Open Calendar
Elementary students using a microscope


Click to print this page

Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education Certificate

Early childhood education fosters lifelong opportunities for children. As an early childhood educator, you’re instrumental in helping children of all backgrounds thrive in the classroom. 

The University of Central Missouri’s graduate certificate program is designed to help you develop skills, broaden your knowledge and boost your confidence in making management-level decisions. This program provides fundamental knowledge of developing a play-based curriculum and a strong sense of ethical conduct. It identifies challenges specific to early education and demonstrates the impact of teaching methods in increasingly complex educational institutions.

UCM’s Early Childhood Education Leadership and Management graduate certificate gives you the training and resources you need to construct programs and champion policies that expand access to education and meet diversity needs often neglected in communities.

View Courses


Karrie Snider
Associate Professor
Lovinger 3320
Warrensburg, MO
Tel: 660-543-8658 |

College of Education

Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership

Early Childhood Education

Faculty icon
Request Info icon
Request Info
Visit icon
Apply icon


CAEP accreditation logo

CAEP-accredited since 1954

An icon of a person with 3 stars

Meets NAEYC standards of excellence

A laptop

100% online program

A certificate

One-of-a-kind leadership certificate

A map of Missouri

Partnership with MO Dept of Education

What you will study

UCM’s Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education (ECE) graduate certificate concentrates on enriching leadership skills that promote young children’s learning, achievement and development. The curriculum is focused distinctly on how to create a professional learning community, develop shared goals and compose a communication plan that ignites action.

This certificate also aligns with the Core Competencies for Early Childhood and Youth Professionals in Missouri and Kansas. You’ll take courses such as:

  • An Ecological Perspective of Family Engagement in Early Childhood Education: Gain theoretical, ecological and empirical perspectives to create a connection between family and educator that is integral to a child’s educational growth.
  • Multicultural Education: Beliefs, Curriculum and Pedagogy: Illuminate the challenges and solutions in providing an equitable education through analyzing multicultural theories and ideals that impact early learners.
  • Collaborative Practice in Early Childhood Education: Understand central theories, research and practices for creating engaged and innovative learning environments. With an ever-changing world, professional teaching requires critical reflection on the developmental needs of diverse learners.

Pathway to a master’s degree

All courses earned in the Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education graduate certificate are applicable to our Master of Science in Early Childhood Education - Leadership program. After that, you only need 15 additional credits to finish your master’s degree at UCM.


Excellence in Early Childhood Education

  • UCM's Early Childhood Education Leadership and Management program offers the only certificate in the state designed specifically to empower educators with ECE and leadership best practices.
  • Longest continuously accredited public institution by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). We know what it takes to prepare you for a successful career in education.
  • A Best Value College for Elementary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 15%: Most Focused Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 6%: Most Popular Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Among the Most Popular Colleges for Teacher Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 10%: Best Value in Education (College Factual, 20212)
  • Top 10%: Best Colleges for Education for Non-Traditional Students (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in early childhood education leadership and management

UCM’s ECE graduate certificate in Leadership and Management allows you to develop confidence as an education leader. Our experiential learning format gives you opportunities to work in diverse environments learning from seasoned professionals.

Some of the program’s features include:

  • Direct interaction with students: Apply what you’re learning in your courses to your own classroom, paying particular attention to how teacher-student interactions and relationship-building impacts student outcomes.
  • Mentorship: Work with expert UCM faculty to develop a culturally responsive curriculum that supports all learners. They’ll show you how to lead education conversations that inspire action while staying current in the field.
  • Personal career advising: Get individualized support throughout the program, from planning courses that match your goals and interests to preparing for the next steps in your graduate studies or career.


What can you do with an ECE graduate certificate in Leadership and Management from UCM?

With the movement towards universal preschool, the need for qualified teachers — and leaders — continues to grow. We developed the Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education graduate certificate in response to this need. This program prepares you to step into these roles.

In addition to ECE director, UCM’s graduate certificate can help you secure other roles in early childhood education, including:

  • Peer support specialist
  • Child care center owner
  • Professional development manager
  • Family engagement and integration specialist

Leadership and management careers in early education

Explore more options for career paths, as well as salary potential, in early childhood education using the interactive tool below.




Financial assistance options for your Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education graduate certificate

The University of Central Missouri is committed to helping you advance your career without risking your financial future. Our tuition is lower than that of many colleges in Missouri — and the national average. 

Missouri classroom educators looking to become leaders in the field of Early Childhood Education may also be eligible for funding through T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Missouri, and when the program is finalized, through Missouri Child Care Aware. 

For those earning a degree and this certificate at the same time, financial aid from the University of Central Missouri is available in several forms:

  • Grants
  • Graduate assistantships
  • Loans
  • Scholarships

More than 70 scholarships are also available, including alumni and academic achievement awards. Learn more about program-specific scholarships by using the UCM Scholarship Finder.


A teacher and two elementary students in a classroom


Take your degree further.

When you earn your Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Education graduate certificate at UCM, you’ll have the opportunity to count those credits toward a master’s degree:

Elementary students sitting at desks in a classroom


Make yourself more marketable.

Consider adding a second graduate certificate to your UCM studies to increase your skill set and expand your career options:


Request Info   Visit   Apply Today!



  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linkedin
  • instagram