Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Education credential emphasizes the knowledge and skills necessary for success in early childhood education careers in childcare, teaching, community-based children’s programs, social services or counseling for children and after-school programs.

The Early Childhood Education credential is aligned to content standards developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The Early Childhood Education credential is appropriate for programs in secondary and post-secondary education, community-based education, and employer-based staff development.   Eligible candidates for the pre-professional credentials have not attained a bachelor’s degree. Individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher are eligible for the AAFCS professional certifications

  • Career Pathways
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Learning Environment
  • Positive Relationships with Children
  • Professional Practices and Standards
  • Family and Community Involvement

Assessment Bulletin

Includes detailed information on assessment design, scoring, content, sample test items, and resources

Alignment Matrices

21st Century Student Outcomes

Career Ready Practices

Employability Framework

Administration Format:  Online

Paper & Pencil Available: No

Number of Test Items:  70 scored items and 10 non-scored (for research purposes)

Time Allowed (minutes):   Untimed; Average time is 45-65 minutes

Can the instructor/teacher take this test?  No*

* AAFCS Pre-PAC policy does not allow teachers to sit for the exam and earn the credential.  If there is a state or district mandate/policy in place requiring the assessment/certification for teachers, then a written waiver of the requirement would need to be received and approved by AAFCS.  For states/districts who have an approved waiver, AAFCS sets limitations on the actual test administration.

Click here for the list of current certification scores The national cut score for pre-professional certification eligibility is established annually by AAFCS. Scores can be used to demonstrate competency, identify gaps in performance, enhance programs and curricula, and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. Through articulation agreements, scores may be used as the basis for advanced placement and/or credit-by-exam at post-secondary institutions. When the assessment is submitted, the results are immediately available to the test candidate. The results provide an overall percentage score, a breakdown of scores corresponding to domains, and indicate if the pre-professional credential was achieved.

AAFCS credentials are based on industry standards. The Development Panel was comprised of industry professionals and educators. The following stakeholders participated on the development panel for the credentialing assessment.

Peggy Thoenen, Buttons and Bullfrogs Family Center, Jefferson City, MO Jean Simpson, Office of Head Start, Washington, DC Barbara Sawyer, National Association of Family Child Care, Arvada, CO
Sara Moleski-Rice, National Child Care Association, Washington, DC Alison Lutton, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Washington, DC Celia Farr, Children's Harbor, Portsmouth, VA
Sabrina Thomson, Faith-Based Child Care organization, Oklahoma City, OK Sabrina Thomson, Faith-Based Child Care organization, Oklahoma City, OK Robin Hasslen, Head of Child Development Centers, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
John Anne Reynolds, South Plains College, Levelland, TX Anna Goff, Farmington School District, Farmington, AR Eleanor Keppler, FCS Teacher and Child Care Director, IN
Vicki Rexroat, Oklahoma Department of Career Tech and Child Care Director, Fort Cobb, OK

Email Pre-PAC

Direct Telephone Line: 703-636-7641