- Programs Interested in Accreditation
- Programs Pursuing or Maintaining Accreditation
- Programs Pursuing or Maintaining National Recognition
- Peer Reviewers
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Need information about the impact of NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation for programs, students, and the field of early childhood education? Here are a few key benefits reported in a survey of faculty members from accredited programs:
• At least 85% of faculty noted an increased awareness of the early childhood program and its value to the college community from college administrators by participating in the accreditation process.
• Three out of four faculty members indicated that the accreditation process increased student engagement in collaborative and active learning.
• 93% of faculty agreed that students have more opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the national professional standards as a result of the accreditation process.
• Two-thirds of faculty from accredited programs noted that the accreditation process has helped create additional partnerships with community stakeholders.
• This accreditation system was developed and continues to be shaped by faculty. The majority of the Commissioners making all accreditation decisions and policies as well as the peer review teams conducting the site visit are early childhood faculty members.
Want more information? Visit our benefits overview for more details on the results of this survey.
If you'd like thorough, detailed information about each step, requirement, policy, and procedure involved in seeking, earning, and maintaining accreditation, please review the NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Handbook. For a brief overview of the basic steps in the process, please visit our accreditation process overview.
Programs seeking and maintaining accreditation submit the following fees (subject to change):
• Application and eligibility review ($510; due with program application for eligibility)
• Accreditation review ($1,530 if submitting one program, $2,040 if submitting more than one program; due with Self-Study Report on March 31 or September 30)
• Site visit ($6,500*; due after Self-Study Report is approved and by July 31 for visits the following fall or December 15 for visits the following spring)
• Annual fee ($1,530 for one program, $2,040 for more than one program; due with Annual Report on each subsequent anniversary of accreditation review fee submission.)
*Site visit fee covers all direct costs (including peer reviewers' airfare and hotel) and administrative costs associated with the site visit. Higher fees may apply in Alaska, Hawaii, and US territories or in special circumstances requiring a longer-than-usual visit or larger reviewer team.
The good news is that our profession has come to consensus around what professionals should know and be able to do, regardless of the degree level with which they enter the field—knowing that different degrees may qualify them for varying roles that will require differentiated ways of demonstrating knowledge and skills. Because NAEYC-accredited programs at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree levels all meet the same national professional standards, this consistency can streamline the process of articulating individual degrees and provide reassurance to programs at all degree levels.
Previously, the NAEYC higher education system accredited only associate degree programs. Starting in 2016, NAEYC began expanding its higher education accreditation system to begin accrediting programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels as well. Several programs at these levels are currently piloting the newly expanded system, but in the meantime, some resources will continue referring to the Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation (ECADA) system until the new system is fully operational and open to the public under its new name of NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs.
Congratulations on your program’s demonstration of quality and commitment to continuous improvement! A term of accreditation expires seven years after the original accreditation decision—so programs should plan to submit five Annual Reports, followed by a renewal Self-Study Report in Year 6, in order to have a site visit and an accreditation decision within that seven-year period. Hopefully, through the process of Annual Reports, a program is always working toward renewal to some extent—but the focus intensifies during the year that you prepare the renewal Self-Study Report, and in the period afterward when you prepare for the site visit.
Sometimes, questions about the timeline come up when a program was initially accredited for a two-year period and then had conditions removed. If you are uncertain about your program’s individual timeline for renewal, please feel free to contact us anytime!
Congratulations on your new role! We look forward to supporting you! As a starting place, please complete and return this Contact Information Update Form, along with any needed attachments. This will enable us to update our records and grant you access to the online community of resources. We also encourage you to contact us to schedule a time to talk with NAEYC staff about where your program is in the process and how we can be most supportive.
Good news: if you have already accessed the online community at any time since our transition to the Basecamp platform, you can reset your password directly from the log-in screen. NAEYC does not have access to your password or the ability to directly reset it. If your program has been deemed eligible to begin self-study and you do not yet have an account in Basecamp (or cannot remember which email address you used to log in with in the past), please contact us and we can help.
Absolutely! We encourage you to download and submit our on-site training request form to begin the conversation; staff or trained facilitators may be able to travel to meet with programs in person, and/or connect via webinar. We look forward to learning how we can support your efforts! (Please note that staff and facilitators are unable to consult programs on their specific assessments, rubrics, or other aspects of program design; trainings will focus only on accreditation requirements, best practices, and hands-on exercises using sample materials.)
For a brief description of the process involved in earning NAEYC National Recognition as part of the CAEP Accreditation process, please visit our recognition overview. For more details, please visit the program review policies and procedures and standards and report forms sections of the CAEP website.
All baccalaureate and graduate degree programs submitted for NAEYC Recognition are designated as one of these three types:
• Initial-licensure Programs: These programs create a foundation in the standards, values, theory, and research of early childhood programs for their students. They include baccalaureate and master's degree programs that lead to a degree candidate's first license to teach in early childhood programs and classrooms.
• Advanced Programs: These programs, for degree candidates who already have a license to teach in early childhood, extend and enhance these candidates’ knowledge and application in early childhood. These programs may have a specialized focus, such as advocacy, administration, or mentoring. They include master's and doctoral programs.
• Blended Programs: These programs address both early childhood (NAEYC) standards and special education (Council for Exceptional Children) standards. They prepare teachers and other professionals to develop and work within inclusive settings that serve children with and without disabilities.
► It is important to determine which type of program is being submitted for recognition to ensure that you are using the correct standards and report template. Not sure if your program is initial or advanced? Use this chart to find out. To learn more about the difference between blended and nonblended programs, see How are Blended Program Reports Different from Other Program Reports?
NAEYC offers planning tools and workshops, and staff are available to answer questions. For more details about available resources, please visit our resources and professional development overview.
We know from research that having specialized knowledge and professional development in how young children develop and learn is critical for early childhood professionals. But earning just any early childhood degree or credential alone may not be enough. The content and quality of the program you choose to attend is vital in determining whether the program will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective early educator.
Accreditation provides an external evaluation of professional preparation programs, which can play a helpful role in helping you choose a high-quality program that's right for you. Programs that earn accreditation have demonstrated that they meet a set of national standards agreed to by experts in the early childhood field to ensure students graduate with the knowledge and skills all early childhood professionals should possess.
The benefits of attending an NAEYC Accredited degree program include:
• Accredited programs support student engagement and responsive practice. 75% of faculty members indicated that the accreditation process increased their students' engagement in collaborative and active learning.
• Accredited programs focus on what professionals need to know and be able to do. Accredited programs provide rich experiences for you to learn and apply your understanding of the national professional standards. These experiences can give you a solid foundation, making you more marketable to employers.
• Accredited programs are committed to quality. All degree programs are not of the same quality. Accreditation recognizes excellence in early childhood professional preparation at a critical time when current and future professionals are seeking specialized early childhood degrees and credentials.
• Specialized accreditation matters. As a specialized accreditor, NAEYC examines programs preparing early childhood professionals to make sure they are meeting the standards for the early childhood field. Institutional accreditors only review the college or university as a whole without the in-depth focus on the early childhood program.
To learn more about the educational qualifications required for NAEYC-accredited early learning program staff, please visit the early learning program accreditation system's staff qualifications overview.
To learn about the qualifications required for teachers at Head Start and Early Head Start funded programs, please visit this Head Start qualifications policy overview.
Requirements for these roles vary by 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.
Thank you for your interest in contributing to the field of early childhood in this valuable way! To apply to become a peer reviewer, please fill out our online peer reviewer application.
All peer reviewers must have:
• Experience teaching early childhood courses as a faculty member at a college or university.
• A graduate degree in early childhood education, child development, or a closely related field.
• Familiarity with the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation Programs.
• An understanding of student assessment in higher education programs.
Current or former full- or part-time early childhood faculty members who meet the qualifications listed above are encouraged to apply! Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an online training program.
Peer reviewers for the accreditation system:
• Work as a small team to evaluate one early childhood higher education program's self-study report per cycle.
• Interact with program faculty, students, administrators, and community members during a three-day site visit to the program in order to gather additional information.
• Write a peer review report summarizing the team’s findings after the site visit. This report is shared with the program as well as forwarded to the Commission for use in making the final accreditation decision.
Peer reviewers for the recognition system:
• Work as a small team to electronically evaluate several early childhood higher education programs' reports per cycle (there is no site visit component to the recognition review process).
• Determine whether or not the programs have successfully met the standards and earned recognition.
• Write a recognition report summarizing the findings, which is forwarded to the NAEYC Audit Team to ensure accuracy and consistency among decisions.
Yes! Provided the courses you are teaching or have taught are early childhood or child development courses and you have a graduate degree in ECE or a related field, you are welcome to apply!
The peer reviewer role is a volunteer position. However, many reviewers have shared that the professional development gained through serving as a reviewer is priceless. In addition, each year, NAEYC sends letters of commendation to active peer reviewers' college presidents, deans, or other supervisors to share recognition of and gratitude for their hard work, which reviewers often say is helpful during performance reviews, tenure review, and other professional growth opportunities.
No. The program being reviewed covers the travel costs associated with hosting the reviewer team.
Don't see your question listed above? Please contact us if you need further information.