Overall Policy Lever Score


Minimum state licensing education and experience requirements are based on four levels of the licensed capacity of the center. For centers serving up to 20 children, a director minimally needs a CDA.  For centers serving 100 or more children, the minimum requirements are four years of experience and 24 semester hours in child related courses. The Missouri Early Childhood Director Credential is a tiered competency-based credential. It has two levels: The Provisional Director Credential and the Director Credential. The Provisional Director Credential is an interim step to recognize the competency of emerging program directors as they aspire to the higher standards set forth in the Director Credential criteria. At the lowest tier, the credential requires a minimum of an associate degree, 24 semester hours in early childhood education, 9 semester hours in early childhood program leadership and management (or 18 semester hours in general leadership and management), teaching experience, administrative experience, and professional contributions. Elementary principal certification requires a minimum of three years of classroom teaching experience and 300 clock hours of practical experience. Missouri currently does not have a quality rating and improvement system.  The state pre-K program requires principal licensure for school-based programs, but no requirements for community-based programs.  There is one early childhood leadership degree program available and no early childhood leadership academies.


The interactive map at the right shows the density of child care directors by county (2012 Workforce Dataset: A Review of Workforce Trends, National Workforce Registry Alliance).


Interesting Facts: Missouri

  • In 2016, Senate Bill 638 was approved to lift a ban on QRIS paving the way to reinstating the program.

  • The Missouri Early Childhood Director Credential was developed from the Kansas/Missouri Bi-state Director Credential Core Competencies.

  • Park University offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and leadership.