Recognition of Higher Education Programs

NAEYC historically served as the early childhood Specialized Professional Accreditor (SPA) for programs pursuing accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). NAEYC peer reviewers evaluated reports from early childhood baccalaureate and graduate degree programs to determine whether programs met the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards. If a program met the standards and received NAEYC Recognition, and if the institution went on to be accredited by CAEP, the program earned a nationally known mark of high quality. There are over 220 institutions with NAEYC-recognized baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in 36 states/territories, and three international recognized programs.

As of February 1, 2020, NAEYC has discontinued SPA Program Review with National Recognition as part of the CAEP accreditation process.   Programs can find information about what this means for their recognition status and expectations for their early childhood program's documentation for their EPP's site visit here.

Overview of the recognition process

Learn more about the NAEYC Recognition process and which types of programs were eligible.

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Find a recognized degree program

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation maintains a list of NAEYC Recognized baccalaureate and graduate degree programs on its website. 

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What are the differences between recognition and accreditation?

NAEYC historically offered two unique pathways for degree programs to demonstrate commitment to high-quality early childhood teacher preparation. Learn more about the differences between the two systems.