Professional Development, Training and Requirements

Professional Development, Training and Requirements

WAC 110-300-0100

Your job titles do not need to match WAC roles. Consider what a person does and select the role in the WAC that best fits their responsibilities. You do not need to change the title you use at your program, but you do need to have accurate staff records in MERIT. The role indicated in MERIT will determine the staff qualifications and training for that person. Here is a summary that may be useful when making a role determination for your staff:

WAC 110-300-0100

When to request a waiver: If you are a larger program and have other roles (ex: hiring manager, curriculum coordinator, financial manager, etc), you may not NEED a center director. A waiver can be completed and submitted to licensing to indicate how your program is fulfilling the responsibilities of a role with multiple people. DCYF is working on additional support guide to help programs determine when requesting a waiver might be an option and the criteria DCYF will use to review the requests.

WAC 110-300-0100

When someone covers a vacation or leave of absence for another staff person, they must meet the same qualifications for the role they are filling in for. One exception is that in order to maintain continuity of care, an assistant teacher can fill in for a lead teacher (act as a substitute) for up to two weeks.

WAC 110-300-0100

There are three ways to meet education requirements. You may have or work towards completing the named credential, or you may have an equivalent. An Equivalent includes two additional options, here is the definition of equivalent from the WAC:

“when referring to staff qualifications means an individual is allowed to meet the requirements of this chapter through a department recognized alternative credential, or demonstration of competency, that indicates similar knowledge as the named credential.”

Named Credential
You can read about the three stackable certificates and explore educational opportunities by visiting the Career Planning Portal

Alternative Credentials
The Chart of Equivalents outlines other education, certificates, or credentials that can meet the education requirements for staff qualifications. This chart can be found on pages 33-34of the Foundational Quality Standards Guidebook.

Demonstration of Knowledge and Skill
A demonstration of knowledge and skill is another option to meet staff qualification; this process is currently under development and was informed by a state-wide workgroup.  Monitor here to stay current with updates on how you can meet education requirements with your existing knowledge and skill. 

Remember:

  • You can also use a combination of the three options above (example: some credits, some demonstration of knowledge and skill).
  • The best place to look for more information: Staff Qualifications Chart in the Foundational Quality Standards Guidebook on page 28-29.
WAC 110-300-0100

These questions need to be supported on a case-by-case basis, and will take a few steps to plan what to do next.

  1. Make sure your education is verified in the workforce registry (MERIT). Here is a link for a video on how to submit your education application
  2. Once verified, your education will either count as a related degree, or if it doesn’t, we will count the number of credits that relate to the Early Care and Education Core Competencies and compare that to the number you need to meet an equivalent education option for your role.
  3. If you still don’t have enough credits to meet an equivalent, you can make a choice to work towards completing the rest with a competency demonstration, or continue with education to finish the next certificate or degree that is a good next step for you personally. 

If you want help navigating your choice, visit the Career Portal or contact us to help you navigate your choices at merit@dcyf.wa.gov

What if my credential is expired?
If a credential is expired, it will not be reviewed as an alternative credential, but the knowledge and work completed can be used towards a competency demonstration.

If a credential has already been reviewed and approved as an alternative credential and then expires, it does not change the status of the education requirement having been met. However, once it expires it will be treated as a competency demonstration in meeting greater education requirements if you were to be promoted or take a new job in a higher position.

Here are some additional resources:

WAC 110-300-0100

The Chart of Equivalents outlines other education, certificates, or credentials that can meet the education requirements for staff qualifications. This chart can be found on pages 33-34 of the Foundational Quality Standards Guidebook. As additional options are developed or identified, this list may expand.

Below are a few related credentials we get many questions about:

What about the CDA?
The CDA is a credential provided by the Council for Professional recognition and is listed in the Chart of Related Credentials, and is an equivalent to the initial certificate. DCYF allows for each of the specialty areas of CDA to be accepted to meet staff qualifications. Once approved, if the CDA expires, it does not change the staff qualification status. An expired CDA cannot be used as an equivalent credential if it was not been verified while it was valid. Remember: The CDA is accepted at community and technical colleges. DCYF suggests that while your CDA is valid, you connect with your local community college and see how you can get college credit for your CDA if you have not done so. College credits never expire. An expired CDA can’t be used if a future opportunity comes up that requires the next level of a credential.

What about Military Modules?
The Military Modules are offered on military installations as part of their requirements for licensing and meet the equivalent of the initial certificate for staff qualifications.

What about Montessori Certificates and Training Programs?
Yes, DCYF recognizes some Montessori Credentials that are MACTE accredited. Some common affiliate organizations we recognize include AMS and AMI, but there are also many more.

What about my Early Achievers Rating?
Early Achievers ratings speak to the overall quality of a program, environment, and is attached to the whole facility. The education requirements are attached to each individual person.

WAC 110-300-0100

For EXISTING ROLES who have been verified in the electronic workforce registry (MERIT) by July 30, 2019, we will mark you as meeting the level in which you have enough credits.

EXISTING ROLES Example

a. If you have 45 credits of ECE and have been verified in the electronic workforce registry (MERIT) by July 30, 2019, we will mark you as meeting the equivalent of the ECE State Certificate.
b. If you have 25 credits of ECE and have been verified in the electronic workforce registry (MERIT) by July 30, 2019, we will mark you as meeting the equivalent of a Short Certificate. Someone in this role would create a plan for meeting the remaining 20 credits or competency demonstration over the next 5 years.

“Aligned Credits” means the college coursework completed is grounded in Washington’s Early Care and Education Core Competencies and that the coursework is reflective of the same knowledge that would have been earned in the named credential.

NEW HIRES Example

a. If I have 50 credits in early childhood education, and the credits are all in one topic area (or one competency area), this is not reflective of the ECE State Certificate content, therefore, not aligned, and will only help me meet a portion of my requirement.
b. I have 50 credits that are in many topic areas (core competency areas) and the content is reflective of the all the content in the ECE state certificate, those credits are “aligned” with the named credential, and these credits do help me meet my qualification.

WAC 110-300-0100

Both.

When evaluating education applications, MERIT records are displayed based on quarter credits. If an early learning provider submits a transcript that has semester credits, they will be applied using a standard conversion rate for quarter and semester credits.

1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits.

WAC 110-300-0100

Know where you are now, identify your goals, create a plan.

  • FIRST: Make sure you understand your own or your staff’s completed education before considering if you need to do additional education. What has already been completed might count as an allowable option to meet the requirements.
  • Remember: If someone does not have their education yet, and is within their timeline, they must have annual documentation of how they are working to meet their staff qualification requirements each year.

Steps to take:

  1. Make sure your education is verified in the workforce registry (MERIT).
  2. Once verified, your education will either count as a related degree, or if it doesn’t, we will count the number of credits that relate to the Early Care and Education Core Competencies and compare that to the number you need to meet an equivalent education option for your role.
  3. If you still don’t have enough credits to meet an equivalent, you can make a choice to work towards completing the rest with a competency demonstration, or continue with education to finish the next certificate or degree that is a good next step for you personally.
  4. If you don’t know the best steps for you to meet your education requirement, ask! Email merit@dcyf.wa.gov  

If you know you need more education, begin looking at:

  1. The ECE Career Portal to find colleges to meet your need and contact a college of choice
  2. The list of courses within the ECE Stackable Certificates to see if you might have the similar knowledge and skills as the named credential for your role.
    1. If you do think you have this existing knowledge, you can wait a bit. Summer 2019 DCYF will have enough information to tell you more about how to apply so that your knowledge and skill may be considered.

Stay connected with additional information about career planning and scholarships on DCYF’s website here: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/earlylearning-profdev/early-learning-provider/college

WAC 110-300-0100

All roles have 5 years, or more. Early learning providers who are within their timeline will be considered in compliance.

For more information on how to meet the education requirement, see question, “how do I get started in meeting my education requirements?”

What about Center Directors?
DCYF received a directive in April, 2019 that gives all existing center roles 5 years to meet the education requirement. Please keep this in mind as we work to update the existing resources that show a previous timeline.

Remember:

  •  For Centers, only one role needs to have an ECE Certificate or equivalent across the leadership positions in a center (if a program has a director, assistant director, and program supervisor, only one needs an ECE Certificate or equivalent).
  • Lead Teachers Have 5 years to reach their next milestone. Depending on your education history, that could be an initial certificate (3 classes) or a short certificate (2 classes). Within a 7-year period, they will have earned the short certificate or equivalent.
WAC 110-300-0100

The timeline for meeting education requirements is cumulative. If a provider goes to work at another program, the timeline will continue as builds on the time already passed. It does not restart. If a provider leaves the field and comes back, the time away from the field is not calculated. Upon their return, it will continue from where it left off.

The way we will implement this is based on employment records in MERIT. It is important to keep your employment records up to date, especially when you leave a program.

WAC 110-300-0105

Yes, MERIT is the Electronic Workforce Registry named in WAC 110-300. Information related to the individual is located in MERIT – this includes information such as training completion, education, employment verification, background checks, and TB Test results.

WAC 110-300-0105

Roles that are in charge of the program 50% or more of the time must complete licensing orientation.

The following roles have the ability to be responsible for the program 50% or more of the time: applicants, co-applicants, family home licensees, center directors, assistant directors, and program supervisors, and family home lead teachers who meet the requirements of a licensee. Those newly promoted or assuming a role of one of the roles listed here must complete or be registered in orientation training.

Orientation will be available at www.dcyftraining.com starting in summer 2019. Orientation will be available online in English, Spanish, and Somali.

WAC 110-300-0105

As an existing employee with a TB test, you need to have proof of a negative TB test on-site. As a new employee, family home member over 14 or volunteer, you have to get a TB test before you can be on-site at the program.

If you have already had a TB test in the past 12 months, and have not been exposed, that proof can be accepted and needs to be on file with the early learning program. If you have had a positive TB test, a current negative chest radiograph and documentation of clearance to safely work or reside in an early learning program is required.

Keep in mind, upon notification of TB exposure, early learning providers may be required to be retested for TB as directed by the local health jurisdiction.

WAC 110-300-0106

Training completed with a state-approved trainer will be entered into MERIT within 30 days of completion.

All health and safety training requirements, such as CPR/First Aid, TB, Food Worker card, etc. is self-entered in MERIT. Once you complete a required health and safety training, you should promptly add that into MERIT.

After you record your own health and safety training, your employer must look at your certificate and verify that they reviewed it. This means logging into MERIT and “verifying” it in MERIT. If you are the center director or family home licensee, your licensor will review your certificate on the next visit and verify that for you in MERIT. Until a document is verified, it will appear as “self-entered” in MERIT.

WAC 110-300-0106

Online trainings that are offered on www.dcyftraining.com must be completed individually. These certificates are awarded to the individual signed in, therefore, not everyone would receive credit. An option is to complete them together is using a computer lab where everyone can log into their own computer.

In-person trainings that are offered by a state-approved trainer can be completed in a group setting.

WAC 110-300-0106

Blood borne pathogens must be completed by early learning providers who directly cares for children, and as required by the Department of Labor and Industries. This training can be completed in the community through trainings that meet the regulations outlined by Washington state Department of Labor and Industries. For example, this is often available as a bundle with CPR and First Aid training.

WAC 110-300-0106

Child Care Basics is the Initial Training Requirement that must be completed prior to being granted a license for a licensee, prior to working unsupervised, or within 3 months of hire, or 3 months from the date this rule becomes effective if you are an existing employee.

Child Care Basics includes topics such as:

  • Emergency preparedness training
  • Identifying shaken baby syndrome/abuse head trauma training
  • Serving children experiencing homelessness training
  • Medication management and administration training

Do Volunteers need to do Child Care Basics?

If you are an “ongoing volunteer” and will count in ratio, you will complete Health and Safety trainings. These can be found on the training portal, or you can choose to complete Child Care Basics, which includes these topics. See the Foundational Quality Standards Guidebook page 30 for more information.

Remember:

  • If you have already met your initial training requirement, or completed the 20 hours when that was the rule and your training has been recorded in MERIT, you do not need to complete Child Care Basics again.
  • If you completed the 20-hour certificate when that was required and it was never entered into MERIT, we can no longer authenticate it and we know the 20-hour curriculum did not include all of the federally required health and safety training topics of today. You will need to either take Child Care Basics again, or complete the ECED&107 Health, Safety and Nutrition course.

You can reference the Child Health and Safety Supplemental Guide to learn more about the Health and Safety topics that were added into Child Care Basics in the latest update.

What if I complete the Initial Certificate?

If you choose to complete the college course ECED&107 Health, Safety and Nutrition, which is part of the Initial Certificate, and you can complete that within the timeframe allowed for your position to finish the Health and Safety training requirements, that will count in place of Child Care Basics. All content of Child Care Basics is offered in this course.

WAC 110-300-0106

Child Restraint Training is a training that is required only if this is a practice that you use in your early learning program. Child restraint is a practice of physically holding a child who does not want to be held in order to calm a child or prevent behavior that could harm their self or others. Prior to restraint, an early learning providers must complete child restraint training. This training is renewed annually, and although DCYF needs to approve the training being used, we will not be providing the training.

If child restraint is not a part of your program philosophy, you must have a written policy stating that nobody in your program will restrain a child for any reason.

DCYF is reviewing trainings that are currently offered by outside organizations. More information will be available soon for programs who may use this practice and require this training for physical restraint of a child.

WAC 110-300-0106

Early learning providers who prepare or serve food in the early learning program must obtain a food worker card. This includes the cook, as well as teachers and support staff who serve meals. If the family provides the food, you are still serving it to the children and must have a food worker card. This training can be completed in the community through trainings provided by the local health jurisdiction.

WAC 110-300-0106

Early learning programs that are licensed to care for infants must have all staff who have training requirements complete the safe sleep training as outlined in WAC 110-300-0106(8). This does not include other personnel.

For a family home licensee, this training must be completed prior to being licensed. For roles working directly with infants and toddlers, this must be completed before working directly with infants and toddlers. For other roles in the program, this must be completed within 3 months of hire. Safe sleep training must be completed annually. You can complete Safe Sleep training at www.dcyftraining.com.

WAC 110-300-0106

All health and safety training requirements, such as CPR/First Aid, TB, Food Worker card, etc. is self-entered in MERIT. Once you complete a required health and safety training, you should promptly add that into MERIT. Go to your Health & Safety Information in MERIT and click to add a new training.

After you record your own health and safety training, your employer must look at your certificate and verify that they reviewed it. This means logging into MERIT and “verifying” it in MERIT. If you are the center director or family home licensee, your licensor will review your certificate on the next visit and verify that for you in MERIT. Until a document is verified, it will appear as “self-entered” in MERIT.

WAC 110-300-0107

All early learning professionals except volunteers must complete 10 hours of in-service training annually. Hours are calculated using the departments fiscal year – July 1-June 30. If required training hours are not completed each year, this means a program is out of compliance with that rule.

In-service hours are met through:

  • A State-Approved trainer who records training completion in MERIT. These classes may be in-person training, online training, or distance/correspondence training.
  • A conference pre-approved in MERIT as in-service training hours
  • A Continuing Education Proposal
  • College coursework aligned with the core competencies and recorded and verified in MERIT

A maximum of 5 hours can be “carried over” each year, which would mean the following year would only require an additional five hours.

Child Care Basics meets your first year of required in-service training. Child Care Basics can’t be taken repeated times to meet in-service hours in future years. A minimum of one hour each year must be in health and safety topics to meet federal requirements.

WAC 110-300-0107

Seasonal workers need to complete 10 hours of in-service after 12 months of cumulative employment. Employment information is captured in MERIT, so it is critical to start and end date seasonal employment if you want the clock to pause for seasonal workers.

How this works for seasonal staff:
Twelve (12) months of cumulative employment is calculated by counting the months of employment over time, even if there are breaks in employment.

Example:
If someone works 3 months out of the year, it would take them 4 years to work a total of 12 months. If they continue to work for you each year, they would have an in-service requirement to be completed in year 5.

How this works for part time Aides:
If someone is filling in for appointments, they are likely an aide, meaning they count in ratio but under continuous supervision. If an aide works 20 hours or more per month in a licensed program, they need to complete 10 hours of in-service training each year. If they work 19 hours or less in a month, they do not need to meet in-service training requirements each year. They will need to meet any renewal health and safety training requirements as specified to be met annually.

Part time workers in any other role besides aide must complete 10 hours of in-service.

WAC 110-300-0107

The Enhancing Quality of Early Learning Training Series (EQEL) counts as the in-service training requirements for the first two years after completion of Child Care Basics. This training series builds upon the foundational knowledge and skills that were gained with Child Care Basics. The EQEL training series will only need to be completed once and will be offered online and in-person.

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Professional Development, Training and Requirements