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

Individuals interacting with children who are not employees fit the role of volunteer. If these individuals are not counted in ratio they do not need to complete the volunteer training. If these individuals will be alone with a child or children, the parent would need to authorize this and the child(ren) would be signed out and back in by that individual just as you currently do now. Examples: 1. a gymnastics teacher comes to offer classes for families who pay additional money for this service and a teacher is always with them: if they are in ratio, they must complete the required health and safety training requirements. if they are not in ratio, they do not need to complete the training 2. a therapist hired by the parent works 1:1 with a child at the child care: This person is not alone with the child so they fit the volunteer role and are not in ratio so do not need to complete the health and safety training. 3. a social worker picks up a child for a family visit and brings them back: this is the same as it is now, the social worker will sign the child out and back in as authorized by the family.

WAC 110-300-0100

The professional development plan will be availble in MERIT by August 2020 for licensors to view early learning providers documentation of annual progress. A template will be available in Fall 2019 for providers who want to use it to begin making their plan now.

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WAC 110-300-0100(7)

Continuous oversight is auditory and visual supervision, within the same licensed space as the aide’s responsibility. The supervisor (lead teacher) can't be supervising more than one licensed space at one time.

WAC 110-300-0100

There are multiple ways to meet your education requirements. These include: you have or are working on the named credential, or you have or are working on an equivalent. An equivalent can be an alternative credential or demonstration of competency.

  1. Named Credential
    You can read about the Washington State ECE stackable certificates (Initial, Short or State Certificate) and connect with the community of college in your area to complete a certificate by visiting the Career Planning Portal.
  2. Equivalents
    An equivalent may either be an alternative credential or a demonstration of competency:
    1. Alternative Education Credentials
      The Chart of Related Credentials outlines other education, certificates, or credentials that can meet the education requirements for staff qualifications which includes related degrees and aligned college credits. This chart can be found on pages 33-34 of the Foundational Quality Standards Guidebook.

      Community Based Model – In addition to these existing equivalents, DCYF is partnering with the Imagine Institute, Child Care Aware of Washington and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges to develop a community-based series to meet staff education requirements for an ECE Initial Certificate or ECE Short Certificate. More information on this option will be available as it is developed, and DCYF will need to pursue funding to before this is made available.
    2. Demonstration of Knowledge and Skill
      NEW - Experience Based Competency Demonstration
      Existing early learning providers can use their experience to meet staff education requirements for an ECE Initial Certificate or ECE Short Certificate. Eligible candidates must meet all criteria as outlined in a letter from DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter.
      DCYF will have a request form in MERIT soon to indicate this option.
      Remember:
      MERIT will have a way to display when a person's education requirement is met. This is under development, watch for it soon!  Up to date information will be available on the Professional Development page.
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.

See Chart of Related Credentials

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

A Governor's Directive states that new center directors (assistant directors, and program supervisors) also have five years to complete their education requirement.

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

If you already have your initial certificate, or once you complete your initial certificate - even if it is in less time than the allotted five years - you will have two more years to complete your short certificate.

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 110-300-0100

To have your education reviewed and verified to meet your education requirement, you will need to submit an education application in MERIT - the electronic workforce registry. All education towards stackable certificates, related degrees, or courses aligned with the Core Competencies will be counted towards meeting your education requirement. There are three types of education applications in MERIT. Be sure you select the correct one by reviewing this help sheet: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/Complete_your_Education_Application_in_MERIT.pdf

WAC 110-300-0100

Licensors will be looking for documented progress annually starting in August 2020.  It has always been the case that providers with special circumstances may apply for exceptions to parts of our licensing rules. See the Foundational Quality Standards Guide (page 27) to learn more.

WAC 110-300-0100

There are several funding options available for education, your best next step is to contact the Point of Contact at your local college. Colleges have a variety of funding sources to help students, and the Early Achievers Grant is only one of them. Other options may include Worker Retraining Progarm, state or federal financial aid, Washington College Grant, and more. To find your Point of Contact you can search the Career Planning Portal.

WAC 110-300-0100

Visit the Career Planning Portal to find out what options are available for you in languages other than English. Programs are developed when there is an understanding of interest in the field. If you know the college you wish to attend - speak to the point of contact listed for ECE programs and let them know your need.

WAC 110-300-0100

All staff have at least 5 years to meet their education requirement. When hiring, you determine how to select the best person for the role. Employees can submit their education applications to have verified in the electronic workforce registry - MERIT. If they have not already met the education requirement, they can begin working towards this within the 5 year timeline.

WAC 110-300-0100

For new center directors, assistant directors, and program supervisors, they will be required to have the education requirements that are currently outlined in WAC.

Based on the number of children the facility is licensed for, these individuals will be required to have:

10 ECE Credits if they are licensed for 12 or less children
25 ECE Credits if they are licensed for 13-24 children
45 ECE Credits if they are licensed for 25 or more children

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.

If you have completed licensing orientation prior to August 1, 2019 for your program, you do not need to complete licensing orientation again. Those who are opening new sites or are hired into a new position that requires the completion of licensing orientation will need to complete licensing orientation.

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 is also often referred to as '30 hour STARS training' or 'Initial STARS class'.

Child Care Basics is offered by State-Approved Trainers. Child Care Basics can be completed at no cost through Imagine Institute and Child Care Aware of Washington. If you pay for the training, you can submit a training reimbursement application through MERIT. Each person is able to submit one application each fiscal year to receive up to $250 back as funding allows.

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, whether you have an education exemption, or completed the 20 hours (also known as Building Blocks) 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.
  • Child Care Basics will meet your in-service training hours for the first year.
  • Education exemptions will no longer apply as of August 1, 2019. In addition, certificates older than 7 years will no longer be accepted. New employees must complete Child Care Basics or ECED&107, Health, Safety, and Nutrition.

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

Currently, there is no department approved child restraint training. DCYF is working to remedy the situation. As of October 1, 2019, until a restraint training is approved or offered by the Department, no early learning provider will be determined out of compliance with this WAC requirement. An early learning provider should contact their licensor with any questions.

Once physical restraint training has been approved or offered by the Department it must be completed annually and prior to using physical restraint.

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 110-300-0106 or 7

Online training is available in English and Spanish - and in some cases, Somali. DCYF works with contractors to also deliver in-person training in other languages or provide interpreters. You can search MERIT for available training in your langauge by selecting an advanced options. If you need assistance finding options in your language, contact the professional development team at training@dcyf.wa.gov

WAC 110-300-0106

Trainings must be completed prior to be granted an initial license. New hires must complete them within three months of hire. Additional requirements include:

  • Child Care Basics – prior to working alone with children
  • First Aid CPR – prior to working alone with children
  • Child Restraint – prior to restraining a child
  • Safe Sleep – prior to caring for infants
  • Medication management – prior to administering medication
  • Food worker card – prior to preparing or serving food
  • Blood borne pathogens – prior to working with children
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 - this is an application in MERIT completed by the provider for training completed that is not by a state-approved trainer. For example - OSPI clock hours that align with the Core Competencies for Early Learning and Care Professionals can be submitted this way to meet in-service hours.
  • College coursework aligned with the core competencies and recorded and verified in MERIT

How do I pay for my in-service training hours? DCYF contracts with Child Care Aware and the Imagine Institute to offer some of their in-service training at no cost. For all other options that require a cost, early learning providers may submit for training reimbursement in MERIT.  Each person is able to submit one application each fiscal year to receive up to $250 back as funding allows.

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) is only required for new family home licensees or newly hired center directors, assistant directors, program supervisors, lead teachers and assistant teachers. The EQEL training must be completed within thirty six months of beginning the role of licensee or listed program staff. The EQEL series counts as the in-service training requirements for the first two years after completion of Child Care Basics. This 20 hour training series builds upon the foundational knowledge and skills that were gained with Child Care Basics. The EQEL training series will be offered through DCYF and only needs to be completed once. This training series will be offered beginning in Spring 2020. Available options will be listed in MERIT in ‘Find Training’.

WAC 110-300-0107

All family home licensees, directors, assistant directors, and program supervisors must complete a minimum of ten hours of in-service training on "child development" and a minimum of ten hours of in-service training on "leadership practices" every 36 months. Leadership practices includes: program planning and development, professional development, and leadership. It might be topics such as staff relationships and development, business practices, operations management, budgets and finance, or supervision and teambuilding. Child Development includes all other competency areas: child growth and development, curriculum and learning environment, ongoing measurement of child progress, family and community partnerships, health, safety, nutrition, and interactions.

What does the WAC mean by 10 hours every 36 months? This means that in 3 years a person in these roles will complete 30 hours of in-service training. 10 of those 30 hours in the 3 year period will need to be about Leadership Practices.

How will I be able to track this, and how will I know I am picking classes that meet this requirement? Individuals can search for training in MERIT and see the core competency area listed to select training based on the area of need. These are also indicated in the professional record in MERIT to track.

Best place to look for this information: The training chart describes this.

WAC 110-300-0120(3)

In 110-300-0120-subsection (4) The expectation is that proof of immunizations be provided during a communicable disease outbreak. A bill is in session currently related to childcare providers and immunizations and this may change the agency directive. Yes, employee and volunteer immunization records must be on-site (paper) or readily available (electronic) for DCYF to review during monitoring visits. HB 1638 was passed in the spring of 2019, and goes into effect July 28, 2019. This bill addresses the immunization records of center employees and volunteers. It states that centers “may not allow on the premises an employee or volunteer who has not provided the [program] with” immunization records. The bill also requires center early learning programs to “maintain [immunization records] in the person’s personnel record maintained by the [program].” Additionally, WAC 110-300-0115(2) requires early learning providers to have and maintain staff records, including immunization records. WAC 110-300-0120(3) states that a staff person who has not been vaccinated or shown proof of immunity to a contagious disease may be required to remain off-site during an outbreak of a contagious disease. Thus, it is reasonable to believe early learning directors would use staff vaccination records to determine who must remain off-site during an outbreak of a contagious disease.

Categories
Professional Development, Training and Requirements