EEC Professional Qualifications Certification eligibility requirements

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) offers Professional Qualifications certification for certain positions in EEC-licensed group child care programs.

What are the types of EEC Professional Qualifications Certification?

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) offers certification for six (6) types of professional qualifications: 

  • Infant-toddler Teacher 
  • Infant-toddler Lead Teacher 
  • Director I
  • Director II 
  • Preschool Teacher 
  • Preschool Lead Teacher 

Additional Resources for What are the types of EEC Professional Qualifications Certification?

What you need to apply

In order to be eligible for EEC Professional Qualifications Certification you must be working or planning to work in a child care program in Massachusetts. To apply, you will need:

  • Your official college transcript and a copy of your degree if it’s not on your official transcript.
  • A copy of your high school diploma or G.E.D. if you are applying for Teacher position or if you are under 21 years old.
  • Work Verification Forms verifying work experiences by a supervising EEC Lead Teacher or Director. You can’t verify your own experience or change the signed forms.
  • A copy of your license if you hold a PreK-Grade 3 License from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE).
  • Your original Child Development Associate (CDA), Montessori Certificate, or Early Intervention Specialist Certificate (Department of Public Health).
  • Your original course certificates that show that the training is approved for continuing education units (CEUs). PDPs or workshop attendance verification are not substitutes for CEUs and won’t be accepted.

Your official transcript, the copy of your degree, or the copy of your diploma must show the date that you got your degree. We will return all original certificates. Please keep a copy of your complete application packet for your records. 

Additional Resources for What you need to apply

What you need to qualify as an infant-toddler or preschool Teacher

Education requirements:

  • You must have a high school diploma if you are under 21 years old.
  • You must have completed a 3-credit college course (from an accredited college) in Child Growth and Development.  

Other courses may substitute for Child Growth and Development. You can view the Professional Qualifications Course Catalog to determine if they align with the requirements. Please send your course description and transcript to us if you think the course fulfills the requirement.

If you do not meet the course requirement, you can substitute it with a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) or:

  • An approved 2-year high school child care program in Massachusetts (must have graduated after 1989).
  • A recommendation letter from the high school program director (the recommendation letter must include total hours of class room experience and age group).
  • A copy of your high school diploma and transcript.

Work experience requirements:

  • You must have 9 months of supervised work experience
  • To qualify for both infant-toddler and preschool Teacher you must have at least 3 months of work experience with each age group or a supervised practicum (where college credit was earned) with the appropriate age group.

Work experience in a mixed toddler/preschool group counts towards both infant-toddler and preschool certification. A practicum substitutes for 9 months of work experience. You must have an official transcript from the practicum and a practicum verification form signed by your college supervisor.

How the length of work experience is calculated:

  • 50 hours of consistent work (12 hours/week for 4 weeks with one group of children) at a program counts as 1 month of work experience.
  • A “permanent” substitute position at a child care center counts as work experience (occasional substitute teaching doesn’t count).

If you don’t meet the work experience requirements, you can substitute them with:

  • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field (counts as 6 months of work experience).
  • A bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field (counts as 3 months of work experience).
  • 1 CEU (10 hours of instruction) from Child Care Education Institute in Infant and Toddler Development or Care and/or Program Planning (may count as 3 months of required work experience for an Infant-Toddler Teacher application).

What you need to qualify as an infant-toddler or preschool Lead Teacher

Education requirements (Infant-toddler):

  • 3 college credits in Child Growth and Development
  • 3 college credits in infant-toddler care and education
  • 6 other college credits in early childhood education except Child Care Administration (see Study of Early Childhood Education Categories)

Education requirements (preschool):

  • 3 college credits in Child Growth and Development
  • 3 college credits in early childhood curriculum, program planning, or behavior management
  • 6 other college credits in early childhood education except Child Care Administration (see Study of Early Childhood Education Categories)

If you want to apply for both the Infant-toddler and Preschool Lead teacher certifications, you have to take 3 college credits in infant-toddler care and education and early childhood curriculum, program planning, or behavior management.

If you do not meet the education requirements, you can substitute them:

  • A CDA certification is a substitute for the education requirements for infant-toddler or preschool Lead Teacher.
  • Up to 4 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) may substitute for one 3-credit college course.
  • An original Montessori Certificate with a transcript that shows your completion of Child Growth and Development courses may substitute for some education requirements. EEC will evaluate your transcript and determine if the courses can qualify for substitution. You will also need proof of at least 250 contact hours for academic phase, 64 contact hours for seminars and 720 contact hours practicum.
  • A PreK-3 Certification for Children with Special Needs can substitute for the education requirements for a preschool Lead Teacher.

Work Experience Requirements:

The number of months of experience is determined by the degree that you hold. You need:

  • 36 months of experience if you have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • 27 months of experience if you have a Certificate such as a CDA, community college, or Montessori credential
  • 18 months of experience if you have an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field
  • 27 months of experience if you have an associate's degree in an unrelated field
  • 18 months of experience if you have a bachelor's or advanced degree in an unrelated field
  • 9 months of experience if you have a bachelor's or advanced degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field

If you do not meet your work experience requirements, you can substitute it with: a practicum, also called "student teaching".

A pre-practicum, also called "field work", is not considered a full student teaching experience and does not count towards work experience.

What you need to qualify as a Director I or II

Director I education requirements:

You need to meet all the education requirements for a Lead Teacher and:

  • An additional 2 college credits or 3 CEUs in Child Care Administration (category 13)
  • An additional 2 college credits or 3 CEUs in Early Childhood Education in a category of study other than Child Care Administration

Director II education requirements:

You need to meet all of the Director I education requirements and:

  • An additional 2 college credits or 3 CEU’s in other administration topics (category 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12)

You can view study of early childhood education categories or course catalog to see category details.  

Director I and Director II work experience requirements:

You need 6 months of work experience as a Lead Teacher.

Study of Early Childhood Education Categories

These EEC’s categories of study for educators are:

  • Category of Study 1: Child Growth and Development, Birth – Eight Years
  • Category of Study 2: Planning Programs and Environments for Young Children
  • Category of Study 3: Curriculum for Early Childhood Settings
  • Category of Study 4: Child and Classroom Management
  • Category of Study 5: Advanced or Specialized Early Childhood Education or Development
  • Category of Study 6: Children with Special Needs, Birth – Sixteen Years
  • Category of Study 7: Infant and Toddler Development, Care, and Program Planning
  • Category of Study 8: Health and Safety in Early Childhood
  • Category of Study 9: Families and Community
  • Category of Study 10: Child Care Policy
  • Category of Study 11: Supervision or Staff Development in Early Childhood Education
  • Category of Study 12: Child Observation, Documentation, and Assessment
  • Category of Study 13: Child Care Administration

To learn more about courses offered in different categories please view EEC's Categories of Study Content Guidance.  To learn more about the institutions that provide courses or programs for early education and care, please view EEC's Course Catalog.

Additional Resources for Study of Early Childhood Education Categories

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