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Education Requirements for the Early Childhood Workforce: Resources and Supports

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ይህንን ገጽ በአማርኛ ለማየት እዚህ ይጫኑ።

In December 2016, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) published child care licensing regulations that increased the education requirements for the early childhood workforce in the District. In December 2023, OSSE revised the regulations to provide early childhood educators additional pathways and flexibility to meet the education requirements. 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).

     

The pathways through which an early childhood educator can meet the education requirement, based on their staff type, are below.

Center-based Positions

  • Director
    • Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a closely related field; OR
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject area with at least 12 credit hours in early childhood education
  • Teacher
    • Associate degree (or higher) in early childhood education or a closely related field; OR
    • Completion of at least 60 credit hours or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 12 credit hours in early childhood education; OR
    • Enrollment in a degree program provided that the Teacher holders a Child Development Associate (CDA) and earns an associate degree (or higher) within four years of their initial date of hire as a Teacher at a child development center.
  • Assistant Teacher
    • CDA; OR
    • Associate degree (or higher) in any subject area; OR
    • Completion of at least 60 credit hours in any subject area; OR
    • State-awarded certificate comparable to a CDA that is approved by OSSE; OR
    • High school diploma or equivalent, provided the individual earns a CDA within two years of their initial date of hire as an Assistant Teacher at a child development center.

Home-based Positions

  • Expanded Home Provider
    • Associate degree (or higher) in early childhood education or a closely related field; OR
    • Completion of at least 60 credit hours or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 12 credit hours in early childhood education; OR
    • Enrollment in a degree program, provided the expanded home caregiver holds a CDA and earns an associate degree (or higher) within four years of opening the expanded child development home.
  • Home Caregiver
    • CDA; OR
    • State-awarded certificate comparable to a CDA that is approved by OSSE; OR
    • Associate degree (or higher) in early childhood education or a closely related field; OR
    • Completion of at least 60 credit hours or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 12 credit hours in early childhood education.
  • Associate Home Caregiver
    • CDA; OR
    • State-awarded certificate comparable to a CDA that is approved by OSSE; OR
    • Completion of at least 60 credit hours or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area; OR
    • High school diploma or equivalent, provided the individual earns a CDA within two years of their initial date of hire as an associate caregiver at a child development home or expanded child development home.

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.

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).

Numerous other programs in the DC region also offer CDA credential coursework, including 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:

Waivers

Center directors, teachers, assistant teachers, expanded home caregivers, home caregivers and associate home caregivers who are still pursuing their education or otherwise do not fully meet the requirements for their staff types may qualify for a certification that waives the education requirement. OSSE may grant two types of certifications waiving education requirements for individual early educators. Individuals may maintain both types of certifications across changes in employment.

  • Continuous service certification
    • Any person employed as qualified center director in a licensed child development center in DC on Dec. 2, 2016 and who continuously served as such since Dec. 2, 2006 or earlier may submit an application to OSSE for a continuous service certification that waives the qualification requirements.
    • Any person employed as a qualified teacher or assistant teacher in a licensed child development center in DC; or as a qualified home caregiver, associate home caregiver or expanded home caregiver in a licensed child development home in DC as of Dec. 20, 2023, and who has continuously served in that role for the past 10 years, excluding any absences from the labor force related to caregiving responsibilities, may submit an application to OSSE for a continuous service certification that waives the qualification requirements.
  • Enrollment-based certification
    • Teachers or expanded home caregivers with a CDA and assistant teachers and associate home caregivers with a high school diploma or equivalent who are enrolled in a credential or degree program to meet the education requirement for their staff type may apply for an enrollment-based certification. The enrollment-based certification is valid for two or four years, based on an individual’s staff type.

Certification requests are processed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. For questions or to apply for a certification, please contact the ECE Help Desk at [email protected] or (202) 478-5903.

Reports
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).