Early Childhood Education Endorsement Certificate

Building a strong foundation for success.

Enhanced academic preparation specific to the early childhood years is proven to be effective in helping teachers support the optimal development of young children, leading to tangible benefits for children across the lifespan including fewer referrals to special education and  higher rates of high school completion.

UM’s early childhood education programs support work-force preparation to meet the growing demand for highly qualified early childhood teachers for our state and nation in public schools, Head Start and Early Head Start, and community-based early childhood programs.

The Preschool - Grade 3 (P-3) Early Childhood Education Endorsement can be added to a K-8 teaching license to enhance teacher preparation for working with our youngest learners and to meet Montana’s new requirement of the P-3 Early Childhood endorsement for all public school preschool teachers.


  • All Early Childhood Coursework requires a lab component.
  • Students must purchase or have access to a GoPro HERO camera (or equivalent) to share videos that demonstrate their implementation of lab activities.
    • Undergraduates - please contact your advisor for further information regarding cameras
  • All students enrolling in the ECE programs must complete a Background Check as part of their application.

Funding Opportunities:

Montana students enrolled in ECE programs who currently work in a qualifying early childhood program (licensed or registered child care, pre-school programs, Head Start or Tribal Head Start, or a Child Care Resources agency) for at least 15 hours per week are eligible for financial support administered through the Montana Early Childhood Project.

Students interested in applying for either of these Montana funding opportunities must have a current Practitioner Registry Certificate at the time of application. The Practitioner Registry process takes several weeks – you are encouraged to complete this step as early as possible to streamline your application for funding.


The University of Montana now offers a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. The major in Early Childhood Education: P-3 effectively blends existing courses in the Elementary Education (K-8) major and the minor in Early Childhood Education to meet required state standards with the addition of four new courses. Students declare the Early Childhood Education major as entering freshmen and apply for admission to the teacher education program at the beginning of their sophomore year.

Currently enrolled Elementary Education (K-8) students have the option to complete an Early Childhood Education Endorsement program to gain focused expertise in effective, evidence-based teaching practices for young children (grades P-3). The 22-credit minor meets the Montana standards for early childhood education. Each course includes a clinical component that engages students in real-world experiences working with young children and their families.


Students in the elementary education program have a strong foundation in early childhood education and complete credits toward the minor as part of their elementary major requirements. By completing additional credits specific to early childhood education, elementary education majors can complete this minor and be eligible for the P-3 early childhood endorsement. 

To see the full list of required courses for the Early Childhood Education endorsement, please follow the Minor Requirements link - Minor Requirements.

Elementary education students who have already been accepted into the Teacher Education Program and are looking to add the Early Childhood Education minor follow the Admission link - Admission.

Elementary education students not yet admitted into the Teacher Education Program will apply for the early childhood education minor when applying for admission to the elementary education program. Please see your advisor with questions.


For currently licensed elementary education teachers, or those eligible for a Montana elementary teaching license, there are two graduate-level tracks to an early childhood education (P-3) endorsement. 

We offer a new, fully-online M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education which includes the required P-3 endorsement coursework. For further details on this graduate program and instructions for application, please view our M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education website

For those that already have a master's degree in education or an education related field, or those who are interested in the P-3 endorsement without pursuing a master's degree, we offer an early childhood endorsement certificate program at the graduate level. If you are interested in this track, please follow the Program of Study link - Program of Study. To apply, please follow the graduate certificate admission link - Admission. 

Note: For currently licensed teachers whose position requires the P-3 endorsement, you will need to be admitted and enrolled in one of the tracks described above and also contact Kristi Murphy, Licensure Manager, to discuss requirements related to P-12 accreditation.

Contact Us

Graduate Endorsement Info:

Lisa Firehammer
Academic Advisor
College of Education

Allison Wilson
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education
College of Education

Undergraduate Endorsement Info:

Teacher Education Services
2nd Floor - PJW Education Center

Licensure Related Inquiries:

Kristi Steinberg
Licensure & Assessment Manager
Teacher Education Services