College and University Pathways

Early Childhood Certificates and Degrees  issued by VT colleges and universities

Certificates (29-45 credits)

Associate Degree (60 credits)

Bachelor Degree (120 credits) *Approved to recommend for educator licensure with early childhood endorsement

Master Degree (30 credits + after Bachelor Degree) that may relate to early childhood services

Higher Education Collaborative – graduate courses for the working professional, anywhere in VT, that may lead to a graduate degree in Curriculum and  Instruction from Lyndon State College. Courses can prepare students for additional endorsement in early childhood/early childhood special education though transcript review or peer review.

Afterschool program staff   may choose from a very broad range of degrees that meet their requirements to meet afterschool program licensing regulations.  

College credits and degrees are recognized in Vermont’s professional development system.

Teacher Licensure from the VT Standards Board (VT Agency of Education)

Colleges and Universities- Questions and Answers

Am I ready for college courses?
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 needed, and other questions.

  • The Vermont Student Assistance Center (VSAC) has many resources targeted to the adult learner
  • The Community College of Vermont (CCV) 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.
  • The Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council (VCCICC) contracts with CCV to offer six college courses related to working in early childhood or afterschool programs.  You can search for these courses on the statewide Bright Futures Information System BFIS Course Calendar.
Will classes from this college or university count?
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.
How do I fit in time to go to class?
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.
Will the courses I have taken transfer into another college?
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.
How will I pay for college?
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?
Earning college credit for learning gained from experience saves time and money.  There are four ways to gain this credit.  There is a different fee for each one.

Get information about Assessment of Prior Learning, Focused Portfolio, and CLEP tests through the Vermont State College system Office of External Programs or call 802-828-4064 . Get information about the assessment of prior learning process from private colleges,  by contacting the college.

Assessment of Prior Learning (APL)  is a comprehensive process where the student takes a college course to document evidence of learning, that the student believes equates to college credits.  VSC offers regular, free orientations to this course and their APL process.  Successful applicants submit their portfolio to a review committee. The student can earn many undergraduate or graduate credits, in many different academic areas at the recommendation of the APL approval panel.  The complete APL process- from taking the APL college course to the completion of the review, takes about 9 months.  APL credits from the VT State College are accepted at  all VT State Colleges (not University of Vermont) and college registrars make the final determination if this transfer credit meets the student’s degree program.   Northern Lights accepts all APL credit that relates to the Early Childhood or Afterschool Core Knowledge Areas. These are recognized as college credits that may meet requirements for certificates and credentials issued by Northern Lights .

  • Assessment of Prior Learning – private colleges in VT

Students enrolled and seeking Bachelor Degrees from these colleges may use their APL process to earn college credit toward their degree.

Begun in 2012 by VT State Colleges, this is a smaller version of the VSC Assessment of Prior Learning process above, for students seeking up to 16 credits in one area. This is a much shorter process, including a one credit (6 week course) to help you develop a portfolio.  A small team reviews the portfolio within a month after it is completed, so the entire process may be completed within a few months.  NOTE: This is a great option for those who have already earned a CDA and want to earn college credit for what they  learned.  See also CDA for college credit.

The national College-Level Examination Program® offers 33 different exams. Individuals who earn qualifying scores may be issued college credit for the related course.  In Vermont, the CLEP exams are offered on a computer at the CCV offices in Montpelier in the Office of External Programs and a few other locations in the state. Passing scores on the tests are accepted at virtually all college and universities. Tests cost $200 and there are $10. study guides  available. Exam topics include human growth and development, college composition (English), math, business courses and 30 more.

Students enrolled in VT State Colleges,  may apply for an assessment of their learning  for college credit for an identified college course in the course catalogue.   VSC selects an individual professional to complete the assessment and determine if the applicant meets the learning objectives of the identified course.  NOTE: Professionals who have completed the 45 hour community workshop series Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals may decide to use Course Challenge to gain college credit from learning they gained from the course and experience, into 3 college credits for the CCV course: Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals.

For information about Course Challenge, contact your local VT State College advisor.

Will this college or university help me get my teaching license?
The Vermont Agency 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 Agency of Education criteria can recommend that their graduates receive Vermont Agency 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 Agency 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 taking graduate level coursework through Lyndon State University and 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 Agency of Education regularly offers clinics on the peer review process.  The registration and schedule of those clinics are near the bottom of the Agency 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:

What about Graduate school?
There are many different options for achieving a Master Degree, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAG) or Doctorate.