Credentials and Graduate Degrees in Montessori Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What credentials and graduate degrees do you offer in Montessori education?

Please refer to the Montessori programs webpages for further information

Who are the instructors?

The instructors are full-time and part-time professors and practitioners in schools.  Our faculty members are all experienced in their specialization and have graduate degrees. They are our greatest asset.

Do I need to take the CBEST or the CSET?

No, those are state mandated tests for students entering California teaching credential programs.

What is the mission of the program?

To prepare agents of social change who are caring, competent, and inspired teachers and administrators in the Montessori Method, who will work effectively with a diverse population of children from ages 2 years through 12 years and their families.

When can I start the program?

Most people start the credential programs in the fall. A summer start is recommended for those studying for the elementary Montessori credential but we admit Early Child Education and Elementary Level students in any semester. The Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Montessori pedagogy starts in the summer.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The credential programs take two years to complete. The Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Montessori pedagogy can take as little as nine months.

How many units are required?

  • The American Montessori Society Early Childhood Education Credential consists of 29-31 units
  • The American Montessori Society Elementary Education Credential consists of 29-33 units
  • Master of Arts in Montessori Education (open to those who have earned Montessori credentials from Saint Mary’s College) consists of 9 units
  • The Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Montessori pedagogy consists of 33 units, 15 of which are transferred in from your completed credential.

Please note: All units awarded are Carnegie academic units and are accepted by licensing and the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing for the Child Development Permit necessary for the Child Development Corps.

May I transfer credits from another institution?

Yes, some credits may be transferred and some classes may be challenged depending on experience and classes taken at a regionally accredited institution. Students holding a Multiple Subject or Montessori credential may qualify for a reduction in units depending on experience and coursework completed. Eligibility is determined by the Program Director.

How much does the program cost?

Current tuition per semester unit is found on the KSOE Tuition and Fees webpage.

The college recognizes and respects the important work of preschools teachers and those who work in the private sector.  Therefore, the Montessori credential courses are offered at a discounted tuition. Tuition is paid on a per semester basis; students are billed electronically for their registered classes. Students should also plan for course fees (readers and other material) and AMS/MACTE Credential fees.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Financial aid information is available on the KSOE Financial Aid Information webpage and at the Saint Mary’ College Financial Aid Office. There is also an American Montessori Society scholarship.

I work full time.  When are classes scheduled?

Classes are scheduled for evenings and a few Saturdays each semester to accommodate working professionals. Students can expect to be in class one or two nights per week.

Where are classes held?

Most of our credential classes are held at the American International Montessori School at 3339 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Berkeley. All other classes are held on the Saint Mary's College Moraga campus.

I understand that an interview with the program director is required as part of the admissions process. What can I expect?

During the interview, program details and expectations are reviewed.  The discussion will be guided by questions to help us learn more about you, your potential to be an educator and by your questions about the program.  

How do I apply?

Contact Program Director, Luz Casquejo Johnston to arrange an admissions interview. You can reach her at 925.631.4089 or

Applications are submitted online.

How can I obtain more information about the program?