The Difference Between NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation and Recognition
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NAEYC offers two different paths for higher education institutions looking to improve and evaluate the quality of their early childhood degree programs. Both NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs and NAEYC Recognition provide opportunities for program faculty and other stakeholders to conduct a self-study to determine the strengths and areas for improvement within their programs. However, there are differences in the processes, requirements, and levels of rigor involved.
Baccalaureate and graduate degree programs seeking NAEYC Recognition submit an electronic report focused on the early childhood program(s) in their institution as part of a larger unit review through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The recognition process does not involve a program-level site visit from NAEYC. Instead, the entire teacher education college or unit (referred to by CAEP as the "education preparation provider" or EPP) receives a visit conducted by CAEP. Reports submitted by early childhood programs seeking NAEYC Recognition are reviewed electronically by a team of peer reviewers and auditors, who make the recommendation for whether the program should be granted recognition from NAEYC.
NAEYC Accreditation, on the other hand, involves an in-depth review of the early childhood program alone, and includes submission of a Self-Study Report as well as a three-day on-site visit by a team of peer reviewers seeking to validate the information provided in the program's report. This team of peer reviewers compiles a report of their findings to present to the Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs, the decision-making body that makes the final accreditation decision.
Below is a brief summary of the main differences between the two systems. For a more in-depth explanation, please download this detailed guide.
|NAEYC Accreditation||NAEYC Recognition|
|Degree Levels||Associate, baccalaureate & master's degree programs in US states and territories||Baccalaureate, master's & doctoral degree programs internationally|
|Process||Self-Study Report review and 3-day site visit by team of NAEYC peer reviewers||Program Report reviewed electronically by team of NAEYC peer reviewers and the NAEYC Audit Team as part of institution's CAEP Accreditation process|
|Decision-Making Body||NAEYC Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs||NAEYC peer reviewers and NAEYC Audit Team|
Not sure which path is right for your institution's early childhood degree program?
Often programs choose NAEYC Accreditation if:
- They prefer a process with more focus specifically on early childhood education.
- Their program is a licensure program at an institution that does not participate in CAEP.
- Their program is a nonlicensure program at the associate, baccalaureate, or master's degree level.
Often programs choose NAEYC National Recognition if:
- Their state requires it as part of CAEP accreditation of the education preparation provider (often a College of Education or School of Education) at their institution.
Still not sure which path is right for your program? Contact us to discuss your options!