Your Professional Development is Critical
Research tells us that early childhood professionals with specialized knowledge and professional development in how young children develop and learn is critical, as is the quality of interactions between program staff and children.
But it’s not the degree or credential alone. The content and quality of the professional preparation program you choose to attend is equally as vital. On-going training, support and working environment are also important.
Accreditation promotes excellence in early childhood professional preparation and provides a valid and objective external evaluation of professional preparation programs as a service to the public, to students and to the profession.
The Type of Accreditation Matters
► Institutional Accreditation
The college or university as a whole is recognized as an official educational facility.
► Specialized or Professional Accreditation
An academic program (for example Early Childhood or Child Development) at the college or university is
approved by the accrediting body that enforces educational standards for that particular professional field.
Think about Institutional Accreditation as a general contractor and Specialized or Professional Accreditation as an electrician. The contractor works on the entire building, while the electrician focuses specifically on the electrical system.
To learn more about Specialized and Professional Accreditation in general, watch this short video produced by the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA).
To learn more about the Accreditation process specific to Early Childhood Associate Degree programs, view this quick reference guide to Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation.
Accreditation for the Early Childhood Profession
NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation (ECADA) is the accrediting body for educational programs at the associate degree level that prepare students to work in the field of early childhood.
► Seeking an Associate Degree Program accredited by the NAEYC Commission on Early
Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation? View our list of Accredited Associate Degree
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) (formerly NCATE), is the profession’s mechanism to help establish high quality teacher preparation. NAEYC works with CAEP to review early childhood programs at the baccalaureate or graduate levels.
► Seeking a Baccalaureate or Graduate Degree Program recognized by NAEYC in the
CAEP Accreditation System? View a list of Recognized Baccalaureate and Graduate
Degree Programs (select “Recognized Programs by SPA" link and look for NAEYC in the SPA column).
Be In The Know
Early childhood professionals work in many settings. Child development programs (home-based and center-based) and public schools are common settings. The qualifications you will need to work in these settings are based on the type of funding the program receives and level of quality the employers in these settings want to achieve.
Keep abreast of Professional Qualification Requirements for:
- Head Start and Early Head Start funded programs
- NAEYC accredited early childhood programs serving young children
- Child care subsidy funded programs*
- Elementary school educators and administrators*
- Programs participating in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)*
- Licensed child development (home-based and center-based)*
- Other related professionals like home visitors, early intervention specialists and family service workers*
*Requirements vary per state. Your local Department of Education, Department of Health/Human Services, NAEYC affiliate, or early childhood college professor may be able to help you locate the resources applicable to your state.
Contact us if you need more information.