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Education Requirements for the Early Childhood Workforce: Resources and Supports

Haga clic aquí para ver esta página en español.

ይህንን ገጽ በአማርኛ ለማየት እዚህ ይጫኑ።

In December 2016, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) published updated child care licensing regulations that increased the education requirements for the early childhood workforce in the District. The goal of these requirements is to protect the health, safety and welfare of children in care and cultivate high-quality learning environments and experiences that nurture children’s learning.

Click here for more background on the education requirements for the early childhood workforce.

Education Requirements

Click on the position that describes your current role or the position in which you are interested to find more information on the requirements and resources for that staff type. If you are currently employed at a child development facility and are unsure of your staff type, please ask your employer what your staff type is in the Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT).


See below for the education requirement for each staff type and deadline for achieving the required credentials.

Resources and Supports for Early Childhood Educators

Customized Technical Assistance
OSSE’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Help Desk is a free resource available to all early childhood educators. The ECE Help Desk can help answer questions about the requirements, connect educators to available resources, assist with planning and offer individualized assistance. Support is available in multiple languages. For support contact [email protected] or (202) 478-5903.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The ECE Help Desk is available to answer questions from early childhood educators about the education requirements. Answers to frequently asked questions and the education requirements for each staff type can be found by clicking the links below.

Workforce Resources
There are several options for early childhood educators to pursue a CDA. Click the links below for more information.

  • First Step
    • OSSE’s First Step CDA credential program offers high school students the opportunity to earn a CDA while simultaneously completing their high school diploma.
  • CDA Training and Preparation Program
    • OSSE supports two programs, operated by CentroNía and Southeast Children’s Fund, that offer free, in-person and/or hybrid CDA training and preparation programs for early childhood professionals seeking an initial, renewal or non-cohort CDA credential. The CDA provides a foundation for building the essential competencies needed by entry-level early childhood professionals and typically takes between six months and one year to complete.
  • Quorum eLearning
    • A membership-based online professional development platform that allows early childhood educators to obtain the 120 training hours needed to obtain or renew a CDA credential. This guidebook provides more information on how to obtain a CDA using Quorum (available here in Spanish).

There are also a number of other programs in the DC region that offer CDA credential coursework, such as Briya Public Charter School, the United Planning Organization (UPO), University of the District of Columbia’s (UDC’s) Division of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning, Trinity Washington University and American University. Individuals interested in pursuing one of these programs should contact the program directly.

Scholarship Opportunities
OSSE understands that continuing education can be costly and has dedicated funds, time and resources to support DC early childhood educators who are pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree. Click the links below for more information.

  • DC Futures
    • The DC Futures program helps DC college students complete their first associate or bachelor’s degree by providing a last-dollar scholarship (tuition, fees and cost of attendance) at three local universities in addition to college coaching and support services that will address personal and financial barriers to completion for all participants.
  • DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) Grant
    • DC LEAD aims to increase the number of high-quality early childhood professionals in the District through scholarships for postsecondary degrees.
  • DC Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program
    • Program provides need-based funding for eligible DC residents earning their first associate or first bachelor’s degree at select area colleges and universities. The program is a last-dollar award meaning it can be used can be used to fill the gap between a student’s financial aid package and the cost of attendance.
  • DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG)
    • DCTAG is a student-level grant program that provides grants of up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities to eligible DC residents.

Other Scholarships Opportunities and Grants
Financial assistance may be available through colleges and universities, such as University of the District of Columbia, Trinity Washington University or through programs, such as:

Teachers, assistant teachers, expanded home caregivers, home caregivers or associate home caregivers who are still pursuing their education or otherwise do not fully meet the requirements by December 2023 may qualify for a waiver. Early childhood educators cannot submit a waiver on their own behalf. All waivers must be submitted by the facility director/owner. Waivers are processed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. For questions about waivers, please contact the ECE Help Desk at [email protected] or (202) 478-5903.

OSSE publishes a quarterly report that presents the numbers and percentage of current early childhood educators in each role who have achieved the minimum education credential for their position as reported by employers in the Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT).