classroom of preschool students

CAC’s Early Childhood Education Program Earns Renewed Accreditation

By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College’s Early Childhood Education program was granted renewed accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The current accreditation term runs from March 2022 through March 2024.

To retain NAEYC accreditation, CAC’s ECE program conducted a rigorous self-study process in collaboration with stakeholders, culminating in a report demonstrating how the program meets the NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Standards, responds to the unique needs of the degree candidates and communities served, provides intentional learning experiences that align with the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators and conducts continuous assessment. The program hosted an external peer review, and findings were presented to the Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation for an accreditation decision.

“NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs is a hallmark of quality assurance for the early childhood preparation profession,” said Mary Harrill, Senior Director of Higher Education at NAEYC. The Accreditation Decision Report highlights “the program’s demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity, and advancing equity is remarkable as evidenced in the conceptual framework, array of learning opportunities, key assessment assignments, and field experiences.”

Melissa Larson Busby, CAC’s Early Childhood Education Director stated “The ECE program is committed to providing equitable access to innovative and high quality learning experiences for diverse students that positively impact their lives as well as children, families, and the community. We are honored to be one of only three NAEYC Accredited Early Childhood Higher Education associate degree programs in the state of Arizona.”

The CAC ECE program is designed for individuals who are passionate about early childhood development who are interested in working with young children and families. Students develop skills, knowledge, and experience to help them become committed, competent, and caring educators and leaders. The program is available at all five CAC campuses and can be completed fully online.

For more information about the ECE program please email


NAEYC is the professional organization that sets national standards for programs that prepare early childhood teachers of children from birth through age 8. NAEYC accredits eligible associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree early childhood education programs that demonstrate evidence of meeting the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards.