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Hiring Credentialed Teachers

If you will be pursuing membership with the American Montessori Society for your new school—and we hope that you will be!—you’ll want to be aware that AMS has specific requirements regarding teachers and Montessori credentials. Ensuring that you have properly credentialed teachers in your classrooms from the get-go—or at least, teachers who are in the process of becoming credentialed—will help poise you for success as you work your way up the AMS membership ladder.

In addition, and most important, your students will benefit from having Montessori teachers who have undergone a rigorous process of study specific to the level at which they are teaching.

AMS School Membership Level and Credential Requirement

The credential requirement for an AMS member school varies according to its membership level:

Full Member Schools: All lead classroom teachers must hold credentials* at the level(s) at which they are teaching. In the case of co-lead teachers in the classroom, at least one of the co-leads must hold the proper credential. (Note, after 1 year as a full member, a school may apply to become AMS-accredited, which has the same teacher credential requirement.) The exception to this requirement is that any teacher working with children ages 14 – 18 need not hold a Montessori Secondary I or I – II credential until July 2020.

Associate Member Schools: At least one lead classroom teacher must hold credentials* at the level at which she or he is teaching.

Initiate Member Schools: None of the teachers are required to hold credentials; however, this membership level is limited to 3 years, during which the school works toward full or associate membership. Schools that serve only students ages 14 and older may maintain their Initiate membership until July 2020 or until one of the lead teachers holds a Secondary I, I – II credential, whichever occurs first.

* The credentials must be issued by a credentialing body recognized by AMS.

Credentialing Bodies Recognized by AMS

AMS recognizes credentials issued by the following organizations:

Teacher Requirement FAQs

AMS staff have identified the questions that come their way most often regarding the credential requirement for teachers in member schools:

You say that for some levels of AMS school membership, the lead teacher must hold credentials at the level(s) at which she is teaching. Please can you clarify “lead teacher”?

The lead teacher is the teacher who has overall responsibility for the class and all of its aspects. Sometimes teachers co-lead the class, sharing the responsibilities.

Some Montessori teacher education programs include distance (online) learning. Does AMS recognize their credentials?

Yes—but only if the program is MACTE-accredited. You can find a complete list of MACTE-accredited teacher education programs (both with and without distance learning components) on the MACTE website. For more information, call MACTE at 434-202-7793.

Note  that some very large teacher education programs that offer Montessori distance learning, including the North American Montessori Center (NAMC), are not accredited by MACTE—and therefore their credentials are not recognized by AMS. 

A teacher who applied for a position in my school has a Montessori credential that was issued before MACTE existed. Would AMS recognize this credential? 

The answer to this varies depending on details related to the credential in question. Please e-mail Tendo Mutanda for more information. (And note, MACTE was founded April 1, 1992, so this response refers to Montessori credentials issued before that date.)

I interviewed a teacher who told me that in order for her AMS credential to remain active, she will need professional development. Please explain.

The AMS professional development requirement specifies that holders of AMS credentials issued July 1, 2013 or later complete 50 hours of professional development every 5 years for the credential to remain active.

Despite all your information, I still have a question about hiring credentialed teachers. Can I contact you directly?

Of course! Our membership coordinator, Tendo Mutanda, will be delighted to help you. 

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