Overall Policy Lever Score


Pennsylvania is one of only 5 states to require a director of a licensed child care program, of any size, to have a degree. In addition to an associate degree, Pennsylvania licensing standards requires a director to have at least 30 credit hours in early childhood education and four years of experience working with children. Six clock hours of annual training are required.  The competency-based director credential requires a minimum of an associate degree with at least 18 credit hours in early childhood education, 9 credit hours in business management, and five years of experience in program administration. Elementary school principal licensure requires a bachelor’s degree and offers pre-K certification that requires pre-K coursework but not pre-K experience.  At the lowest level, the statewide QRIS requires a director to have an Associates’ degree in Early Childhood Education or 30 ECE credits. The state pre-K program, Pre-K Counts, is delivered in community-based child care centers as well as schools. Community-based centers must be at Star Level 3 or higher on the QRIS in order to be eligible; therefore, directors of state pre-K programs in child care centers must have a minimum of an associate degree and 30 credits in early childhood. There are three early childhood leadership degree programs and three leadership academies in Pennsylvania.

Interesting Facts: Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania and Illinois are the only states to achieve an overall score of 6 out of 10 on the policy levers rubric.

  • Delaware Valley AEYC offers two different leadership academies and the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning provides a P-3 planning institute.

  • Reading Area Community College, Keystone College, and Arcadia University offer degrees in early childhood leadership and management that supports the PA Director Credential.