Standards and Licensure
State Certification, Licensure and Credentialing Overview
States and state agencies use a variety of mechanisms to indicate that providers of services to young children and their families are appropriately qualified. These include state certification, licensure, and credentialing.
- In general, state certification is provided by state Departments of Education to teachers and related service providers.
- This certification should be differentiated from some professions' national certification [e.g., speech-language pathologists and audiologists may be certified by ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).]
- States may also control the practice of some professions using state licensure, with regulations established by the state's legislature.
- Support personnel may be regulated by licensure or through registration, which typically involves fewer controls.
- In addition, states may establish a separate credentialing process to govern the provision of services to a specific group, such as young children with disabilities and their families.
- For example, some states have established a set of competencies for early interventionists and/or services coordinators which must be met by all those who deliver such services, regardless of certification or licensing standards they may have met within their professions.
- In a similar fashion, states may have specific credentials for those who deliver services to children with specific disabilities, such as autism. These credentials typically require additional coursework and/or professional experience.
Programs may also need to be credentialed. Pre-service provider training programs may have certification requirements that assure consumers that their graduates are appropriately qualified. Agencies and programs that deliver services to children with disabilities and their families may also need to meet accreditation standards.
National Centers, Clearinghouses, Reports and Studies
- Section 619 Profile, 19th edition (2012) compiles State Education Authorities' (SEAs') state licensing and certification requirements (page 19) for early childhood education and special education, as well as information about SEA's support for the use of paraprofessionals (page 20).
See also: Service Coordination Under Part C
The Personnel Center is charged with building state and local capacity to recruit and retain highly qualified special education and related service personnel to serve children and youth with disabilities, birth to 21, and their families. The Personnel Center has information on states' certification and licensing requirements.
Professional Associations and Organizations
(CEC) provides information related to Professional Standards for individuals delivering services to young children with disabilities and their families.
Professional Standards and Guidelines
- Accreditation for Early Childhood Programs
- Policy statements including conceptual frameworks for early childhood professional development, teacher certification, guidelines for personnel preparation and personnel standards
- Resources for Early Childhood Education Professionals including an early learning standards self-assessmentand planning tool.