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Staff Qualifications

To meet licensing standards, providers must meet certain requirements:

  • Pre-service: Requirements completed before hire or before being left alone with children. These requirements depend on the job role.   
  • Education: College coursework is required related to early childhood education. All providers have at least five years to meet their full education requirements.
  • Training: Early learning child-care providers are responsible for completing training before they provide care and throughout their career.

Hiring Requirements

Child Care Centers
Center Director, Assistant Director, Program Supervisor

(only one person in one of these roles must meet the requirement)

  • Hiring Education Requirement: 10 ECE credits (12 or less children) | 25 ECE credits (13-24 children) | 45 ECE credits (25+ children)
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: State Cert (47 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: 5 years
Center Lead Teacher
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits) | Short Certificate (20 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Initial Certificate – 5 years | Short Certificate – 2 years from completing Initial Certificate
Center Lead Teacher Serving ECEAP
  • Hiring Education Requirement: AA in ECE
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: AA in ECE
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Upon hire, or may have a PD Plan
Center Assistant Teacher
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: 5 years
Center Assistant Teacher Serving ECEAP
  • Hiring Education Requirement: ECE Initial Certificate
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Upon hire, or may have a PD Plan
Center Aide
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma or Enrolled
  • Minimum Age: 14
  • Full Education Requirement: High School Diploma or Enrolled
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A
Center Volunteer
  • Hiring Education Requirement: None required
  • Minimum Age: 14
  • Full Education Requirement: None
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A
Center Other Staff
  • Hiring Education Requirement: None required
  • Minimum Age: N/A
  • Full Education Requirement: None
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A
Family Homes
Family Home Owner
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits) | Short Certificate (20 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Initial Certificate – 5 years | Short Certificate – 2 years from completing Initial Certificate
Family Home Lead Teacher
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: 5 years
Family Home Lead Teacher Serving ECEAP
  • Hiring Education Requirement: AA in ECE
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: AA in ECE
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Upon hire, or may have a PD plan
Family Home Assistant Teacher
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: 5 years
Family Home Assistant Teacher Serving ECEAP
  • Hiring Education Requirement: ECE Initial Certificate
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Full Education Requirement: Initial Certificate (12 credits)
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: Upon hire, or may have a PD plan
Family Home Aide
  • Hiring Education Requirement: High School Diploma or Enrolled
  • Minimum Age: 14
  • Full Education Requirement: High School Diploma or Enrolled
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A
Family Home Volunteer
  • Hiring Education Requirement: None required
  • Minimum Age: 14
  • Full Education Requirement: None
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A
Family Home Other Staff
  • Hiring Education Requirement: None required
  • Minimum Age: N/A
  • Full Education Requirement: None
  • Time Allowed from Date of Hire or Promotion: N/A

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Meeting Staff Qualifications

Pre-Service

Pre-service requirements (WAC 110-300-0105) are those requirements that must be met before a provider receives a license or works with children. Preservice requirements include:

  • Licensing Orientation*
  • Background Check
  • TB Test

* If applicable for the role, see training based on role below for more information.

Education

Complete the Stackable Certificates

The Early Care and Education Stackable Certificates build on one another and serve as the starting point in Washington to begin a career in early learning. The Stackable Certificates are offered at community colleges throughout the state and can lead to an associate degree in early childhood education and beyond.

What are Equivalents?

Providers have multiple options, known as equivalents, for meeting the licensing standards for staff qualifications. Equivalent options include both experience and alternative credentials.

Are you wondering how your credentials meet the requirement? Review the Evaluating Early Childhood Coursework Guide.

A complete list of equivalents includes:

The experience option is available, and providers will be able to select it in MERIT beginning summer 2021. Providers with two years of experience prior to August 1, 2019 and who have maintained their training history as needed for their role may choose this option to meet licensing staff qualification.

This experience option is available to all roles with an ECE Initial Certificate or ECE Short Certificate as the stated education requirement in WAC 110-300-0100.

Learn more

These can be degrees, certificates and other credentials that meet the “equivalent” of the named state certificate.

DCYF is working to establish a community based option to meet the new educational qualifications for licensing. This option is dependent on funding.

UPDATE: This work is now guided by House Bill (HB) 2556 and is currently under development. DCYF is working to establish a community-based option to meet the licensing education qualifications for those needing an initial or short certificate. 

Training

Licensing standards in early learning require training to be complete before a provider can care for children (or within a specific timeframe) and throughout their career.

There are three types of training listed in WAC:

Before Being Licensed or Hired (not training)

  • Licensing Orientation*
  • Background Check
  • TB Test

See Pre-Service requirements WAC 300- 0105

* If applicable for the role, see training based on role below for more information.

Training within 90 days or less (Depending on role)

Training requirements are in WAC 300-0106. Electronic Attendance Requirements in WAC 110-15-0126. Subsidy Billing Training per 925 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2019-2021. 

Ongoing Requirements

  • 10 hours of in-service training each year
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
  • Every thirty-six months, following the completion of EQEL or a department approved alternative training, family home licensees, center directors, assistant directors, and program supervisors, must complete a minimum of ten hours of in-service training "child development" and a minimum of ten hours of in-service training on "leadership practices".
  • Any training that expires and needs to be renewed.
Required Training

Printer-Friendly Version: Licensed Family Home and Child Care Center providers

Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Licensing Orientation (if applicable)
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Child Restraint (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
  • Subsidy Billing Training (If applicable)
  • Electronic Attendance Training (If applicable)
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Licensing Orientation (if applicable)
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Child Restraint (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
  • Electronic Attendance Training (If applicable)
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Licensing Orientation (if applicable)
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Child Restraint (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
  • Electronic Attendance Training (If applicable)
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Licensing Orientation (if applicable)
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Child Restraint (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
  • Electronic Attendance Training (If applicable)
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Child Restraint (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Child Care Basics
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
  • Enhancing Quality of Early Learning
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Child Care Basics
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Food Handlers Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • 10-hour Annual In-service Training
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)
  • Health and Safety Trainings – Recognizing and Reporting Abuse, Emergency Preparedness, Serving Children Experiencing Homelessness, Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome (if applicable)
  • N/A
Pre-Service & Training Requirements In-Service Requirements
  • N/A
  • N/A