Resources for Programs Pursuing NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation
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The NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Handbook and Professional Preparation Standards
As your program works to achieve or maintain accreditation, the NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Handbook and Higher Education Accreditation Standards will be your primary resources for policies, procedures, and other relevant guidelines.
Higher Education Accreditation Handbook
The NAEYC Accreditation Handbook is available as a PDF document. Programs are encouraged to thoroughly review the policies within, and to ensure they are always referring to the most recent published version.
Higher Education Accreditation Standards
Throughout 2021 and 2022, the accreditation system is in the process of transitioning from the 2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs to the 2021 Ensuring Quality in Early Childhood Education Professional Preparation Programs: NAEYC’s Early Childhood Higher Education Accreditation Standards.
Programs seeking and maintaining accreditation submit the following fees (subject to change):
- Application and eligibility review ($561; due with program applications for eligibility submitted on or after September 1, 2017)
- Accreditation review ($1,683 if submitting one program, $2,244 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 ($1,683 for one program, $2,244 for more than one program; due on each anniversary of accreditation review fee submission. On the rare occasion when program circumstances (not NAEYC circumstances) require a program to extend its candidacy beyond one year, the program will pay an annual fee to maintain its candidacy status.)
- Late fee for late reports and/or fees ($150; due for Annual Reports, Renewal Self-Study Reports, and/or respective fees more than two weeks late for which a formal extension request was not submitted)
- Appeals fee ($500; refundable if appeals panel decides in favor of program)
*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.
Once a program has been deemed eligible to begin self-study, the primary and secondary contacts are granted access to a Higher Education Accreditation online community. This private online community contains additional resources and discussion threads to help support programs that are in self-study, responding to conditions, maintaining accreditation through submission of Annual Reports, or seeking to renew accreditation.
Resources include templates, tips, and a Q&A discussion thread. Only programs deemed eligible for accreditation can access the online community. We encourage programs to apply for eligibility and join the community before getting too immersed in the work, as the resources available there frequently save faculty members significant time and effort.
Once you have been given access, you can log in to the community here.
[Note: Online community access should not be shared with others due to potential confidentiality issues for those with multiple roles in the accreditation system (program contact, peer reviewer, Commissioner, etc.) If another faculty member at your program needs access to the online community, please contact us to inquire whether we can set up an additional account for them rather than sharing your log in information with them.]
Professional Development Opportunities
Become a Peer Reviewer
Faculty members seeking to learn more about the accreditation process and to give back to the early childhood field often find that becoming a volunteer peer reviewer is a valuable form of professional development. Peer reviewers in the Higher Education Accreditation system review the Self-Study Reports of early childhood higher education programs seeking accreditation and travel in small teams to conduct site visits of programs. To learn more about this professional development opportunity, please visit our peer reviewer page.
NAEYC Annual Conference and Institute Workshops and Sessions
NAEYC Higher Education staff organize separate-fee workshops prior to NAEYC’s Annual Conferences and Professional Development Institutes designed for faculty engaged in or interested in learning more about NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs. Presenters include faculty from successfully accredited and recognized programs, peer reviewers, Commissioners, and NAEYC staff. Other sessions on higher education accreditation are held over the course of these conferences as well.
Free Webinars for Programs
Throughout the year, NAEYC conducts webinars for programs preparing to submit their Self-Study Report or Annual Report, or preparing for renewal of accreditation. Programs' primary contacts are sent email invitations to join these webinars and are encouraged to participate to keep informed of the latest updates and tips.
Fee-based On-Site and Virtual Training Sessions
For programs that cannot attend NAEYC's conference or the Professional Development Institute, other training formats are also available. Options range from full-day on-site trainings for individual programs or statewide groups of colleges interested in or pursuing accreditation, to a single webinar or webinar series targeting specific topics of interest. Costs for on-site and virtual trainings vary and depend on the format and location. If you are interested in hosting a training, we encourage you to complete our on-site training request form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the conversation. [Note: Staff and facilitators are unable to consult with 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.]
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I’m a program coordinator at an accredited program. When should we be starting to think about renewal?
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!
Q. I’m a new program coordinator at an accredited program or a program that is in self-study. What resources can help me transition into my new role?
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.
Q. I'm having trouble accessing the online community/resource library. How can I reset my password or figure out my username?
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.
Q. I would like to work with others in my state who are also pursuing accreditation. Does NAEYC provide on-site training for groups of programs?
Absolutely! We encourage you to submit our on-site training request form to email@example.com 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.)
Training opportunities are also available twice each year at NAEYC's Annual Conference and Professional Learning Institute.