Early Childhood Education Administration Certificate Online

May 07, 2020

Overview of Online Early Childhood Education Administration Certificate Programs

Online certificate programs in early childhood education administration are typically offered at the graduate level for students wishing to take on more leadership roles in early childhood education. Some of these programs may serve as professional development for students who already have a master's degree, while others may be specifically designed for those with a degree in teaching, those currently directing an early childhood education program, or those wanting to open a private program. Some of these programs include the 9 credits or 144 clock hours in the field required by national accreditation organizations for early childhood program administrators.

Most early childhood education administration certificate programs can be completed fully online. Depending on the program, students may be able to complete their certificate in 2 to 3 semesters, but some programs allow students to finish in as little as 8 months, while others allow up to 5 terms for completion. There are also some programs that give students options between course-based work that has start and end dates or a competency-based option that gives students more flexibility and is self-paced. Since these are commonly graduate-level certificates, applicants typically need to have at least a bachelor's degree.

Requirements for Early Childhood Education Administration Certificate

Students in early childhood education administration certificate programs study the skills necessary to educate and care for young children, while also learning how to implement and manage programs. Coursework in some programs provides more research-based coursework and others offer more project-based coursework.

Information and Requirements

Online certificate programs in early childhood education administration usually require between 15 and 18 credits. This usually means that students take 5 to 6 core courses and no electives. Several of these programs allow students to apply credits from the certificate programs towards a master's degree if they so choose, but they may be required to maintain a GPA of a 3.0 or higher for the credits to count.

Common Courses

Program Administration

Students in these programs typically learn about the role of administrators and the organizational patterns in schools for young children. These courses may explore operational procedures for these organizations, licensing regulations, ethics, staff motivation, and more.

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Some programs include a course that provides students with an overview of the history, theory, and current issues in early childhood education. Students may discuss the appropriate practices needed for each developmental stage up through age 8, as well as how to plan for these practices, programs, and activities.


These courses may help students understand different types of diversity, such as cultural, social, and economic diversity, and how different factors affect students' learning. Students may discuss concepts in family cultures, social justice, and advocacy.

Financial Management

Students may take a course that provides an overview of financial management or examines specific aspects of finance, such as budgeting and resource allocation. In general, these courses help equip students with the knowledge needed to balance available sources of funding with operating costs and regulatory requirements.

Career Outcomes with a Certificate in Early Childhood Education Administration

Although a certificate is not usually required, students with a certificate in early childhood education administration may pursue a career as an administrator in an early childhood education setting, such as preschools, child care centers, private schools, recreation centers, school-age programs, and more. They may take on titles like education administrator, childcare administrator, or director. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies these roles under preschool and childcare center directors.

According to the BLS, preschool and childcare center directors usually need at least a bachelor's degree and some work experience. A nationally recognized credential, like the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, could also be required by employers. As of 2019, the BLS reported that these directors had a median annual salary of $48,210 and a projected job growth of 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average. Preschool and childcare center directors help oversee the staff and activities at these centers, and they usually work full time. They may be required to manage budgets, implement policies, communicate with parents, and ensure compliance with state regulations.

Early childhood education administrator certificate programs are available fully online, usually at the graduate level. These programs can be completed in 1 to 2 years and are not necessarily required for employment.

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