National ECE Director's Credential
Overview &
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Course Objective

The purpose of this program is to enhance the leadership skills of center-based directors and those interested in effective ECE program administration. It has been developed according to national standards in order to achieve state licensing approval. We strongly believe the Pathways National ECE Director's Credential meets and/or exceeds the requirements of many state standards for equivalent credentials.



Upon completion of the Pathways National ECE Director's Credential program requirements, the candidate should be able to provide evidenced-based competency in the following areas:


Module content areas:

  • Leadership Roles & Responsibilities

○ Understand and demonstrate essential key leadership skills required of an ECE Center Director

○ Articulate a personal philosophy statement for leadership of a child care center

  • Financial Management

○ Define and identify key elements for operating/ managing an ECE center budget

○ Identify leadership responsibility over subordinates with financial responsibilities

  • Legal Management

○ Identify regulations and legal requirements in the candidate's state for operating a child care center

○ Recognize signs of child abuse and neglect and reporting obligations

  • Program Development & Evaluation

○ Recognize elements of a developmentally appropriate classroom

○ Identify  responsibility in maintaining and observing nutritional requirements in a childcare center

○ Identify and utilize best practices and strategies for assessing young children’s learning and development

  • Facilities Management

○ Identify common facility hazards

○ Facilitate strategies for maintaining a safe and healthy environment

○ Identify components of a crisis management plan

  • Staff Management & Human Relations

○ Identify and utilize effective communication strategies and practices

○ Understand and demonstrate leadership practices that encourage efficiency, teamwork, and collaboration

○ Identify strategies, requirements, and best practices for hiring, training, and retaining employees

  • Marketing, Public Relations & Family Support

○ Identify and demonstrate effective communication strategies with employees

○ Recognize recommended strategies for communicating and building relationships with families for the purpose of promoting family participation

○ Identify various forms of child advocacy

○ Identify effective marketing tools for child care centers



The program offers seven modules designed to highlight the core areas of competency for a director administrating an early childhood program and culminates with a Capstone project. Each core area, including the Capstone, is intended to contain/require 5-hrs. of training, information sharing, and competency validation.


Each module contains:

  • an introduction to the leadership skill(s) identified as essential to effective leadership in a specific core area

  • a video with a personal view and stories from an experienced expert in the field of the core topic

  • a questionnaire to record thoughts and previous knowledge of the topic area

  • research-based information and instruction on how to increase knowledge/skill in the core area

  • reading assignment and links to additional information designed to further the student's knowledge and experience

  • a set of questions designed to provide evidence of reading assignments, information gained, and enhanced skill awareness in the form of:

○ multiple choice / short answer questions

○ writing assignments regarding observations

○ Student activities and/or observations with written feedback


CAPSTONE PROJECT: Evidenced-based competency

The final step in the Pathways National Director's Credential is the Capstone Project. The student will identify a specific core area of improvement or additional knowledge they gained through the completion of the modules, and provide evidence of greater competency as an ECE administrative leader. This project will be reviewed (without the student's personal information visible) by three Seasonal Pathways Expert Panel members, one of which will be a field-specific expert in the student's chosen core area.


PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS: Students must be working in or have access to an early childhood environment to successfully complete the course requirements.

Candidates are required to:

  • be 18 years of age or older

  • possess a high school diploma or GED obtained from institutions accredited and recognized by U. S. Department of Education and submit documentation as proof. High school diplomas issued by private schools may be accepted with applicable documented approval.

  • have access to virtual education support and supplies including:

○ computer and printer

○ a valid email address

○ access to the Internet via - Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.

○ be able to speak, read, and write well enough in the language the course is presented in, to understand and complete the course material. (Only English is available currently).


Textbook Information: A textbook is required and must be purchased at the student’s expense. Handbook for Early Childhood Administrators: Directing with a Mission – Hilde Reno, with Janet Stutzman and Judy Zimmerman; 1st Edition; Allyn & Bacon, Inc.; Approximate cost: $60



Tuition includes:

  • Access to all 7 Content modules, assignments, and requirements

  • Capstone review by a panel of experts

  • Electronic certificate of achievement (a printed copy is available for an additional  shipping charge.)

  • 40 Clock-Hours of training (CEU approval is pending)

Pathways National ECE Director Credential: Application
I am currently employed in the ECE field.
I have access to the following educational support & supplies.
I agree to purchase, borrow, or otherwise obtain a copy of the required text.
I am able to read, write, and communicate in the English language.