Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Beryl Watnick


The problem this basic qualitative study sought to address was the length of time it takes minority childcare providers (MCCPs) seeking an associate of applied science degree in early childhood (EC) education to graduate from a community college. For MCCPs to acquire a degree and meet educational requirements, they often work full time to complete the degree, which may result in loss of employment, closure of their family child care homes, demotion in positions, or decreased salaries. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of MCCPs on the barriers to timely degree completion of an associate degree in EC. Yosso's asset-based theory of community cultural wealth grounded this study. A purposeful sample of 12 MCCPs, who completed an associate's EC degree at a community college, were employed during the program, and took 7-10+ years to graduate, participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed through coding and theme development. Participants faced barriers navigating the college process, passing placement exams and remedial courses, locating supports at the college and workplace, connecting with campus life as nontraditional students, and balancing family and college commitments. It is recommended that college administrators provide accessible support systems for MCCPs to navigate the college process, assign knowledgeable advisors of the EC degree and willing to meet with students during nontraditional hours, and establish an EC education club for MCCPs' to network with other students. These endeavors may lead to positive social change when campus leaders, faculty, and staff are involved with MCCPs to overcome barriers; thus, reducing the time to completion for many students facing the same barriers.