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Early Childhood Education

Program Details

The University of West Alabama offers a certificate in Early Childhood Education. This certificate is offered online and can be completed after taking 33 credit hours.

Students seeking certification are required to complete a general survey course in Special Education (3 semester hours). A research component including research and/or field work will be an integral part of all specialist programs in education. Also, students who has taken courses for credit in a master’s level program cannot take the same courses for credit in the education specialist program. Completion of sixth-year programs requires at least 30 semester hours of credit not used for prior level certification in the same teaching field.

In order to be admitted into the graduate program, candidates must meet all requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies, provide verification of background clearance/fingerprints, and hold a master’s-level professional education certificate in the same field in which the Education Specialist degree is sought. Candidates must have had recent experience in the area of specialization.

Once accepted, students must meet certain requirements prior to completion. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25 in all courses in the approved program as verified on an official transcript. Students must make a satisfactory score on a written comprehensive examination documenting mastery of the curriculum of the teacher education program. Individuals must also demonstrate leadership ability in their area of specialization.


The candidate shall:

  • Meet all requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Provide verification of background clearance/fingerprints.
  • Hold the master’s-level professional educator certificate in the same teaching or instructional support field in which the Education Specialist degree is sought.
  • Have had recent experience in the area of specialization.

Accreditation & Licensing

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

All teacher certification programs are accredited by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit programs for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.


If an individual completes an Alabama Education Specialist program based on a master’s level certificate from another state and applies for Alabama certification at the Class AA level, the individual must earn an Alabama Class A (master’s level) Professional Educator Certificate prior to applying for the Class AA certificate.