Education & Equivalents

Education Requirement in WAC

Outdoor nature-based child care providers must meet certain education for their role (ONB Touchstone Standard 0100). Providers have different options available based on the type of child care setting they work in. To know what education is required for your role, review or print the General Staff Qualifications Chart for Outdoor Nature-Based programs.

ECE Stackable Certificates

If your role lists required education, the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Stackable Certificates might be an option for you. Print out the Stackable Certificates guide.  

  • Stackable Certificates build on one another.
  • They lead into an associate degree in ECE and beyond.
  • They’re offered throughout the state and are available in-person and online. 


Equivalents are alternative ways to meet the education requirement in WAC. Currently, DCYF is reviewing equivalent options for outdoor nature-based child care programs. This information will be posted once available.


Providers hired before Aug. 1, 2019: House Bill 2556 extended the timeline for existing early learning providers until Aug. 1, 2026.

Providers hired after Aug. 1, 2019: All other child care provider roles have five years from their date of hire or promotion to meet the full education staff qualifications requirements.