Do you want to become an early childhood or school-age professional who supports children by working in a licensed child care center? Delaware offers many ways to earn certificates based on the type of position you want. See below for each position’s requirements.

Related: See requirements for becoming a child care professional in a school-age center.
Related: See college course list for qualifications for certification in a licensed early care and education center.


Early Childhood Intern

Performs direct child care functions and related duties under the supervision of an early childhood teacher and the direct observation of at least an early childhood assistant teacher or early childhood caregiver. This individual can be alone with children as specified in the regulations. Must meet one of the options below:

Option A: Must be at least 16 years of age and complete:
(1) Successful completion of at least three credits from a regionally accredited college or university  in either child development or early childhood education
or
(2) at least 15 clock hours of quality assured training in early care and education. Beginning January 1, 2023, these training hours must include Health and Safety Training for Child Care Professionals. No additional experience necessary.

Option B: Must be at least 15 years of age and currently attending:
(1) a vocational or technical high school’s three-year program in early childhood education
or
(2) a traditional high school’s career pathway program in early childhood with verification of enrollment. No additional experience necessary


Early Childhood Assistant Teacher

Performs direct child care functions and related duties and assists in the implementation of curriculum under the supervision of at least an early childhood teacher. May supervise early childhood interns, early childhood aides, volunteers, and substitutes.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age, and
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent recognized by the Delaware Department of Education, and
  • Have a minimum of six (6) months experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting, and
  • Must meet one of the options below:

Option A: TECE 1

Option B: Successful completion of a traditional high school early childhood career pathway

Option C: Successful completion of six college credits from a regionally accredited college or university with three in early childhood education and three credits in child development

NOTE: Supervised experience may be used to reduce the required experience by half.


Early Childhood Teacher

Performs direct child care functions and related duties under the supervision of an early childhood administrator. Is immediately responsible for the direct care, supervision, guidance, and education of children at a center. This person may develop the curriculum and implements the curriculum and daily activities for a group of children. May supervise early childhood assistant teachers, early childhood caregivers, early childhood interns, early childhood aides, volunteers, and substitutes.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age and
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent recognized by the Delaware Department of Education and
  • Meet one of the options below:

Option A: TECE 1 and TECE 2

Option B: Valid Child Development Associate (CDA) credential

Option C: Delaware Department of Labor’s child care worker apprenticeship program

Option D: Successful completion of nine college credits from a regionally accredited college or university of which three must be in early childhood education, three in child development, and three in early childhood positive behavior management

Option E: Successful completion of a vocational/technical high school three-year early childhood program

Option F: Montessori Infant and Toddler Full/Associate credential or Montessori Early Childhood Full/Associate credential from a MACTE approved training program

Option G: Bachelor’s degree or Associate’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, elementary special education, or child psychology with successful completion of six credits in child development or early childhood, and
1. Three months of supervised student teaching birth through second grade
or
2. Six months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

Option H: Bachelor’s degree or Associate’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in any area of study/major with successful completion of six credits in child development or early childhood, and

Six months of experience (to include 500 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting.

NOTE: Education options A-F also require a minimum of twelve (12) months experience (to include 1,000 hours) working with children birth through second grade in a group setting. Supervised experience may be used to reduce the required experience by half.


Early Childhood Administrator

Has direct responsibility for the center’s total program of services provided to children and their families, including administrative aspects whenever applicable. This person may develop and evaluate curriculum and monitors implementation of curriculum and daily activities for children or approves curriculum if developed by an early childhood teacher. Supervises all staff.

  • Must be at least 21 years of age, and
  • Have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university to include successful completion of fifteen credits in early childhood education with three credits from each of the following areas:
    • child development or developmental curriculum planning
    • environment and curriculum
    • social-emotional development
    • observation or assessment
    • early childhood elective
  • Must have a minimum of twelve months experience (to include 1,000 hours) experience working with children ages birth through second grade in a group setting.

Note: A currently certified school teacher who is certified to work with children birth through second grade meets the education and experience qualifications to be an early childhood administrator. Three months of supervised student teaching of children birth through second grade as part of a college or university program may substitute for six months of the required experience.