Professionals specializing in early childhood education (ECE) are responsible for guiding the education and development of young children from birth to age eight. An online master’s in the field allows prospective educators to complete coursework in theoretical concepts virtually while pursuing required field training in a classroom or other professional setting in close proximity to their home. Assignments designed to build skills in child development, language, and literacy and assessment techniques, for example, can be completed online through a variety of multimedia technologies. Online students also have the opportunity to improve their communication, decision-making and collaboration skills through a combination of individual and group projects in the virtual classroom.
Pursuing a career in early childhood education requires a unique set of soft skills in addition to a formal education. While it is necessary for professionals in this field to have a comprehensive understanding of child education and development, it is equally important to possess very strong interpersonal skills, including but not limited to communication and written communication, patience, empathy and compassion. Though minimum education requirements vary, an online master’s in early childhood education can be the first step toward becoming a teacher, child center director, children’s program developer, public policy manager or parent and family advocate, among other options.
Below, we’ve ranked the best online master’s in early childhood education programs in the U.S. for 2016, as determined by our rigorous ranking methodology.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Brandman University||Irvine||$$$$$||16355 Laguna Canyon Road|
Irvine, CA 92618
Brandman University in Irvine, California began as Chapman University College. This private institution boasts a 92% student approval rating, accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and placement on the U.S. News & World Report's list of most innovative schools.
Brandman offers a master of arts in education with an emphasis in early childhood education leadership. This 30-credit program prepares students for administrative and management positions concerning curriculum development, finances, and communication. Students learn to create programs reflecting the National Association for the Education of Young Children's guidelines through courses such as seminars in curriculum studies and comparative education. Degree seekers must also complete an early childhood program evaluation capstone.
To pursue this master's in early childhood education online, candidates must boast California residency and relevant certification, such as the child development associate credential or the California child development associate teacher permit. Applicants must also submit two recommendation letters.
|2||Arizona State University - Skysong||Scottsdale||$$$$$||1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 200|
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Arizona State University's history dates back to 1885 with the creation of the Territorial Normal School. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, ASU educates more than 98,000 learners each year, with 26,200 attending the Skysong campus. Recognized alumni include Air Force Major General Margaret H. Woodward, fashion designer Kate Spade, and Congressman Ed Pastor. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this public institution.
The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College delivers a 30-credit master of education in curriculum and instruction, concerning early childhood education. The curriculum addresses policy, advocacy, management, and technology as they relate to children age eight or younger. Coursework includes emergent literacy and mathematics in early childhood education. Candidates must also complete in-person fieldwork.
Students can also choose a 45-credit master's path that includes certification. This online master's in early childhood education prepares students for teaching careers in preschool through third grade. Graduates can also pursue careers as school psychologists and administrators.
ASU offers graduate certificates in autism spectrum disorders, applied behavior analysis, gifted education, and English as a second language for further credentials.
|3||Concordia University - Portland||Portland||$$$$$||2811 NE Holman Street|
Portland, OR 97211-6099
Founded in 1905, Concordia University in Oregon embraces Lutheran Christian traditions. As of 2016, Concordia University - Portland educated 5,455 students. This private school holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and offers classes with an interactive 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Degree seekers can pursue Concordia's master of education in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in early childhood education. This concentration explores field innovations and research for improving children's education. Required courses include contemporary educational thought, theories of teaching and learning, and play in early childhood education, along with an action research or practitioner inquiry capstone. Each online course lasts five weeks and follows an asynchronous delivery format.
Candidates can obtain this master's in early childhood education online degree in one year, with no in-person attendance. Students can earn several scholarships, including the Title I Teacher's Scholarship, and receive free textbooks. Admission requires a minimum 2.8 GPA and a statement of intent.
|4||Liberty University||Lynchburg||$$$$$||1971 University Blvd|
Lynchburg, VA 24515
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia was founded in 1971. The private school educates more than 100,000 students with curriculum grounded in Christian ideas. It also offers more than 600 programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation to Liberty.
The School of Education offers a master of education in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in early childhood education. This program trains learners to build age-relevant curricula by exploring child behavior and educational legal concerns. Degree seekers must earn 36 credits in courses such as curriculum evaluation, advanced child development, and organization and administration of preschools. Learners must also complete a directed practicum or a capstone addressing current issues in education.
This program holds accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Learners can obtain this master's in early childhood education online in 1.5 years, but they must boast a minimum 2.5 GPA. Candidates can shorten their program length by transferring in up to half of the program's required credits.
|5||Concordia University - Saint Paul||Saint Paul||$$$$$||1282 Concordia Ave|
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
Located in Minnesota, Concordia University - St. Paul began in 1893. This private institution affiliates with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
CSP's master of arts in education with an emphasis in early childhood education reflects the principles of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. These principles focus on improving classroom practices through theories and research. Students complete 33 credits in seven-week classes such as ethics for educators, effective research writing, methods in early childhood programming, and language development and emergent literacy. The department also requires a capstone course. This program does not lead to certification or licensure.
Applicants must have paid or volunteer experience in education and submit a personal statement and resume. Admission also requires a 3.0 GPA. Resident and nonresident students pay equal per-credit tuition for the program, and the university offers certificates in parent coaching and leadership, which also prepare learners for advanced careers in education.
|6||California State University - Fullerton||Fullerton||$$$$$||800 N State College Blvd|
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599
CSU Fullerton began in 1957, and its first graduation took place in 1960. Nearly 40,000 students attended this public school in Spring 2019. The U.S. News & World Report rank CSU Fullerton among the top public schools and national universities, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges provides accreditation to the institution.
The College of Education delivers a master of science in education with a concentration in elementary curriculum and instruction. This program includes an emphasis in early childhood education. To earn this online master's in early childhood education, learners complete 30 units, including courses in research and curriculum for math, science, reading, and other early childhood subjects. Students must also complete a culminating project, a research project, or a thesis.
Admission requires field experience or prior graduation with a teaching credential. Applicants should also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students can obtain scholarships for programs through the College of Education, such as the College of Education Book Scholarship or the Educational Advocacy Scholarship for Titan Dreamers.
|7||Ball State University||Muncie||$$$$$||2000 University Ave|
Muncie, IN 47306
The Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division began in 1918 and changed names to Ball State University in 1965. Located in Muncie, Indiana, this public school boasts more than 22,000 learners and a 93% career placement rating. Ball State ranks among the U.S. News & World Report's top public schools and national universities, and it holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
The university offers a master of arts in education with a focus in early childhood education that helps learners improve classrooms for children up to eight years old. The 30-credit program includes classes in early literacy development, child development, and play and creativity in early childhood. Degree seekers can also pursue graduate certificates in literacy instruction and enhanced teaching practice for elementary teachers.
Candidates earning this online master's in early childhood education can pursue doctorates through Ball State, specializing in elementary childhood. However, the department may not deliver these programs online.
|8||Brenau University||Gainesville||$$$$$||500 Washington Street SE|
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
Brenau University began in 1878 and currently educates around 3,500 students annually. This private, nonprofit institution in Gainesville, Georgia ranks on the U.S. News & World Report lists for regional universities in the South, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation to Brenau.
The school's master of education in early childhood education helps current teachers improve their learning strategies through planning and application. The program requires at least 34 credits in classes like special education for classroom teachers, issues in reading, methods of educational research, and computer literacy in education. Candidates must also complete clinical experiences and a capstone exam or research project.
Learners may finish the program in less than two years. However, this master's in early childhood education online degree does not count toward certification requirements. Candidates can, however, obtain certification endorsements in areas such as autism, coaching, English as a second language, and reading. Applicants must boast a teaching certificate and at least two years of field experience.
|9||University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus||Denver||$$$$$||1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400|
Denver, CO 80217-3364
Nearly 20,000 students studied at the University of Colorado Denver's campuses in fall 2018, including 4,326 learners at the Anschutz medical campus. The Higher Learning Commission grants accreditation to this public university.
The School of Education and Human Development at The University of Denver offers a master of arts in early childhood education with concentration options in teaching and learning, diversity and inclusion, and administration and leadership. Students with current teaching licensure can also pursue a special education endorsement or license through this program.
Learners must complete 30-42 credits in classes like curriculum in early childhood education and language and literacy in young children. The department delivers these courses in cohorts. As of 2020, each online cohort starts during fall terms. The university offers certificates in areas such as linguistically diverse education, school counseling, literacy, and information and learning technologies.
|10||Concordia University - Nebraska||Seward||$$$$$||800 N Columbia Ave|
Seward, NE 68434-1556
The Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod started Concordia University - Nebraska in 1894. Today, the private, nonprofit school educates over 2,500 learners through its interactive 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 80% of the school's faculty boast the most advanced degrees for their discipline. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Concordia.
The school's master of education in early childhood education focuses on child development and learning techniques for children age eight or younger. Students explore research and modern field advancements for engaging communities, families, and faculty in the learning process.
Obtaining this early childhood education master's degree online requires 36 credits in eight-week classes, covering topics such as thought in education and psychological foundations of teaching and learning. Candidates must also complete an action research project. Most degree seekers graduate in two years. Fast-track students can graduate in 20 months. This program reflects the National Association for the Education of Young Children's standards and boasts accreditation from both the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation and the Nebraska Department of Education.
|11||Mercy College||Dobbs Ferry||$$$$$||555 Broadway|
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy College started in 1950 under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy began awarding four-year degrees in 1961. The school's current enrollment surpasses 9,000 and represents over 30 countries. More than 60,000 individuals enjoy alumni status there. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides accreditation to this private, nonprofit school.
The School of Education offers three options for an online master's in early childhood education, including two accelerated paths for a bachelor's and master's: behavioral science and early childhood education and psychology and early childhood education. Both paths require 144 credits and focus on children up to the second grade. Candidates can also pursue a 48-credit master of science in teaching students with disabilities for classrooms up to the sixth grade. Mercy's education programs boast accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
|12||California Baptist University||Riverside||$$$$$||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
The California Southern Baptist Convention created California Baptist University in 1950. As of fall 2018, 10,486 students attended this private, nonprofit institution. Located in Riverside, CBU ranks among the U.S. News & World Report's most innovative schools, best value schools, and top regional universities in the West. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits CBU.
The institution offers a master of science in education with a specialization in early childhood studies that examines curriculum, teaching strategies, and child psychology. It also addresses educational theories and effective communication. Courses for this 33-credit program include advanced studies in early childhood development, survey of educational research, critical issues in special education, and international and comparative education. The degree prepares learners to work in classrooms or in management and program development professions.
Candidates can earn this master's in early childhood education online degree in one year, with out-of-state learners experiencing the same tuition rates as in-state students.
|13||University of West Alabama||Livingston||$$$$$||Station One|
Livingston, AL 35470
The University of West Alabama welcomed its first learners in 1839. Today, this public university in Livingston educates more than 2,800 online learners and ranks among U.S. News &World Report's top regional universities in the South. UWA also holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Candidates can pursue two early childhood education master's degrees through UWA. The master of education in early childhood development focuses on child psychology and education strategies, but it does not lead to licensure or certification. The master of education in early childhood education P-3 deals with research, child development, and specific learning needs, such as special education. This master's track involves certification.
Both degrees require 34 credits of eight-week classes, covering topics such as foundations of education, technology and education, and educational statistics. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits these programs. Learners can finish either degree in one year. Out-of-state students pay the same tuition as in-state candidates.
|14||University of Missouri - Columbia||Columbia||$$$$$||105 Jesse Hall|
Columbia, MO 65211
The University of Missouri - Columbia began in 1839 and currently boasts more than 300,000 alumni and 30,000 students. This institution ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for top public schools, national universities, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this school.
The College of Education offers a master of education in learning, teaching, and curriculum with an emphasis in early childhood education. This program teaches learners to create and oversee programs for children ages eight and younger. Candidates focus on strategies for helping special needs and troubled children, as well.
This master's in early childhood education online requires 30 credits in fully online courses like curriculum development, language and early literacy development, and advanced assessment in early childhood. The degree relates to teaching positions for preschool, Head Start programs, and elementary and special education classrooms, but it does not lead to licensure or certification. Admission requires relevant field experience and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Online students pay resident tuition.
|15||Concordia University - Chicago||River Forest||$$$$$||7400 Augusta|
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
Concordia University - Chicago began in 1864 and boasts ties to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This private, nonprofit school educates more than 4,000 graduate learners through an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. CUC ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for best value schools and regional universities in the Midwest. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this institution.
CUC offers a master of arts in early childhood education, which explores the stages of development for children ages eight or younger. Candidates must complete 30 credits through courses such as infant and toddler curriculum, developmentally effective instruction for diverse learners, and a practicum in research in early childhood education. This early childhood education master's degree adheres to the National Association for the Education of Young Children's principles.
Applicants should boast two years of related experience. Individuals who already hold an Illinois license may pursue credentials in English as a second language or special education after earning this degree. Learners can complete this program in one or two years for professions in advocacy, administration, and policy.
|16||Mercer University||Macon||$$$$$||1400 Coleman Avenue|
Macon, GA 31207
Georgia Baptists started Mercer University in 1883. This private school in Macon educates 8,756 learners from over 50 countries and boasts accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercer among the top national universities, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans.
The Tift College of Education delivers a master of education in early childhood education exploring pedagogy, child development, and research for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Learners must complete 30 credits in classes such as contemporary curriculum practices in early childhood education and introduction to educational research. Candidates also pursue credentials related to STEM, reading, mathematics, English as a second language, and autism.
Applicants must meet standards for level-four certification in a related area and boast a 3.0 GPA. Online students can only enter the program starting in fall and summer semesters. Candidates can complete this master's in early childhood education online in 12-16 months. Graduates may quality for level five certification in Georgia.
|17||New Mexico State University||Las Cruces||$$$$$||2850 Weddell Street|
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
Las Cruces College began in 1888, and the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts dates back to 1889. The two schools combined in 1890 and became New Mexico State University in 1960. Today, this NASA Space Grant College educates over 15,000 students from 90 countries and ranks among U.S. News & World Report's top public schools and national universities. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the university.
NMSU offers a master of arts in education in curriculum and instruction emphasizing early childhood education. The program addresses community and organizational concepts of early childhood education, along with educational programs and research. Courses for this 33-credit early childhood education master's degree include multicultural education, literacy development in early childhood, and leadership and advocacy in early childhood. The department also offers optional endorsements, such as credentials for reading and teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Students can complete the program in two years, but they may graduate sooner by transferring up to 50% of credits. In-state and out-of-state learners pay equal tuition, though military students earn a discount.
|18||University of Northern Colorado||Greeley||$$$$$||Carter Hall - Rm 4000|
Greeley, CO 80639
The University of Northern Colorado in the city of Greeley began in 1889. Around 13,000 learners currently attend UNC, with 81% of undergraduate candidates studying full-time. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC as a top national university, and the Higher Learning Commission accredits this public school.
Students interested in early childhood special education master's programs online should consider UNC's master of arts in special education with an early childhood special education emphasis. This 36-credit program explores cultural diversity and various learning needs for children ages eight and younger. Degree seekers must complete practicums with infants and toddlers, three- to five-year-olds, and five- to eight-year-olds. Learners must also take courses in assessment, research, literacy, and family involvement as they relate to education.
Applicants need a 3.0 GPA, a resume, and a statement of teaching beliefs and personal goals. Full-time candidates can graduate in two years. Prior credits or licenses may quicken graduation time.
|19||Martin Luther College||New Ulm||$$$$$||1995 Luther Court|
New Ulm, IA 56073
Martin Luther College began in 1995 after Northwestern College and Dr. Martin Luther College combined. This private institution has ties to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and educates learners through an interactive 11-to-one student-to-professor ratio. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this Christian university.
The school's master of science in educational administration offers two concentrations, including an early childhood director emphasis. The program requires 36 credits in classes such as educational leadership, school business administration, early childhood curriculum, and legal and ethical issues in early childhood. Candidates must also complete an internship, thesis, or project to earn this online master's in early childhood education.
Online students can read MLC's Issues in Lutheran Education blog, which addresses topics such as play in early childhood classrooms, educational technology, and special needs students. Distance learners can also access library documents, including e-books and online journals.
|20||Clemson University||Clemson||$$$$$||201 Sikes Hall|
Clemson, SC 29634
Clemson University in South Carolina began in 1889. This public school prioritizes research and boasts approximately 25,000 students who learn through an interactive 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Clemson among the top national universities, best colleges for veterans, best value schools, top public schools, and most innovative schools. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Clemson.
The university provides a master of education in teaching and learning with three specialization options, including experiential learning for early childhood. This program targets teachers who want to advance in their careers.
To obtain this online master's in early childhood education, candidates complete 30 credits in courses such as contemporary issues in assessment, classroom-based research, and curriculum theory. The program requires extensive fieldwork and a capstone project. Students may complete this program in 1.5 years. Candidates can also choose the STEAM and instructional coaching concentrations for the master of education degree.
|21||University of North Dakota||Grand Forks||$$$$$||264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193|
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193
The University of North Dakota started in 1883, making the school older than its state namesake. The Grand Forks institution educates more than 13,000 students, offers over 250 organizations and clubs, and ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for national universities and top public schools. UND holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
The school delivers a master of science in early childhood education that trains students to create age-appropriate curricula for children under eight and engage family and community in the educational process. The curriculum includes classes like foundations of reading instruction, language development and cognition in children, and introduction to early childhood special education. The program also requires fieldwork and adheres to National Association for the Education of Young Children's principles.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits this 32-credit program. Learners can earn this master's in early childhood education online degree in two years or more.
|22||University of West Georgia||Carrollton||$$$$$||1601 Maple St|
Carrollton, GA 30118-0001
The University of West Georgia started as a two-year school in 1906. In 1957, the public institution in Carrollton expanded to a four-year option. UWG included 13,733 students in the fall of 2018 and awarded over 2,600 degrees for the 2017-18 academic year. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UWG as a top national university, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits the school.
UWG provides a master of education with a major in early childhood education that addresses curricula, ethics, and child development. Courses for this 36-credit master's in early childhood education online degree may include literature for the young child, classroom management for early grades, and family/community involvement for school improvement. Candidates can fulfill all program requirements in 1-2 years.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits this program. Admission requires a relevant bachelor's or level four certification. Applicants must also demonstrate a minimum 2.7 GPA.
|23||Texas A&M University - Commerce||Commerce||$$$$$||2600 South Neal|
Commerce, TX 75429-3011
Texas A&M University - Commerce began in 1889 and currently educates around 10,000 students. The school's cumulative financial aid awards typically surpass $75,000,000 each year. The U.S. News & World Report lists this institution among the top national universities. TAMUC boasts accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students can pursue a master of education, art, or science in early childhood education through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This program guides students in developing curricula, overseeing classrooms, and teaching in age-appropriate manners for children in the fourth grade or younger.
This online early childhood education degree requires at least 36 credits and provides paths for students who either hold or do not hold teaching credentials, along with a thesis option. Common classes may include child development and literacy development in the early years. Students must also pass a comprehensive exam of multiple choice and essay questions to graduate.
|24||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro||$$$$$||1400 Spring Garden St|
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro welcomed its first 198 learners in 1892. As of fall 2017, the school's enrollment surpassed 19,000. This military-friendly institution ranks on U.S. News & World Report's lists for top public schools and national universities, and it holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The School of Education offers a master of education in birth-kindergarten interdisciplinary studies in education and development. Students can focus on early childhood leadership or advanced teaching licensure to explore community engagement and teaching strategies for diverse classrooms. The program includes classes in curricula, leadership, and assessment, along with fieldwork and a capstone portfolio with an oral component.
This online master's in early childhood education prepares students for careers as teachers, curriculum designers, administrators, and consultants. Admission into this concentration mandates an initial teaching credential.
|25||California University of Pennsylvania||California||$$$$$||250 University Ave|
California, PA 15419-1394
California University of Pennsylvania began in 1852. The school educated more than 7,000 learners in the 2018-19 school year. The U.S News & World Report ranks Cal U as a top regional university in the North, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits the public school.
Cal U offers a master of education in early childhood education, exploring developmental stages and age-appropriate teaching methods. The program targets candidates with teaching licensure and experience in early childhood, elementary, or special education classrooms.
Students must take 30 credits of asynchronous courses in literacy development, advanced psychology of learning, and early childhood curriculum and assessment. Applicants whose teaching experience is not in early childhood education must also complete an internship. Learners progress through courses in a cohort format.
This program holds accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and prepares graduates for careers in K-12 schools, preschools, and Head Start programs.
Graduates of a master’s program in early childhood education are eligible for a variety of jobs involving childcare and child development. Though not typically the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, an online master’s in early childhood education can open the door to unique managerial-level careers and directorships in the industry. Students holding a master’s in the field are qualified to become administrators, teachers or caregivers in both public and private settings. Childcare center directors, for example, are typically required to have at least some experience in early childhood education and the field is expected to see an increase of 17% in total jobs by 2022, according to the BLS. Other careers requiring experience in early childhood education include elementary school teacher and childcare administrators.
Students pursuing an online master’s in early childhood education should consider their career aspirations or area of concentration while completing their degree, as this will help to focus their coursework. For example, a student pursuing this field in order to become a teacher will likely be required to complete a practicum or field course to gain in-classroom experience, while a student who is pursuing research or administration in the early childhood education field may not. Overall, curriculum in this program is designed to provide a foundation in early child development, along with coursework centered on building person-to-person skills and humanistic qualities. Whatever their specialty, distance learners studying early childhood development are encouraged to research their area of interest and seek out local opportunities to gain experience in a classroom, childcare center or administrative setting.
Though requirements vary state to state, master’s candidates in early childhood education may be required to have additional certification or licensure. For example, some states require childcare professionals to be certified according to the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, which requires students to pass a national exam, among other criteria. All states require kindergarten and elementary school teachers in the public school system to be certified, although private school teachers do not require certification. Additionally, some public school teachers may need to obtain certification specifically for the subject they teach and/or satisfy additional education requirements in the field.