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A graduate certificate in Early Childhood Education (PK-3) Licensure provides the opportunity to learn about specific instructional tools and practices that help young children develop a love of learning that will benefit them the rest of their lives.

By working with young children and their families, early childhood education graduates create a path for success for children in the earliest years of their education. This concentration ensures that students engage in a well-rounded, cohesive program of studies that prepares them to be high-quality early childhood educators.

The 24-credit certificate program prepares educators with the knowledge necessary to meet the needs of young children from prekindergarten to third grade and leads to state licensure in Early/Primary Education PreK-3.

Licensure Requirements

In addition to completing program courses, students must complete state-mandated licensure exams and content area coursework prior to their internship application deadline. The most up-to-date information regarding exams can be found on the TeacherTrack@Mason website.


Early Childhood Education students engage in a semester-long internship experience off campus. This internship is a capstone experience. It is a full-time obligation in the last semester of the program. The program assists with the placement process. Internships will be either working directly with or on behalf of young children and their families.

Students must submit an internship application in the semester prior to the internship. Please consult with the Early Childhood Education advisor and review the information on this page for more details.

Careers in Early Childhood

Students completing this licensure program may pursue careers in the following areas:

  • Prekindergarten Teachers
  • Kindergarten Teachers
  • First Through Third Grade Teachers

Additional Opportunities

Licensure Disclosure

George Mason University will verify completion of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate or undergraduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of a Virginia Collegiate Professional, Postgraduate Professional, or Pupil Personnel license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student's responsibility to comply with all requirements for licensure by the Commonwealth. Under Virginia law, a social security number is required for licensure.

This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.