Training Requirements

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

Use this as a summary document for training and in-service training requirements for all roles:

Pre-Service Requirements

Licensing orientation is the only pre-service requirement related to training:

Training Requirements

Training requirements include Child Care Basics (CCB) and the federally required Health and Safety trainings. These trainings must be completed before a provider can be left alone with children and are typically completed before hire or within 90 days of hire (WAC 110-300-0106).

CCB is the initial training to meet part of the health and safety requirements for providers working in licensed early learning programs. Included below are all of the various ways you can meet the CCB training requirement.

In response to COVID-19, DCYF is offering a temporary, condensed version of CCB for early learning professionals working in licensed facilities. 

NOTE: This option will no longer be available after Dec. 31, 2021 and for those who select this option, you will need to complete the full CCB version during the 2022 calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2022).

  • The COVID-19 Temporary Health and Safety Training is available on the DCYF training site.
  • The training is available in English, Spanish, and Somali.
  • The training takes approximately three hours to complete.

DCYF offers online, no-cost CCB training.

How do I complete this training option?
  • Use the "Find Trainings" tab in MERIT to search for available trainings and register.
  • You must have a DCYF online training account before registering for this training.
  • After you have registered, the required training modules and discussions will be available in your online training account once the trainer has registered you.

Complete this training online or in-person with a state-approved trainer. Use the “Find Trainings” feature in MERIT to search for available trainings.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • The training will be recorded in MERIT by the state-approved trainer.
  • If your training is not recorded in your MERIT account within 30 days, email and provide a copy of your CCB certificate.

Complete this college course as a DCYF-recognized alternative to CCB. Use the Early Learning Career Planning Portal to find institutions offering this course near you.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Complete an education application in MERIT and submit supporting documents that show course completion to
  • For instructions on submitting an education application, see the "Education Verification" section above.
  • If you submitted an education application for this course before fall 2019 and the CCB requirement was not approved, email

Complete this college course as a DCYF-recognized alternative to CCB. Use the Early Learning Career Planning Portal to find institutions offering this course near you.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Complete an education application in MERIT and submit supporting documents that show course completion to
  • For instructions on submitting an education application, see the "Education Verification" section above.

To complete this option, you must have both eligible education and all five "Federal Health & Safety Training" modules verified in your MERIT record. This option aims to support individuals who have already completed their education but whose coursework did not include one of the alternative options listed above. Education eligible for this option includes:

  • 12 ECE or ECE/School-Age college quarter credits
  • 13 Military Modules Certificates of Completion
  • A current Child Development Associate (CDA)
  • Montessori Credential/Endorsement (MACTE)
How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?

DCYF has partnered with Head Start, ECEAP, and School Districts to recognize Health and Safety training content provided by the site or program as meeting state and federal requirements. To complete the CCB requirement through this option, speak with your site supervisor to see if they offer recognized training to staff.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Site supervisors are responsible for creating, attesting training plans to DCYF, and notifying the date of completion. For additional information, site supervisors can email

These federally required trainings must be completed within 90 days of hire or before being left unsupervised with children (WAC 110-300-0106). They must also be regularly renewed. They include:

  • Blood Borne Pathogens
  • CPR and First Aid
  • Food Handler Permit (if applicable)
  • Safe Sleep (if applicable)

The above trainings are not included in CCB.

Learn more about completing each training and their renewal periods:

These modules provide federally required training topics. These topics are included in CCB. If you have met the CCB requirement, you have already fulfilled this federal requirement.

  • Recognizing and Reporting Abuse
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Serving Children Experiencing Homelessness
  • Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome (if applicable)
  • Medication Management

Learn more about completing each training:

In-Service Training

An early learning provider with at least 12 months of cumulative employment must complete 10 hours of annual in-service training (WAC 110-300-0107). 

  • In-service hours are monitored by calendar year (January – December).
  • Five In-Service training hours may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year (July – June). At this time, this carry-over is not captured in MERIT. To complete this option, please contact your licensor.
  • “STARS hours” or “state-approved training” are other phrases commonly used when referring to in-service training.

Options for Completing Annual In-Service Training Hours

Use the "Find Trainings" feature in MERIT to search for state-approved trainings. Trainings are recorded in MERIT by the state-approved trainer. If your MERIT record does not reflect your completed training after 30-business days, email

For learning experiences completed through non-state-approved training, such as attending out-of-state conferences, you may submit a Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) application to request annual in-service training hours. Additional information on this option is included in the "Continuing Education Proposal" section below.

To receive annual In-Service training hours for college coursework related to the WA State Core Competencies for Early Care and Education or School-Age Professionals, complete the college "Coursework" section of an Education Application in MERIT and submit copies of unofficial transcripts Up to three courses only may be submitted per calendar year. All courses must have been completed within the past three years. 1 college quarter credit = 10 in-service training hours.

Enhancing Quality of Early Learning (EQEL) is a 20-hour training series completed over two years. It is broken down into 10 hours each year and fulfills in-service requirements for that year.

  • EQEL will meet annual in-service hours after CCB is completed.
  • EQEL will build on content learned in CCB.
  • Year 1 has two modules that are five hours each.
  • Year 2 has two modules that are five hours each.

The EQEL training series consists of 20 in-service training hours completed over two years for those hired or promoted to a role that requires this training after Aug. 1, 2019. The following roles require EQEL training:

  • Assistant Teachers
  • Lead Teachers
  • Family Home Licensees
  • Assistant Directors
  • Program Supervisors
  • Center Directors
  • WA ECE Short Certificate
  • WA ECE State Certificate
  • Associate degree in ECE or higher
  • DCYF-recognized education/credential equivalents for Washington State ECE Short Certificate or higher*
  • Head Start, ECEAP, and school district partnerships

*Note: See the Equivalent Options for Education guide for a list of education/credential equivalent examples. The community-based training and experience-based competency equivalent options are not eligible alternatives for meeting EQEL.

Following the completion of EQEL, the following roles are required to complete 10 hours of training in Leadership Practices every three years:

  • Family Home Licensees
  • Assistant Directors
  • Program Supervisors
  • Center Directors

Complete trainings in any of the following Washington State Core Competencies areas to fulfill this requirement:

  • Program planning and development
  • Professional development and leadership

Training Resources

The MERIT Workforce Registry is the official system of record for early learning professionals in Washington State. All trainings must be recorded in MERIT. 

Helpful resources and step-by-step instructions for MERIT and the DCYF training site are included below. Additional information is also available on the MERIT Support webpage.

Use any of the following methods to find state-approved trainings for annual in-service hours or to complete required trainings:


Use the "Find Trainings" feature in MERIT to search for in-person, self-paced, and online state-approved trainings.

DCYF Training Site

Use the DCYF training site to complete some of the required trainings for your role online. There you can find training like Safe Sleep, Mandated Reporter, and more.

Additional Organizations

Check the training calendars of these training organizations that are contracted with DCYF:

Some trainings, including the federally required health and safety training modules, can be found on the DCYF Online Training site.

  1. Go to the DCYF training site.
  2. Select the "Sign Up" option.
  3. Fill out the required fields.
    1. You must have a STARS ID number.
    2. Your name must match what is listed in MERIT. If you need to change your name in MERIT, email
  4. Create a password.
  5. Select "Proceed to Your Training" to view the training catalog.
  1. Log in to your training account.
  2. Select "My Account."
  3. Select "Job Role" type.
    1. If you need to update your program type use the drop down menu.
  4. Select "Submit" to save changes.
  • To retrieve login information, use the “Forgot your username or password” link on the DCYF training login page. 
    Check your spam/junk mail folder if you do not immediately see the email in your inbox. If you do not receive the email with your login information, email
  • To update your password, complete the following steps:
    1. Log in to your training account.
    2. Select "My Account."
    3. Enter new password in the "Password" field.
    4. Confirm password.
    5. Select "Submit" to save changes.

The DCYF training site will automatically record your completed training in your MERIT Workforce Registry record as long as the personal identification information in both systems match.

If your completed training is not recorded in your MERIT Professional Record, email

The Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) application allows you to request annual in-service training hours for a learning opportunity not connected to a state-approved training. You may complete a CEP application for the following types of professional learning experiences:

In-person or online training. Examples may include:
  • Community-based trainings (i.e., training offered by a hospital, Chamber of Commerce, or local library)
  • Online webinar or self-paced course
  • Training series (a training that occurred over a period of time)
  • In-state events that are not already approved for in-service hours
  • Out-of-state events
You are eligible to submit your learning experience if it meets the following criteria: 
  1. You completed the learning experience within the last 12 months.
  2. The learning experience covers topics in the Washington State Core Competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  3. You applied what you learned to your work.
  4. The learning experience was at least one hour long.
CEP Application Instructions
  • Official description of the training: handouts, brochure, link to specific training.
  • Proof of attendance. Must include: title of training, number of hours/credits earned, date of training, your name, name of trainer or organization.
  1. Login to MERIT.
  2. Select the Continuing Education Proposal application in the "My Applications" tab.
  3. Review information included in the “Continuing Education Proposal,” “Personal Info,” and “Employment” sections. Select "Next" after each page.
  4. Complete the "Training Information" section:
    • Select the Training Type: Class or Conference.
    • Make sure the training title, start date, and end date match your supporting documents.
    • Provide detailed responses to each section to help us understand what you learned, how it relates to your work, and how you plan to apply this information in your position. Each response must be a minimum of 200 words.
    • Complete "Organization Details" section.
  5. Review and submit.

Submit copies of supporting documents to within 30 days. The application will automatically withdraw if supporting documents are not received within 30 days. We may follow up with you if more information is needed.

DCYF offers reimbursement for state-approved training costs for professionals currently employed in a licensed facility. You may apply for a training reimbursement only once per DCYF fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) up to $250 while funding is available.

Child Care Center

  • Center Director
  • Center Assistant Director
  • Center Program Supervisor
  • Center Lead Teacher
  • Center Assistant Teacher
  • Center Aide

Family Home Child Care

  • Family Home Owner
  • Family Home Lead Teacher
  • Family Home Assistant Teacher
  • Family Home Aide

School-Age Program

  • School-Age Program Director
  • School-Age Assistant Director
  • School-Age Site Coordinator
  • School-Age Lead Staff or Group Leader
  • School-Age Child Care Assistant
Step 1: Verify information in your MERIT Professional Record.
  1. Login to MERIT.
  2. Select the subtab for "Professional Record."
  3. Confirm state-approved training is listed in the Annual Continuing Education Training section of your professional record.  
  4. Confirm you have current employment in an eligible job role with a confirmed or verified status listed in the employment section of your MERIT professional record.
Step 2: Complete a Training Reimbursement Application.
  1. In MERIT, select "My Applications" tab.
  2. Select "Training Reimbursement."
  3. Follow the steps to complete and submit the application.
Step 3: Verify an active Statewide Vendor (SWV) number is listed in your MERIT record.

A conference/special event application is designed to give organizations, practitioners, or individuals the option to provide in-service training hours. This option must be pre-approved.

Conference/Special Event Application Instructions

Step 1: Verify your training is eligible for in-service training hours.

  • Ensure the training aligns with the Washington State Core Competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  • Ensure the training has defined learning objectives and allows participants to engage with other trainees and apply what is learned. 

Step 2: Gather your information and supporting documents.

  • A description of the purpose of the conference or special event and the target audience (this can be in the form of a brochure, conference flyer, or agenda). Additional information may be requested.  

Step 3: Complete a Conference/Special Event application in MERIT.

  1. Login to MERIT.
  2. Select “My Applications” tab.
  3. Under the Professional Development and Training section, select “Conference/Special Event Application.”
  4. Select your event type and fill out the organization information, then select “Next.”
  5. Fill out the event information, then select “Next.”
  6. Fill out the session information, then select “Next.”
  7. Review and submit. 

Step 4: Submit copies of supporting documents to

  • The application and supporting documentation must be received at least 21 days before the training event to allow us time to review.
  • Incomplete applications automatically withdraw 30 days after the submission date.