In North Carolina, over 30,000 individuals work with and/or support the quality of services for children in early care and education and school age programs.
This vibrant industry generates over $1.7 billion annually, creates jobs that stay in our state, enables families to work, seek employment and attain a college education. The availability of quality child care also enables employers to attract and retain employees and lays the foundation for children to succeed and our state’s economy to thrive.
Three forms of professional recognition for the workforce — individual certification, endorsements for certified early educator by role, and teacher licensure. All provide consumers, employers, regulators and others with information about the level of education of those working with children in out-of-home settings.
Research has shown that teacher education levels impact child outcomes. As in many professions, education is the basis for certification and licensure. Education is defined as coursework taken at a regionally accredited college or university.
Early Educator Certification
Early Educator Certification (EEC) is North Carolina’s certification system for the field of Early Childhood.
EEC is an acknowledgement of an individual’s verified level of educational achievement, based on a standardized scale.
EEC does not replace teacher licensure and is designed to compliment that process.
Research has shown that teacher education levels impact child outcomes. As in many professions, education is the basis for EEC. Education is defined as coursework taken at a regionally accredited college or university.
All public community colleges and universities in North Carolina are regionally accredited.
For a list of regionally accredited college and university programs go to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The NC Institute for Child Development Professionals is the certifying body for early care and education and school age professionals in North Carolina.
Those eligible to be certified include all those currently working directly with, working on the behalf of or intending to work with young children in North Carolina.
Individuals who are teachers or teacher assistants in child care, pre-kindergarten and Head Start settings, school age group leaders and coordinators, family child care providers, administrators, faculty, specialists, education coordinators, trainers, consultants, researchers and more are eligible to be certified.
Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Licensure
The North Carolina Birth-through-Kindergarten degree and license prepares early educators to work with young children, from birth through age 5 years, with and without disabilities, including those at-risk, and their families.The pre-service process requires coursework and student teaching/internship to qualify for a NC Educator’s Standard Professional I license issued by the NC State Board of Education.
The in-service process requires three years of induction or beginning teacher support, coupled with formal teacher evaluations, resulting in a professional development plan, leading to a North Carolina Birth-through-Kindergarten Standard Professional II license.