Daycare workers teach, care and nurture young children who are not yet school aged. Depending upon their curriculum and the state in which they work, daycare workers must meet varying requirements. Some only require a high school diploma while others require a daycare certificate or a college diploma. Also, many require either a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate from the Council for Professional Recognition or a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential from the National Child Care Association.
Daycare Worker Certification
Many community and four-year colleges offer a daycare provider certificate program that trains and certifies you to work with children in daycare centers. To participate, most programs require that you have a high school diploma or GED and that you complete between 15 and 30 credits. The process can take from six months to one year to complete. These daycare certificate programs teach different topics related to child care such as communicating with children and their parents, early growth and development, discipline strategies and child safety.
An alternative to receiving a daycare certification is earning a diploma from a four-year college. This will involve 35 to 60 credits of related childcare education (i.e., elementary education) along with minimal general education courses. You would receive similar education from a daycare certification program, however, with a college diploma you would receive a broader education and would earn a related associate or bachelor's degree, which would improve your job prospects.
After receiving a daycare certificate or college diploma and having acquired some work experience, you may seek to earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate from the Council for Professional Recognition. To be an applicant you must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, have worked with children for at least 480 hours in the past five years and have 120 hours of education in formal child care in the last five years. To acquire a CDA certificate, you must complete 120 approved hours of child education and development courses, 80 hours of other additional training and pay the $325 assessment fee.
Besides a CDA certificate, you can earn a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential from the National Child Care Association (NCCA). The NCCA is a nationally recognized trade association that is focused on improving the quality of early child education and care. Before applying, you must be 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED, have completed at least 720 hours of working with children in the last five years and have completed 180 hours of other related training. In addition, you pay a $495 assessment fee. Further, to earn the CCP credential, you will have to complete 11 requirements, which will include passing an examination and being reviewed by the CCP council review board.
Because it can take from six months to a year to receive a CDA or CCP certificate, it is important that you continue to maintain these credentials and be aware of their renewal requirements. The CDA certificate must be renewed every five years. Also, members must have received additional education and performed at least 80 hours of child-related work in the last year. With a CCP credential, you must receive 20 hours of training in additional childhood education every two years and send this proof to the NCCA.
- Photo Credit empty playground image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com