I'm an Early Learning Provider


Early learning professionals provide care and education to our state's littlest learners. There are various roles within early learning in Washington:

Family Home Child Care

Family Home Child Care Owner/Licensee is a person who obtains a license from the Department of Children, Youth and Families to offer ongoing care for one or more children in their own home. Other Family Home Child Care staff include lead teachers, assistants, aides, and volunteers.

Child Care Center

A Child Care Center Director/Owner is responsible for the overall management of the center's facility and operation and ensures that the center follows licensing requirements. Other Child Care Center staff include lead teachers, assistants, aides, and volunteers. 

Head Start & ECEAP

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program that provides free services and support to eligible children and their families.

The Early Childhood Education Assistance Program is Washington's state funded preschool program.


Washington uses the Early Care and Education and School Age Core Competencies to define what professionals need to know and be able to do when providing high quality care for children. These competencies are used in the creation of job postings, professional development plans, knowledge assessments and more. 

For a list of staff qualifications to meet WAC requirements, view General Staff Qualifications.

For a list of related credentials to meet staff qualifications, check out the Chart of Related Credentials.

For more information about roles and their qualifications in early childhood education, including Head Start and ECEAP, visit the Early Childhood Education Career Planning Portal


Early learning child care providers are responsible for completing trainings both before they provide care and during their career. 

Training Requirements:
Find Training
  • Search DCYF’s list of online training
  • Find in-person training by logging into MERIT and clicking the “Find Training” tab.
  • If you are a Licensed-Exempt (FFN Providers) or Family Home Provider serving children receiving subsidy, contact the Imagine Institute to learn about meeting your training requirements and register for training.

To find resources to accompany trainings, visit the professional development online training library