Early Childhood Scholarships, Careers, and Resources


APRENDE participants have access to many different financial support programs and stipends.

APRENDE Stipends

Apprentices will receive additional stipends for participating in professional development, reflective coaching, and communities of practice.

ECECD Scholarships

APRENDE apprentices are encouraged to apply for and maintain eligibility for the ECECD scholarship throughout the apprenticeship program. Apprentices will need to reapply for the scholarship annually.


  • Work at least 20 hours/week in an eligible early child program (all APRENDE employer partners are eligible early childhood programs)
  • Maintain a C grade or better in all courses
  • Complete a minimum of six credit hours per scholarship year

For associate degree students the scholarship covers:

  • 100% of tuition and fees
  • 100% of textbooks for approved courses
  • 100% of PRAXIS testing costs after verification of passed exam score

Please see the NM ECECD Scholarship website for more information about the scholarship and for the scholarship application: https://ececdscholarship.org/

 SFCC Scholarships and Pell Grants

All students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA and apply to SFCC Scholarships for additional financial aid and support.  https://www.sfcc.edu/offices/financial-aid/


Students who qualify for WIOA may be eligible for additional assistance such as transportation costs, childcare assistance, and more.  https://www.nnmworkforceconnection.com/ 

As your education and experience increase, you can continue growing your career in early childhood education.

  • Assistant Teacher/Education Assistant: With one or more courses in early childhood education and care, you can be an assistant teacher in many community-based early childhood programs or a public pre-K program. Some programs may have a higher requirement, like completion of the Child Development Certificate (CDC).
  • Home Visitor:  Home visitors work one-on-one with families with young children to support them with parenting and child development.
  • Lead Teacher: With an associate degree in early childhood education, you can be a lead teacher in many community-based early childhood programs. Public school pre-K programs require lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Program Coordinator or Director:  With additional experience and education, you can become an assistant director, director or program coordinator in early childhood
  • Early Childhood Coach: Early childhood coaches support early childhood teachers in the field to meet standards and training required by state programs.
  • Early Childhood Faculty: With experience and a master’s degree or PhD, you can teach early childhood education classes at a community college or university.

There are many exciting career pathways in early childhood that start with experience in the classroom working with children and families.  These are just a few of the many pathways that you can take to a career that makes a difference in your community.


Early childhood educators can enter the profession at any level of education, with the opportunity to continue advancing their education and salary.

  • The minimum requirement for employment in an early childhood program in New Mexico is completion of either a “45-Hour Entry-Level course” or enrollment in at least one 3-credit college-level early childhood education course.
  • Child Development Certificate (CDC): this state level certificate is equivalent to the national Child Development Associate or CDA. There are four college courses required for completion of this certificate and all of these courses count towards the professional certificate and associate degree:
    • ECED 1110: Child, Growth, Development and Learning
    • ECED 1125: Assessment of Children and Evaluation of Programs
    • ECED 1130: Family and Community Collaboration
    • ECED 1115: Health, Safety, and Nutrition
    • ECED 1120: Guiding Young Children
  • Professional Certificate: this certificate is issued by the NM ECECD upon completion of all 29 credits of required early childhood education coursework towards an associate degree.
  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education: the apprenticeship program concludes with attainment of an associate degree. This requires completion of 31 credits of early childhood courses and 32 general education credits.
  • Bachelor’s degree: After completion of the apprenticeship program and associate degree at SFCC, apprentices will receive support to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at another New Mexico institution. All credits from the associate degree transfer as credits toward a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at any New Mexico public institution with an early childhood bachelor’s degree program.
  • Graduate studies: Students who complete their bachelor’s degree may wish to continue to a master’s degree or doctorate degree in early childhood education.


For information on FAFSA federal financial aid, SFCC student scholarships, and loans: https://www.sfcc.edu/offices/financial-aid/

Information and links for campus services and student support services: https://www.sfcc.edu/exceptional-support/

Applicants to the APRENDE apprenticeship must have a high school diploma or high school equivalency/GED. If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, see the college’s HSE/GED program page: https://www.sfcc.edu/new-student-registration-hse-ged/  or the I-BEST Program for Early Childhood Development: https://www.sfcc.edu/career-training-opportunities-i-best/