Frequently Asked Questions

Below please find answer to some of the more commonly asked questions about our programs. If you have a question that is not on this list, please do not hesitate to contact us at (630) 654-0151 or at Our staff would be happy to speak with you.



What are the prerequisites for the Infant–Toddler and Early Childhood (AMS) credential programs?

Adults interested in Montessori Infant-Toddler or Early Childhood teacher certification must have already earned, at minimum, a high school diploma or its equivalent.  Preference is given to those with a bachelor’s degree, and the American Montessori Society and Seton advises that those without a bachelor’s degree make plans for furthering their educational qualifications within a window of seven years.

Those entering the Infant-Toddler or Early Childhood programs without a bachelor’s degree but with a high school diploma are eligible to receive the AMS Associate Credential upon the successful conclusion of their work.  Those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree receive the full AMS credential.

What are the prerequisites for the Elementary I – II or Elementary I(AMS) programs?

Adults interested in Montessori Elementary teacher certification must hold as a minimum of:

• a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from an international university, as verified by an approved official transcript analysis report).

• a Montessori Early Childhood credential issued by AMS, AMI or other MACTE accredited course, or, as an alternative, successful completion of the Overview of Early Childhood Course prior to starting Elementary coursework.

My degree and/or experience is not in education. May I still apply?

• Yes. For those who do not have an associate’s  degree or bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education or Child Development, a prerequisite hybrid “Introduction to Child Development” course, available through Seton, must be completed prior to beginning your student teaching internship.

•A hybrid course is when the majority of the work is completed online in conjunction with face-to-face meetings.

Is it very competitive to get into Seton?

Seton strives to accept as many qualified applicants as possible. When making admissions

decisions, we look at each applicant’s background, qualifications, learning needs and interests

in order to ascertain their likelihood of succeeding in the program and becoming a competent Montessori educator. Class size is limited based on our capacity to accommodate and serve the needs of our students.

How long does it take to complete the AMS credential programs?

Adult students enrolled in AMS credential programs are given three to four years to complete depending on the program.

Program Level Minimum Completion Time Frame Typical Completion Time Frame Required Completion Time Limit
Infant-Toddler 18 months 2 years 3 years
Early Childhood 18 months 2 years 3 years
Elementary I 18 months 2.5 years 3 years
Elementary I-II 2 years 3 years 4 years
Administrators 2 years 2.5 years 3 years



What is a complete application?

A signed application with the $500 application fee, official transcript (or approved official evaluation report for foreign educational credential) in sealed issuing envelope, and three references.

Do I have to come to Chicago for my interview?

No, we do allow applicants to interview by phone or video chat if they reside outside of Illinois; however, we encourage all applicants to interview in person and visit Seton, if possible, prior to applying.

My degree is from a foreign college/university. Where do I get an independent transcript evaluation?

AMS and Seton require the applicant to have a transcript analysis sent directly from one of the evaluators located at this site: Our students have provided positive feedback from working with World Education Services ( and Educational Credential Evaluators (

Who should my letters of recommendation come from?

If possible, you should try to submit recommendations from people who know about your academic and professional background. The letter of recommendation should give a sense of who you will be as a student and as a professional educator working with children in a Montessori setting.

How long will it be after my interview before I find out if I’m accepted into the program?

Typically, you will receive an admission decision within two weeks of your interview.

If I’m accepted, can I wait a year before starting the program?

Yes, we will consider requests for deferring your admission for one year. Requests for deferment should be made in writing. Deferred students will be asked to submit a $50 program change fee to hold their space for the following year and the current year’s tuition rate will apply.

If I miss the application deadline can I still apply?

Absolutely! However, a nonrefundable $200 late application fee will apply. It is to the applicant’s advantage to apply early to the program in order to complete Orientation assignments and independent study work. Initial readings of interest are given at the interview.

What is the difference (for Infant-Toddler and Early Childhood applicants), in choosing the spring or the summer cohort?

Each cohort receives the same course material and attends the same clock hours of coursework whether they participate in the spring or the summer cohorts.  By starting in spring, the applicant opts for a Beginning Academics schedule that spreads seminar days over a longer span of time(starting with an initial series of spring weekends, and continuing with summer academics that take place on consecutive weekdays).  The summer registrant condenses the same course content into one continuous session of consecutive weekday seminars (approximately six weeks in length).  With either choice, the seminar days are full, eight-hour days, and both cohorts follow the same schedule for their advanced academics.



What is a Practicum?

A Practicum is student teaching or internship consisting of, at minimum, nine consecutive months working in a classroom at a Montessori school selected by the student teacher with an arrangement that is approved by our course director.

How do I go about finding a Practicum?

Your Practicum Coordinator will assist you (but cannot guarantee a position) in finding a Practicum site that meets the requirements of Seton and the American Montessori Society. Seton has collaborated with Montessori schools in all parts of the Chicago metropolitan area, in other parts of the United States and also in other countries.

Where can I work with an AMS Montessori credential?

Seton graduates work in private and public Montessori schools all over the world. It should be noted that in order to work in public Montessori schools additional state licensing requirements often need to be met. Check with your state and school regarding local and state regulations for additional requirements.



What kind of financial aid is available?

The American Montessori Society and ETC-Montessori have need-based scholarships available (application available on January 1st). Elgin Community College provides scholarships for those who live within their district. Many schools will sponsor students for our program. This can be done in the form of a loan or scholarship. In exchange for this assistance, schools normally ask a student to sign an agreement to work for the school for a specific period following certification.  Seton offers limited sponsorship to applicants who complete their student internship at one of our Lab Schools.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes! Four payment plan options are available and detailed specifically on the tuition side of our program information sheets.



What are some of the advantages to choosing Seton Montessori Institute instead of another teacher preparation course?

As one of the oldest AMS courses in North America, we have had extensive experience with preparing Montessori educators for a wide variety of settings in public and private education.  From the outset, our faculty has been international in its outlook, faithful to Maria Montessori’s insights, and committed to keeping up-to-date with the latest research.  Each member of our highly qualified faculty team presents in the areas of their strongest skill and experience, the topics about which they are most passionate.  Our program offers two Lab Schools that provide adult students with resources for learning and observation.  In addition, we offer flexibility of scheduling and a staff that’s ready to assist in any area.  We serve students across the U. S. and abroad, visiting them at their practicum sites throughout their enrollment in the program.

Can you put me in contact with a student or graduate to talk about Seton?

Yes. E-mail the Office of Admission’s Registrar. She can be reached at: or call 630/654-0151. She can put you in touch with an alum or current student.

© 2014 Seton Montessori Institute • 5728 Virginia Street, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 • Phone: (630) 654-0151 • All rights reserved.

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