What does it mean when a Montessori teacher-training program says it is accredited by MACTE?
So, you’re doing your due diligence and looking into your options for Montessori teacher- training programs. The possibilities are numerous, but then again so are your requirements. You want a quality education, an authentic Montessori philosophy, and highly qualified instructors. You also have scheduling and budget considerations, among others. Then there is the question of credibility. Which programs are accredited, and by which organizations? When it comes to Montessori teacher-training courses, information regarding certification, accreditation, and affiliation can be confusing.
Some of the misunderstanding stems from the very word “Montessori.” There is no trademark on the name, therefore just about anyone can claim to have a Montessori school or offer a Montessori teacher-training program. Searching the web for answers can be equally confounding. Search results often yield an alphabet soup of acronyms: AMS, AMI, MACTE, NCATE, and TEAC to name a few. So how do you know which of these organizations are legit?
Accreditation and Affiliation
Fortunately, there are credible agencies to help make sense of misleading information. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education or MACTE as the specialized accrediting agency for “Montessori teacher education institutions and programs throughout the United States, including those offered via distance education.” MACTE also accredits many international programs.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) requires all affiliated teacher education programs to be accredited by MACTE. According to AMS, “Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education [is] the premier, international standard-setting and accrediting organization for Montessori teacher education.”
The Association of Montessori International (AMI) does not yet require any specific accreditation, however, AMI–USA encourages their affiliates to apply for MACTE accreditation. “Ideally all AMI centers in the U.S. would be accredited by MACTE” stated AMI-USA in this 2014 article.
Exactly what does this mean to you? In short, it means that if your chosen teacher-training program is accredited by MACTE, you can rest assured that your credentials will be recognized and accepted by highly selective Montessori schools in the U.S. and internationally.
Do I need a teaching certificate?
It is also important to understand the difference between Montessori training and certification. If you want to become a Montessori teacher, certification by an accredited teacher education program is an essential prerequisite. Certification requires the successful completion of an accredited training course and passing a final practical exam.
You can find a complete list of all MACTE accredited programs by checking the “Accredited Programs” page on their website. This list changes occasionally so it is important to check often for current listings. U.S. programs are listed by state and in alphabetical order. MACTE also lists sixteen International programs.
MACTE also recognizes several distance-learning programs. Distance-learning courses and on-site courses are held to the same high standards and competencies. All MACTE-accredited distance-learning programs require a minimum of 120 academic clock hours of instruction during an on-site, residential phase of the certification course. If you are looking at a course that does not include any on-site learning, move on, this is not likely a viable option.
A little more about MACTE
American Montessori Society (AMS)
Association Montessori International (AMI)
Association Montessori International – USA (AMI-USA)
Independents not in a Consortium (IND)
International Association for Progressive Montessori (IAPM)
International Montessori Council (IMC)
Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI)
Pan American Montessori Society (PAMS)