Colleges offer credit and non-credit courses, and award academic degrees, credentials and certificates. All of these are important in professional development and career planning. Vermont colleges and universities contribute to the early childhood and afterschool professional development system by offering:
- Community College of Vermont (CCV) Child Care Certificate
- CCV Associate of Arts Degree
- Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degree
- Master of Arts, Master of Education, Master of Science, and other related Master Degrees such as Social Work
- Certificate of Advanced Graduate study and Doctorate
In Vermont academic degrees and certificate are integrated into and recognized by:
- Early Childhood Career Ladder and Afterschool Pathways
- Instructor Registry, Program Director Credential, and Early Childhood Family Mental Health Credential
- Vermont Department of Education
- Child Care licensing regulations and Vermont’s child care program quality system: STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS)
Colleges and Universities- Questions and Answers
If you have not taken college courses before, talk with people who recently have. Ask them how they organized their time, where they got help when they needed it, how much reading and writing was involved and other questions. The Community College of Vermont (listed in the next section) has a number of programs to help the first time college student, as do other colleges. Advisors are available at every college to help you, and there is no charge for their services.
A number of community programs sponsor college credit courses that relate to working in early childhood or afterschool programs, for those not enrolled in a college or university. If you have experience working in these fields, this is a good way to connect college course work to your experience. You can search for these courses on the statewide course calendar in the Bright Futures Information System. Find additional information about navigating the Course Calendar.
Two organizations across Vermont that can help prepare you for college are:
It is important that you take classes from a college or university with recognized accreditation. All of the Vermont institutions listed below have recognized accreditation. Click here for information about accreditation of institutions of higher education (colleges and universities). Northern Lights Career Development Center will only approve higher education credits, credentials and diplomas from institutions with recognized accreditation.
Even colleges that are campus-based often offer classes online. Many colleges offer classes in the evening and some on weekends. Many colleges offer hybrid classes that meet a few times in person, and the rest online. There are also colleges that offer low residency – where the classes meet one weekend a month or less. Online or intensive courses are not for everyone. Talk with the staff of the college or university about your readiness to take these types of courses, before you sign up.
Talk with the advisor at the college where you are applying to transfer the coursework. The Vermont state college system has worked to streamline this process among the state colleges and with many private colleges in Vermont. Before you take more courses, check to see that they can “count” toward your degree or credential plan.
The advisor at the College or University has information to help you. There are much more information and resources on the Financial Assistance link in the Resources section of this website.
Can I get college credit for the learning I have gained from experience? Three ways in which the learning you have gained from life experience may transfer to college credit are Assessment of Prior Learning, Course Challenge and taking a CLEP exam.
Assessment of Prior Learning is a good option if you have gained knowledge and skills through life experience, through training or workshops that were not for college credit, or from earning a credential or certificate. You should be ready to document and organize the learning you have gained.. A number of colleges offer this option; ask them about this option when you consider applying. Also, Vermont State Colleges provides an Assessment of Prior Learning process that includes: documenting the learning you have gained from experience; evaluation of those documents by a committee that may recommend many college credits; and ultimately acceptance of those credits by a college or university registrar. An Assessment of Prior Learning Course can help you prepare your documents for review; it is offered all over the state, twice a year. If you have diverse and also in-depth experiences, accumulated over time, this might be the option for you. The Vermont State Colleges regularly offers free orientations to this Assessment of Prior Learning process. Please note: the credits awarded by the VSC Assessment of Prior Learning process are accepted by all Vermont State Colleges (this does not include UVM) but may or may not be accepted by other colleges, universities or departments. If they are accepted by the college, the registrar of the college determines how they count: as elective credits or in your area of concentration. That is up to the college and the registrar there. Check with the institution you plan to transfer into, before you decide to begin the APL process.
Second, if you are already in a degree or credential program, you can apply for Course Challenge through Vermont State College. In this process, you identify a course, for which you think you already have met the learning objectives through experience and self-study. Once you identify the course, apply for Course Challenge from Vermont State Colleges. Once accepted, an assessor will determine if you have met the course objectives and will recommend whether you should get college credit for that course. For more information about both Assessment of Prior Learning and Course Challengethrough the Vermont State College system Office of External Programs call 802-828-4064 or click here.
A third option is to take a national exam. The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) gives you the opportunity to receive college credit for what you already know by earning qualifying scores on any of 33 examinations. You can earn credit for knowledge you’ve acquired through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships. In Vermont, the CLEP exams are offered on a computer at the CCV offices in Montpelier in the Office of External Programs. Passing scores on the tests are accepted at virtually all college and universities. Tests cost $200 and there is $10. Study guide available. Exam topics include human growth and development, college composition (English), math, business courses and 30 more.
The Vermont Department of Education confers teacher/educator licensure, and they determine which colleges and universities in Vermont can offer approved teacher licensure programs. Colleges that meet the Department of Education criteria can recommend that their graduates receive Vermont Department of Education teacher licensure. Current Vermont teacher licensure requires students to have a liberal arts major in addition to their education major. The list of Vermont institutions below describes which are approved for teacher licensure preparation. Graduates of these approved programs may use the Vermont license to apply for an initial regular license/certificate in 47 other states. If you have earned your teacher license from another state, contact the Vermont Department of Education to see if it will be accepted here in Vermont.
For a complete list of colleges and programs approved in the state of Vermont for the preparation of teachers/educators click on this link.
Teacher licensure includes one or more endorsements, which define the grade levels/ages you can teach and which subjects. There are many endorsements. Some examples are: early childhood ages birth to grade three, early childhood special education ages three to five, and elementary education. For more information on teacher licensure go to:
For many resources on educator licensure, go to Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC).
You may also achieve teacher licensure in early childhood education or early childhood special education, while working toward a Masters degree in education through the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative Program and here is the Higher Education Collaborative information brochure
Peer review is one way to obtain a teaching license if you already have a Bachelor degree, significant work experience and formal training in the field. It can also be used to help you change or add an endorsement. process. The Vermont Department of Education regularly offers clinics on the peer review process. The registration and schedule of those clinics are near the bottom of the Department of Education website page, in this paragraph. If you plan to seek teacher licensure through peer review, you must attend a clinic.
There are a number of peer review support programs for Vermonters, which for a fee can prepare you to apply for peer review. They are:
- Peer Review Project (PRP) for early childhood educator licensure includes a college course with mentor support over 10 months to help experienced early childhood teachers gain educator licensure. Northern Lights Career Development Center and Mary Johnson Children’s Center implement this program.
- The Upper Valley Educators Institute (UVEI) in Lebanon, NH. This is a 1 year, full-time, non-degree licensure program for those with at least a bachelor’s degree. Accepted participants commit to class time and work with a mentor. Candidates have 2 full-time internships, one in the first half of the year and a different one in the second half of the year. This program helps individuals seeking elementary education, secondary education or principal licensure.
- Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP) program in Essex town (Chittenden County) is an application-based, full time, 8 month program. The program focus is Middle and Secondary Education licensure.
- Norwich University offers a “fifth year program” for students not enrolled at Norwich University or another college. Candidate’s course work and experience are evaluated and a program of study is recommended based on the traditionally approved Teacher Education/Licensure Program. Typically the program takes from one and one-half to two years to complete.