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Child and Youth Development Degree for Working Adults

(c) Milligan College Teacher Education

Want to teach or lead a child development center? Milligan provides an Affordable Difference to finish your degree.

  • 18-23 months to complete the major
  • One night per week + some online
  • Tuition is lower than state university
  • Parking, bookstore, library, computer resources available in the evening
  • Be part of a cohort group going through the program together
  • Get a free Personalized Degree Plan
  • Quality curriculum, nationally respected university, caring faculty
  • NCATE accreditation means your degree is instantly recognized nationwide for quality


What Makes Our Program Unique

Beginning with their first education class, our students are heavily involved in field experience in the schools. Our students gain practical, hands-on experience both in the classroom and in their field experiences. Our students are recognized as caring servant-leaders who desire to make a difference. Committed and caring faculty work with you through each step of the program. And we have fun while learning!

Finish your degree with the option to add teacher licensure

Finish your degree with the option to add teacher licensure following degree completion requirements! In 18-23 months you can complete the Child and Youth Development degree, and opt to certify to teach K5/ESL with an additional semester of full-time student teaching following completion of the degree. Classes meet only one to two nights per week and online. Tuition is affordable and within your reach.

A determination of eligibility for licensure in other states has not been made. Students should check specific state requirements before applying to the program. 

Personalized Degree Plan

We offer an upfront free Personalized Degree Plan that reviews your transcripts and past credit to determine exactly what your degree plan will be and how long it will take you. This ultimately saves you time and money by making sure you stay on track to complete your degree without any surprises and as quickly as you can. Email ECE@milligan.edu to get your process started.


Tuition for the program is one of the most economical programs in our region and is even priced below the local state university rate. Financial aid is available for degree completion students. Students in this program are eligible to apply for state and federal tuition assistance programs and for employer reimbursement when applicable. Read more about cost and financial aid here »

Also, the state of Tennessee offers several scholarship and grant programs for undergraduate and graduate students (Tennessee residents). Visit https://www.tn.gov/collegepays/topic/loan-forgiveness-programs to learn more.


The Child and Youth Development major can be completed in 18 months. The curriculum includes courses in literacy, technology, assessment and intervention, psychology, teaching, administration, curriculum, media eects, and more. Certification to teach requires an additional full-time semester of student teaching after the completion of degree requirements, for a total of 23 months. Students must also complete the University’s general education requirements, but often these have been completed in a student’s prior coursework. We are happy to review your transcript and provide a degree plan. Read more about curriculum »

Personal Attention

You’ll progress through the program in small classes, giving you an opportunity to develop relationships, learn from diverse experiences and approaches, and benefit from a built-in support network. This also allows professors to interact closely with students for individual attention and supervision throughout the program. Teaching you is more than a job to our faculty – it’s a mission. They are dedicated teachers, experienced professionals, and trusted mentors who invest time, energy, and ideas to inspire you and help you reach your highest potential. It’s not just a degree. It’s your future.

Outstanding Reputation

  • One of only 9 programs with an “Exceeds Expectations” rating on the State Board of Education Report Card
  • Second and third-year employment retention rates exceed the state average
  • Our employed teacher graduates “exceed expectations” on measures related to teacher observations and student-growth scores, scoring well above the state average

For many decades, Milligan has enjoyed a strong partnership with area school systems. The University’s reputation for producing well-prepared, creative, commited teachers is unparalleled. School administrators consistently look to Milligan as a resource for both hiring and training, regularly calling on faculty to lead workshops for in-services and to collaborate on various education issues. Thousands of our graduates are serving as teachers, coaches, counselors, and administrators in schools across the United States.

NCATE accreditation means your degree from Milligan is instantly recognized in Tennessee and the nation for its quality. Milligan’s commitment to meet NCATE quality standards means we take great care in seeing you gain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for success as a professional educator. Read more about our accreditation below.

Christian Worldview

Today’s schools are challenged as never before. Now more than ever, children need teachers and leaders who are committed to excellence in the classroom and Christian principles. Educators prepared in such a way can make a real difference in the school and community where they live and serve. Our primary goal at Milligan is to prepare caring and reflective educators who will affect the lives of children in a markedly positive manner.

Classroom Experience

You’ll get extensive field experience in teaching, assessment, and classroom management through field experience associated with coursework and a practicum experience. You’ll work directly with master teachers as mentors.


By scheduling classes only one night per week with an on-line component running through the entire term, our degree completion program allows you to work toward your degree even if you’re working full-time. Campus resources, such as the bookstore, library, and computer labs, are available in the evening and parking is easy to find. We know that working full-time, caring for a family, and going to school can be hectic. Our competent and friendly staff are ready to help you with the administrative details of the program so you can focus on learning. Additional online courses offer even easier access to this opportunity. Also, you may begin the program during any term.


NCATEFully approved by the Tennessee Department of Education, Milligan’s teacher education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-466-7496). This accreditation covers initial teacher and advanced educator preparation programs. This accreditation means your degree from Milligan is instantly recognized in Tennessee and the nation for its quality. We take great care in seeing you gain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for success as a professional educator.

In 2013, NCATE and TEAC consolidated into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as the new accrediting body for educator preparation.

Getting Started

You need to have approximately 52 semester hours (about two years) of college work which can be transferred to Milligan. We offer a free Personalized Degree Plan to determine exactly what your degree plan will be and how long it will take you. If you’re currently working toward the 52 hours, let us help you prepare to transfer to Milligan. We can help determine what courses you need and where you can obtain them. Contact Melissa or call 423.461.8306.

We’ll work with you from your first question to graduation, and we’ll help you develop a degree plan upfront that makes the most of your time and money.


START DATE:  January



Non-licensure and pre-admission to teacher licensure admission requirements are listed below.  Apply online today. Just call us and we’ll walk you through it. Our application process is simple:

  1. APPLICATION: Completed application and personal statement. Apply online now!
  2. TRANSCRIPTS: showing completion of fifty-two (52) or more semester hours and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  3. REFERENCES: one character and one employer
  4. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: This program is approved by SEVIS to accept international applicants. International students must complete the application requirements for this program AND the international application requirements and immigration/visa process outlined here » 

Once admitted into the University, students seeking licensure must attain full admission to teacher education by the end of their second term.

Admission requirements for licensure:

  1.  Application to Teacher Ed
  2.  GPA of 3.0
  3.  Positive Dispositions
  4.  ACT score of 22, SAT score of 1080, or passing Praxis Core in math, reading
  5.  Passing writing score on ACT, SAT, or Praxis Core writing
  6.  Completed GER requirements in math, history, and science

Community College Grads

Milligan University maintains articulation agreements with many regional community colleges to help insure that your credits transfer smoothly into Milligan’s bachelor’s degree program. If you are a community college graduate, Milligan will develop a degree plan sheet showing you exactly how your existing college credits will transfer. Call us today to set up a meeting with our academic advisor, and find out how close you are to earning your bachelor’s degree!

Expectations and Responsibilities

All students at Milligan are expected to uphold the expectations and responsibilities for student lifestyles at Milligan University. Milligan University adopts specific rules on the basis of the belief that God’s Word, as the final rule of faith and practice, speaks on many matters pertaining to personal conduct. Therefore, behavior that conflicts with Scripture is unacceptable. Historically, communities also have developed guidelines that help put into practice basic moral and social principles. Such standards serve as a guide toward worthwhile goals relevant to one’s academic, spiritual, social, and physical well-being.

Students should consult the Student Handbook for further guidance regarding acceptable personal lifestyle and conduct while enrolled at Milligan University. A student’s matriculation and enrollment at Milligan University is their pledge to uphold the policies and expectations outlined in the Student Handbook and Catalog.


The Child and Youth Development Major can be completed in 18 months and includes courses such as:

  • Child Development
  • Family
  • Technology in Education
  • Child Guidance
  • Literacy Development
  • Children’s Literature
  • Reading Processes with Assessment and Intervention
  • Early Childhood and Elementary Curriculum and Methods
  • Creative Activities for Children
  • Media Effects on Children and Adolescents
  • Psychology of the Exceptional Child
  • Health and Physical Education Methods
  • Teaching Methods
  • Early Childhood Administration
  • Fifteen hours of field experience included per term









View all details and course requirements for this program in the Milligan University Catalog (link below).


Degree Requirements

  1. Child & Youth Development Major: Click here to review the degree requirements for the major, as well as the additional student teaching requirements.
  2. Certification to teach requires an additional full-time semester of student teaching, for a total of 23 months. Click here to review the additional student teaching requirements.
  3. General Education: Students must also complete the University’s general education requirements as outlined in the University Catalog, but often these have been completed in a student’s prior coursework. Click here for a helpful chart showing the courses that have demonstrated equivalency to Milligan’s courses.

We are happy to review your transcript and provide a degree plan. Call us at 423.461.8306 or email ECE@milligan.edu.


The growing field of early childhood education includes many different job opportunities. Regardless of the position you seek, if you are considering a degree in early childhood education, you should enjoy children and have a strong desire to help them learn and succeed.

As an early childhood education major, you might enjoy a variety of career options after you graduate. Professionals may work with children of different age groups, depending on their specialty; the age range covered usually goes from birth to age 8 or so (third grade). An early childhood education major enjoys the opportunity for employment in a field that dramatically shapes and influences the lives of children. Early childhood educators enjoy teaching and are capable of teaching skills using a variety of instructional methods. They are flexible, and enjoy an autonomous work environment. Above all, professionals in the field of early childhood education must have a true love of young people.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects favorable growth in the early childhood education field over the next ten years. As Baby Boomer teachers retire and school enrollment increases, the need for educators and child care workers will increase as well. In some areas, where the need for teachers is high, schools are offering bonuses and higher than average pay.


Dr. Rich Aubrey

Rich Aubrey

Campus Minister; Adjunct Instructor of Education; Apartment Manager

Phone: 423.461.8748
Contact via email
Office: McMahan Student Center


Dr. Tausha Clay

Tausha Clay

Professor of Education; Paul Clark Chair of Teacher Education; Coordinator of Field Experience-Teacher Education; Director of Ed.D. and Ed.S. Programs

Phone: 423.461.8427
Contact via email
Office: Clark Education Center 099


Dr. Angela Hilton-Prillhart

Angela Hilton-Prillhart

Associate Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Education; Associate Professor of Education; Area Chair of Education; Director of the M.Ed. Program; Director of Teacher Certification

Phone: 423.461.8769
Contact via email
Office: Baker Faculty Office Center, 105


Dr. Lyn Howell

Lyn Howell

The Paul Clark Chair Emerita of Teacher Education

Phone: 423.461.8484
Contact via email
Office: Clark Teacher Education Center


Karen Presnell

Karen Presnell

Office Manager and Certification Officer for Teacher Education

Phone: 423.461.8927
Contact via email
Office: Clark Education Center, 103