Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Virginia K. Laycock


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship among competencies recommended by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC/CEC), state requirements for teacher certification, and college and university personnel preparation program requirements for educators working with children with disabilities from birth-5 years of age. The study included all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The groups of subjects interviewed by phone consisted of state Part H coordinators, department of education staff, and college and university professors from early childhood education (ECSE) programs.;Overall the results indicate an increase in the number of states requiring certification in early childhood special education and in the number of college and university preparation programs since the passage of P.L. 99-457 in 1986 and the 1991 Part B mandate for states to serve 3 year old children with disabilities. as the nation proceeds in implementing the preschool mandate and moves toward the fifth year of services of Part H for infants and toddlers with disabilities, this growth is crucial to the success of newly developed programs for the education of young children with disabilities. The number of states issuing certification to early childhood special educators has grown from 19 in 1989 (37%) to the 37 (71%) identified in this study. This indicates an increase of 18 additional states requiring certification.;This increase is also shown in college and university teacher preparation programs. Four states currently have no college or university teacher preparation programs in early childhood special education, while forty-seven states have one or more teacher preparation programs in ECSE. Thirty states have more than one preparation program.;Teacher preparation program requirements appear to be equally extensive as state certification regulations; however the correspondence between state certification requirements and college and university requirements appears to be low. The results of this study indicate that state requirements and college and university preparation program requirements appear to be focusing on different content but an equal number of courses and/or competencies. The overlap among state certification requirements, college and university requirements and the 15 DEC/CEC competency recommendations was only 3.4.



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