Experience-Based Competency

Providers and staff working in licensed child care and early learning programs can meet their role qualification with experience.

To choose this option, providers log into their MERIT account and update their Dashboard. Once Experience is selected in MERIT, the dashboard status bar for job role education will turn green and the requirement will be met.  

This experience option is not available to meet staff qualifications for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) nor for Early Achievers professional development points.

Determine if this pathway is the best option for you. By selecting this option, you acknowledge the following:

  • This will meet my licensing requirement.
  • This will not go toward my Early Achievers points for education.
  • This does not meet ECEAP staff qualifications.
  • This option does not build in future education opportunities.
  • You have completed all training requirements over the past seven years.

To update your MERIT Dashboard:

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click on the “Job Role Education” status bar on your MERIT Dashboard.
  3. Click the “Click Here” button. A popup box will appear.
  4. Use the drop-down menu to select “I want to use my experience and training.”
    • Note: This option will only appear if you are in a qualifying role and will have the required work experience by Aug. 1, 2024.
  5. Click “Save.”
  6. Your Job Role Education status bar will now be green and display your requirement as met.
  1. Active employment in an eligible job role recorded in MERIT:
    • Family Home Licensee
    • Family Home Lead Teacher
    • Family Home Assistant Teacher
    • Center Lead Teacher
    • Center Assistant Teacher
  2. Seven years of cumulative experience working in a licensed facility by Aug. 1, 2024.
  3. Completed and maintained compliance (through all seven years) for the following training requirements (WAC 01050106, and 0107):
    • All renewable Health and Safety trainings:
      • Bloodborne Pathogens
      • CPR
      • First Aid
      • Food Handlers
      • Safe Sleep
    • Child Care Basics or DCYF approved equivalent
    • 10 in-service (STARS) hours completed each year.

Why do I not see this as an option to select on my MERIT dashboard?

This option will only be available on your dashboard if you are working in a qualifying role and will have the required work experience by Aug. 1, 2024.

Please ensure the following:

  • You have active employment in an eligible job role recorded in your MERIT Employment Information.
  • Your Employment Information in your MERIT Professional Record is accurate and includes all relevant employment history.

How do I update my employment information in MERIT?

To add employment information in MERIT, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click on the “Professional Record” sub tab.
  3. Scroll down to the “Early Care & Education/School-Age Employment Information” section.
  4. Click on the blue “+ Click here to add Employment” button.
  5. Under “Program(s),” check the box of the population you are serving.
  6. Pick your “Job Title”
    1. If a licensing application is pending, select “I am currently applying”
    2. If your job title is not listed, select “Other.”
  7. Search for the Facility/Site by name OR by the Provider/Organization ID and click “Go”.
  8. Verify the address and click the blue “Select” button.
  9. Enter in your “Employment Start Date”
    1. Do not enter in the “Employment End Date” if you are still employed
  10. Press the blue “Save” button.

Once you add your employment, you will be associated with the “Facility/Site.” Your employer can then confirm your employment status through the Facility/Site tab.

To end-date employment information in MERIT, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on the “Professional Record” sub tab.
  3. Scroll down to the “Early Care & Education/School-Age Employment Information” section.
  4. Click on the edit icon next to your current employment.
    1. Enter in your “Employment End Date”
  5. Click the blue “Save” button.

Once you enter an employment end date, you will no longer be associated with that Facility/Site.

NOTE: If you are changing roles but still work at the same Facility/Site, you must end-date the employment record with the old role and then add a record for the new role.

If you are changing roles but still work at the same Facility/Site, you must end-date the employment record with the old role and then add a record for the new role.

If you need to delete an employment record, please contact merit@dcyf.wa.gov. Please be sure to include the following information:

  • First and last name
  • STARS number or Date of Birth
  • Information about the specific record you would like to remove or edit.

NOTE: Employment records with a Confirmed or Verified status cannot be deleted from a Professional Record.

How do I update my employment information in MERIT?

Contact the MERIT support team by emailing merit.dcyf.wa.gov or calling 1.866.482.4325, option 5.