How do I qualify as a program director for a program that serves children of all ages?

Early Childhood Program Directors

Program directors for programs that include infant, toddler and/or preschool components are called early childhood program directors. Early childhood program directors must have specific education and/or experience in child care settings as identified in Center Child Care Licensing Rules R 400.8113(9) & (13).

Rule 400.8113(9) requires that program director meet 1 of the following to qualify as program director:

(a) Bachelor's degree or higher in early childhood education or child development.

(b) Bachelor's degree or higher in a child-related field with 18 semester hours in early childhood education or child development and 480 hours of experience.

A child-related field means elementary education, child guidance/counseling, child psychology, family studies, and social work.

(c) Associate's degree in early childhood education or child development with 18 semester hours in early childhood education or child development and 480 hours of experience.

(d) Montessori credential with 18 semester hours in early childhood education or child development and 960 hours of experience.

A Montessori credential means a credential issued by the Association Montessori International (AMI), Ameri­can Montessori Society (AMS), or any Montessori teach­ing training institution recognized by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) that meets or exceeds 270 hours of academic training. 

(e) Valid Child development associate credential with 18 semester hours in early childhood education or child development and 960 hours of experience.

The Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) is a nationally recognized credential that requires 480 hours of experience working with children and 120 clock hours of training. The clock hours can be obtained at the community college or higher level or through other organizations. For more information about the CDA, contact the Council for Professional Recognition at 800-424-4310 or visit the CDA website.

Any program director qualified after September 1, 2012 with a CDA must have and maintain a valid CDA to be and remain qualified as a program director.

(f) 60 semester hours with 18 semester hours in early childhood education or child development and 1920 hours of experience.

Rule 400.8113(13) states:

All program directors shall have at least 2 semester hours or 3.0 CEUs in child care administration or have an administrative credential approved by the department. These semester hours may satisfy a portion of the requirements of subrules (9) and (10) of this rule.

Child care administration means child care administration, education administration or business administration.

To obtain 3 CEUs, an individual must take 30 clock hours of training eligible for CEUs.

Note: As of May 18, 2012, State Board CEUs (SB-CEUs) became State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs).

  • SB-CEUs were calculated by dividing the total number of contact/instructional hours by the number 10. An eight-hour session was eligible to receive 0.8 SB-CEU.
  • SCECHs are the total number of contact/instructional hours in a program. An eight-hour session is now eligible to receive 8 SCECHs.

If an individual obtains SCECHs in child care administration, he/she needs 30 SCECHs.

CEUs from the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) are directly transferable as approved CEUs per a collaborative agreement between the state of Michigan and IACET.

Courses are given full credit if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The course is specifically labeled in the title as child care administration, education administration or business administration.
  • The course catalog description or course syllabus reflects that the course content specifically addresses child care administration, education administration or business administration.
  • Courses may be given partial credit if it can be demonstrated that part of the course includes child care administration, education administration or business administration. Partial credit granted will be half the total credit hours for that class.

The department has approved the following administrative credentials:

  • National Administrator Credential issued by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation Commission (formerly issued through the National Child Care Association).
  • ChildCare Education Institute Director’s Certificate.
  • School Administrator Certificate issued by the Michigan Department of Education.

Education Requirements

Transcripts indicating that one of the following has been earned will be accepted as meeting the rule without a course-by-course review:

  • Bachelor's degree or higher in early childhood education or child development.
  • Any bachelor's degree or higher and a ZA or ZS endorsement (endorsements issued by the Department of Education in conjunction with a teaching certificate).

Transcripts indicating that one of the following has been earned will be accepted as meeting the 18 semester hour requirement without a course-by-course review:

  • Associate of Arts in early childhood education, child development or child care and preschool (generally given by a community or junior college).
  • Bachelor's degree with a minor (20 semester hours) in child development or early childhood education.

Courses are given full credit if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The course is specifically labeled in the title as child development or early childhood education.
  • The course catalog description or course syllabus reflects that the course content specifically addresses child development or early childhood education.
  • Student teaching for grades kindergarten through third grade.

Note: Early childhood education usually refers to children up to age 8 or through the third grade.

Courses may be given partial credit if it can be demonstrated that part of the course includes child development or early childhood education. Partial credit granted will be half the total credit hours for that class. The following courses are some examples of courses that may be given par­tial credit:

  • Reading, science and math methods courses.
  • Art, music, physical education for classroom teachers.
  • Student teaching that includes grades above third grade must also must include kindergarten, first, second or third grade in order to be eligible for partial credit.
  • Children's literature.
  • Human ecology.
  • Child psychology.

Examples of Credit

Course

Credits Earned

Credits Toward 18

Early Childhood Education

4

4

Child Development

3

3

Math Methods Gr. 1 - 6

3

1.5

Life Cycle 1 (Human Ecology)

3

1.5

Children's Literature

4

2

Art for Elementary Teachers

4

2

Student Teaching Grades K-3

6

6

Student Teaching Grades 4 and above

6

0

Semester hours from CPR and first aid courses are not counted.

Equivalencies

  • A semester hour is the unit by which a college or university measures its course work. The number of semester hours assigned to a course quantitatively reflects the outcomes expected, the mode of instruction, the amount of time spent in class, and the amount of outside preparatory work expected for the class.
  • Term/quarter hours may be converted into semester hours by multiplying the term or quarter hours by 0.66.
  • The Preschool Curriculum Course credential (formerly known as the Lead Teacher Training Program credential) offered by High/Scope and the Michigan School Age Youth Development Credential are considered equivalent to the CDA credential.

Accreditation

Semester hours must be from an accredited college or university. The US Department of Education website provides a listing of schools that are accredited.

  • If a college or university is not accredited, the center must determine whether any accredited colleges or universities will accept credits from the college/university in question on a transfer basis. Written verification is required from the accepting college.
  • Online and correspondence courses can be accepted only if from an accredited college or university or if an accredited college or university will recognize them. The center must provide documentation from an accredited college or university showing which credits would be accepted and the semester hour equivalency.

Transcripts from other countries may be accepted. The center must provide written verification from a university or a private agency that determines equivalency to American credits and the semester hour equivalency. The following organizations evaluate international transcripts:

Transcripts from the following colleges are acceptable:

  • Bob Jones University
  • Tennessee Temple College
  • Marantha Bible College
  • Hyles-Anderson College

The center must provide written documentation to the department verifying semester hours, degrees and other credentials. Official transcripts, copies of transcripts and those stamped "Issued to Student" are acceptable. Transcripts downloaded from a school's website are not acceptable.

Hours of Experience

Approved hours of experience must be verifiable. Examples of acceptable experience include but are not limited to:

  • Licensed family or group child care home.
  • Employment as a caregiver in a licensed or registered child care facility.
  • Internships, field placements or student teaching working directly with children.
  • Supervised volunteer work working directly with children.

Unapproved hours of experience include but are not limited to:

  • Babysitting.
  • Being a nanny.
  • Being a foster parent.
  • Raising one's own children or the children of a relative.

Documentation of hours of experience may be verified by:

  • Proof of previous or current license or registration as a family or group child care home.
  • Written verification from previous employer(s).
  • Written verification from supervisors for internships, student teaching, field placements, volunteer work, etc.

Hours of Experience Equivalents

  • 480 hours of experience = 3 months of full-time work experience.
  • 960 hours of experience = 6 months of full-time work experience.
  • 1920 hours of experience = 12 months of full-time work experience.

Centers Exempt from Rule 400.8113(9)

Per court order, the following five churches are specifically exempt from the program director qualification rule R 400.8113(9) "by reason of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution":

  • Bethany Bible Church (Belleville, MI).
  • Dixie Baptist Church (Springfield, MI).
  • Faithway Baptist Church (Ypsilanti, MI).
  • Lewis Avenue Baptist Church (Temperance, MI).
  • Sturgis Church of the Nazarene (Sturgis, MI).