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Director Credential

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The Pennsylvania Director Credential is designed as a standard to measure and validate the abilities and competencies of directors and administrators to manage high quality early childhood and school-age programs.

Additionally, it represents the level of personal and professional accomplishments of directors and administrators, their professional contributions through demonstrated leadership, and active engagement in professional endeavors beyond the scope of the daily operation of a program.

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Administering an early childhood or school-age program is a complex job that requires an understanding of child development, program administration, personnel supervision, leadership and job-related experience.

Director Credential Requirements

There are 3 different pathways to obtain the Director Credential: Initial, Renewal, and Alternative Pathway. 

Click the type of application you’d like to know more about to expand.


  • The minimum educational qualification for the award of the Pennsylvania Director Credential is an Associate’s degree. A candidate must have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a total of 18 Early Childhood Education (ECE) credits as follows:
    • 9 ECE credits from coursework and
    • 9 ECE credits from the Director Credential coursework from an approved Higher Education. Institute on the Director Credential Programs list. The list of Director Credential Program can be found on the Director Credential webpage under Director Credential Documents.
  • Years of supervisory/managerial experience are documented with a letter from your employer. If you are an owner/operator, you will need documentation from an outside agency such as Certification or Early Learning


  • Copy of current or expired Director Credential certificate
  • Pedagogy Statement: Your pedagogy statement should be a reflection on your own professional journey and how it supports the growth and development of young children and families. Speak to your professional philosophy and how it reflects best practice. This statement should be 200 words, at a minimum.
  • Current membership in an early childhood professional organization: Provide documentation of current membership in an early childhood professional organization at the local, state, or national level.
  • Professional Development and Self-Assessment on PD Registry completed on the Registry
  • Individual Professional Development Plan statement: Submit a written 100-150 word statement as to how your
  • Individual Professional Development Plan will meet your professional and programmatic goals.
  • Professional Development Requirement: 90 Professional Development hours or a 3-credit course in the past 5 years.
  • Three sources of evidence of your professional contributions: Submit three sources of evidence/artifacts of your professional contributions to the field in the last five years; and a 150-word statement in support of each artifact include the purpose, activity, participants/audience and outcomes related to the activity. Examples of Professional Contributions are on the next page.

Examples of Professional Contributions:

Service in a Leadership Role in a Professional Organization:

  • Served in a leadership role in a professional organization that focuses on early childhood or school-age issues
  • Served on a community board as a representative of early childhood or school-age organization
  • Served on a local, state or national advisory board for an early childhood or school-age organization
  • Held an elected office in a local, state or national early childhood or school-age organization
  • Served on a community for an early childhood or school-age organization to organize a conference, community-wide advocacy event or other major event
  • Mentored other early childhood or school-age professionals Served on Head Start Review team
  • Served as NAEYC validator, CDA Advisor/CDA Representative, or NAA/COA validator

Professional Development Presentations

  • Presented at a local professional development event
  • Served as an instructor for a college course
  • Served as a PQAS approved instructor
  • Presented at a professional conference
  • Presented at a high school or technical school career fair
  • Served as a paid consultant/PD instructor for another early childhood or school-age program
  • Served as an accreditation advisor, instructor, representative
  • Served as a CDA instructor/advisor


  • Wrote a letter to an elected official about an early childhood or school-age issue
  • Wrote a letter about an early childhood or school-age issue that was published in a local newspaper
  • Provided testimony at a public hearing on an early childhood or school-age issue
  • Provided consultation to an elected official about early childhood or school-age issues
  • Arranged a food, clothing, or toy drive for a shelter, children’s home, or disaster relief effort
  • Served as a community coordinator for an advocacy agency or event
  • Presented or provided testimony at an advocacy event

Program Improvement (For the Field)

  • Successfully brought an early childhood or school-age program through Keystone STARS, NAEYC, NAFCC, or NAA/COA accreditation or Head Start Program Achievement
  • Developed a written curriculum based on sound early childhood or school-age principles that was marketed to programs
  • Served as a consultant to other early childhood or school-age programs in the implementation of a curriculum approach, theory or any other program improvement activity
  • Served as lead consultant in the design and renovation of indoor/outdoor learning environments
  • Created a tangible product that exhibited originality of thought and execution that helped improve early childhood or school-age programs

Writing and Publications

  • Written a student newsletter on early childhood or school-age topics
  • Written an article or book review that was published in an early childhood or school-age or another related professional journal
  • Served as editor of an early childhood or school-age newsletter distributed in the community
  • Published an article or a book on an early childhood, school-age or management related topic
  • Developed a new college level course
  • Developed new materials such as, handbook, manuals, curriculum that were shared with other

Research/Grant Writing

  • Conducted a research study on an early childhood, school-age, or management related topic as part of a supervised thesis or dissertation
  • Wrote a proposal for a grant that was funded
  • Served as chairperson of a major fund raiser for an early childhood or school-age related endeavor
  • Reviewed proposals, was a reader for a foundation, or other grant making agency/organization

Specialized Expertise

  • As directors and administrators advance in their profession, their contributions to the field become focused as they develop expertise in a specific program area. Master’s degree and above level directors/administrators are encouraged to identify their area of specialized expertise

Alternate Pathway

  • Master’s degree
  • 30 credits in Early Childhood Education if degree is not in Early Childhood Education
  • At least 2 years of supervisory/managerial experience if degree is not in Early Childhood Education
  • 3 Credit course in Admin/Management related to child care

NOTE: This option can only be used once.

Approved Director Credential Programs

Once successfully submitted, processing of applications can take between 60 - 90 days.


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