview
Early Childhood Education College Diploma Child Development Practitioner Ontario College Certificate Certificate of Apprenticeship
Quality early childhood education (ECE) is critical in preparing children for future learning. As an early childhood educator, you will play an integral role in promoting children's development from birth to age 12 within the following five domains: cognitive, social, emotional, language and physical. In the online ECE program (which includes three placements), you will engage in theoretical studies along with practical applications. Moreover, professional practice and ethics will guide you in working with families, understanding pedagogy and fostering belonging and well-being in children. This program is designed for those already working in the early childhood education field who wish to pursue formal studies and receive certification. Child Development Practitioner (CDP) apprentices are required to take 23 modules of in-school training. This training is completed part-time through evening classes. CDP graduates may apply to obtain their Early Childhood Education diploma after completing two additional ECE Communication courses and three General Education electives. Durham College delivers the in-school training portion of the Child Development Practitioner Apprenticeship Program. The CDP Certificate of Apprenticeship is awarded from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), upon the successful completion of the in-school training and the practical work experience (on-the-job-hours) as mandated by MLTSD.

*prices are subject to change.

For more information or to speak with a Student Advisor about your particular situation, contact PPL.


As the Director of the Children’s Services Division, supporting more than 300 child care programs in the Region of Durham, I recognize the essential need for qualified Early Childhood Educators to offer high-quality services across the early learning sector.

As an Early Childhood Educator for more than 25 years, I can attest to what a rewarding experience it is to work in partnership with families, caregivers, and community partners to support children’s learning, development and well-being, while fostering their sense of belonging.

Lisa McIntosh RECE, M. Ed, Director – Children’s Services Division, Social Services Department, The Regional Municipality of Durham