Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Cohort

BCC Early Childhood Education Program logo

Start at BCC, Transfer to MCLA - Associate to Bachelor's Degree

Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announce the creation of a joint "Associate to Bachelors" program intended to provide an efficient pathway to teacher licensure. The program is specifically designed for paraprofessionals currently employed by pre-K – 12 schools in Berkshire County. Paraprofessionals support students under the supervision of a teacher.

Constructed with the flexibility to meet the needs of participants with either some or no prior college experience, the innovative program allows paraprofessionals to earn an associate degree at BCC and continue to MCLA to earn a bachelor degree and teaching license. Students follow an Early Childhood Education or Elementary/Secondary Education pathway; eligible students may also apply for credit for prior learning after enrolling at MCLA.

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Questions or concerns?

Barbara Kotelnicki, Associate Professor of Education, BCC

Michelle Colvin, Director of Field Education, MCLA

Program Schedule

Fall Semester 2022 Intersession Spring Semester 2023 Summer Semester 2023
EDU-105 (3 credits)
Foundations of Education
MUS -110 (3 credits)
American Pop Music
ENG-102 (3 credits)
English Composition II
EDU-210 (3 credits)
Introduction to Special Needs
ENG-101 (3 credits)
English Composition I
n/a EDU-154 (3 credits)
Language and Literacy
PSY-107 (3 credits)
Introductory Psychology
Fall Semester 2023 Intercession Spring Semester 2024 Summer Semester 2024
ENV-101 (4 credits)
Conservation of Natural
Resources I
ENG-215 (3 credits)
English Literature
ENV-102 (4 credits)
Conservation of Natural
Resources II
EDU-215 (3 credits)
Equity and Cultural Diversity
THR-101 (3 credits)
Introduction to Theater
n/a MAT-113 (3 credits)
Intro Topics in Math
PSY -204 (3 credits)
Human Growth and Development
Fall Semester 2024 Intercession Spring Semester 2025 Summer Semester 2025
EDU-205 (3 credits)
Children's Literature

n/a MAT-123 (3 credits)
HIS-118 (3 credits)
US History (1865 –  )
HIS-117 (3 credits)
US History to 1877
n/a FAS Elective (3 credits) GEO-125 (3 credits)
World Geography

Graduation! And then begin at MCLA in Fall 2025!

The Associates to Bachelors program will prepare students to teach in their own classrooms, promote educational excellence and culturally responsive best practices, deliver effective instruction and meet all requirements for initial teacher licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through a combination of in-person and online classes, the model offers a thoughtful blend of classroom and field-based experiences that prepares students to make a meaningful impact in their school communities.

The cohort model program was created in response to Berkshire County school districts' need to create a licensure program that supports the preparation, development and retention of a diverse and effective educator workforce so that all students thrive. With the benefit of creating a caring community of learners with a common purpose, the program draws on the strength of BCC's and MCLA's strong partnerships with local schools, diverse academic programming and dedicated faculty.

The Commonwealth's Department of Higher Education (DHE) offers funding to Massachusetts residents who are currently employed as paraprofessionals in Massachusetts public schools (for at least two years) and wish to become certified as full-time teachers. Financial need is not a requirement for the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant, but recipients must annually file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Education Programs at BCC

  • Early Childhood Education AA Degree

    Courses outlined in the Associate in Arts program meet the Massachusetts Transfer Compact and provide a strong foundation for students continuing on to a bachelor's degree while the Associate in Science program prepares students to immediately enter the work force.

    Early Childhood Education A.A.

  • Early Childhood Education AS Degree

    The A.S. in Early Childhood Education is a ";career degree" meeting the needs of teachers in the field seeking an associate degree as a terminal degree. This option, with more required courses directly relevant to the care and teaching of young children and relating to working with families, provides training for those early childhood educators who choose to remain in the field at an associate degree level. Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses align with MADOEEC and NAEYC standards.

    Early Childhood Education AS

  • Early Childhood Education Introductory Certificate

    The Introductory Early Childhood Education certificate is the first pathway leading to greater qualifications for work with young children. With the experience provided in the practicum (ECE-123), those completing this certificate will be ready to apply for teacher qualification through the MADOEEC. The required ECE courses will be offered in the evening in rotation.

    Early Childhood Education Introductory

  • Early Childhood Education Intermediate Certificate

    After completion of the Introductory Early Childhood Education certificate or equivalent, students may begin work on this pathway. This certificate, together with nine months of additional experience in the field, prepares people to pursue lead teacher qualification through the MADOEEC. The required ECE courses will be offered in the evening in rotation.

    Early Childhood Education Intermediate

  • Elementary Education A.A. Degree
    The Elementary Education Program in Liberal Arts meets the Massachusetts Transfer Compact and lays the groundwork for students to become well-rounded, competent educators. The curriculum offers a strong foundation in liberal arts courses including: Foundations of Education, Language and Literacy, Introductory Psychology and Children's Literature, while adhering to the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers. Field Experience hours are embedded in program courses in preparation for pursuing a bachelor's degree and to fulfill requirements for the elementary education license and MTEL exams.

    Elementary Education A.A.