Since 1985, NAEYC has offered a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs, and to help families identify high-quality programs. Today, NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. Over 6,500 child care programs, preschools, early learning centers, and other center- or school-based early childhood education programs are currently NAEYC-Accredited. These programs provide high quality care and education to nearly one million young children in the United States, its territories, and programs affiliated with the United States Department of Defense.
The NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation awards accreditation to associate degree programs that demonstrate evidence of meeting the Professional Preparation Standards. Accreditation provides a framework for self study, external evaluation and improvement in the quality of teacher preparation programs. Since the accreditation system began in 2006, 186 programs have earned accreditation from the Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. There are accredited associate degree programs in 30 states. More than 100 additional programs are currently in self-study in 33 states.