Delaware First – also known as the Delaware First Professional Development System for Early Care and Education and School-Age Programs – is the online system used to certify early learning educators. Delaware requires all early learning educators to be certified by the state before working with children in early childcare or school-age care centers. Educators can receive the following certificates in Delaware:

  • Early Care and Education Certificate: Work with children from birth through pre-kindergarten in childcare settings. Requirements include training, age, education and experience.
  • School-Age Certificate: Work with children from kindergarten through age eight in school-age settings. Requirements include training, age, education and experience.

Delaware First makes the process of getting certified easy. Once educators meet the requirements for Delaware early care or school-age certification, they submit their documentation to Delaware First. Educators will then receive a certification for employment. Early learning professionals are encouraged to continue working and furthering their education in order to move to the next qualification level.

IMS Account Set-up

Get an early learning educator certification

Step 1. Review the certification requirements listed above

Step 2. Log into your IMS account and select the Delaware First icon

Step 3. Complete your profile, education, and professional development (PD) training

Step 4. Enter your experience – all parties must sign the Verification of Experience form to get credit for experience

Step 5. Upload all documents in .pdf format

Step 6. Submit your application – you may check the status of your qualification at any time

Step 7. Print certificate once issued

Please Note:

Applications must contain required documentation. Applications with missing documentation will be denied and applicants required to reapply.

All college transcripts must be official transcripts received directly from the college or university.

You can mail official, sealed transcripts to:

Delaware Department of Education
Attn: Delaware First
401 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901

or

Your college or university may email an electronic version of your official college transcript via a secure server to delawarefirst@doe.k12.de.us.

Additional Resources

  • Delaware First help: Get additional help to use the Delaware First system, including how to upload documents. Includes a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • International diplomas and transcripts: Find information on demonstrating proof of education and experience earned outside of the United States.