EEC aims to support educators in pursuing meaningful qualifications and ongoing professional development to build their knowledge and skills working with children. We know well-prepared, well-supported educators are vital to ensure all children served in EEC-licensed programs receive high-quality education and care.
On August 31, 2021, the Board of Early Education and Care put in place Emergency Regulations that allowed the Department of Early Education and Care to identify flexibilities that will help the child care sector address the severe workforce shortage. In direct response to feedback from EEC providers, educators, parents, and the EEC field more broadly, the Minimum Hiring Requirements are designed to support programs in streamlining hiring criteria and provide accelerated pathways for new teachers to enter the field. Effective December 6, 2021, this policy:
- Eliminates the Teacher Qualification verification process for prospective candidates Group and School-Age (GSA) programs are trying to hire in order to overcome the backlog of the current paper-driven process
- Provides increased flexibility for GSA and center-based programs to confirm qualifications at the site level and recruit candidates more quickly by allowing some coursework to be done after hire
- Broadens the types of EEC-permitted educator preparation programs and certificates to allow recruitment of candidates from a broader set of backgrounds
- Updates the prior work experience criteria to allow for activities where a candidate may have demonstrated competency for the role they are pursuing
The Minimum Hiring Requirements for Educators is one of EEC’s critical strategies to address the workforce challenge and to recruit new educators to this important sector. They are designed to empower program leaders to recruit interested candidates and to support them to start on a pathway to beginning a career in early education and care. While maintaining the high standards of quality for all teachers, EEC has worked to develop an expedited on-ramp for those interested in working in early education for the first time.
EEC will provide technical assistance, consultation, and support to program directors through the implementation of this policy.
Note: This revised policy applies to Group and School-Age programs, including Out-of-School-Time Programs (OST).
Revised Educator Qualification Policies
Group and School-Age Policy - These new policies are designed to be used by hiring managers when evaluating the qualifications of educators.
- Minimum Hiring Requirement Policies for Educators
- Minimum Hiring Requirement Policies for Educators - Spanish
- Minimum Hiring Requirement Policies for Educators - Portuguese
- Minimum Hiring Requirement Policies for Educators - Chinese
Protocols & Associated Resources
Group and School-Age Protocols - This new protocol should be used by hiring managers to track the qualifications of newly hired educators (as of 12/6/21). Programs will be supported in understanding, and implementing, these protocols for all new hires during their routine licensing and monitoring visits.
Revisions To Regular Family Child Care Assistant Process
In an effort to support FCC providers in identifying and hiring FCC Regular Assistants to expand capacity and increase support, EEC has streamlined the process for approving Regular FCC Assistants.
EEC has made modifications to its Regular FCC Assistant Application in LEAD to reduce the documentation necessary to submit an application.
- The Regular Assistant Application in LEAD has been significantly shortened to only require minimum information required for health and safety training and Background Record Checks. The FCC Licensee may elect to review additional qualifications, onsite for the applicant. Prospective Regular FCC Assistants can still access the application in LEAD as they currently do. Those Regular FCC Assistants already approved by EEC are not required to take additional action at this time. This revised process will only apply to new applicants and those seeking renewal.
- For the immediate future, EEC will continue to review and validate all LEAD applications for all FCC Assistants (both regular and certified) in order to maintain federal compliance. These shortened requirements significantly improve review timelines and responses. All FCC Assistants will continue to be required to meet Background Record Check suitability prior to beginning employment, as part of the application process.
Help & Technical Assistance
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The Teacher Qualifications Unit will hold twice-weekly virtual office hours for EEC providers to ask questions and receive support in implementing the Revised Educator Qualifications Policy.
Office hours will be hosted on Zoom on Tuesdays at 2:00 pm and Thursdays at 10:00 am beginning 12/6/21. Upon registering for the Office Hours, attendees will be asked to submit their questions in advance of the session. This will ensure TQ staff are prepared to answer questions and support resolution on hiring determinations at the program level. The registration links for these Office Hours can be accessed on EEC’s Strategic Plan Portal.
Background Record Checks
While meeting experience and education requirements may qualify a person for a particular position, the results of EEC Background Record Checks will determine their suitability for employment. Learn more to ensure compliance with EEC Background Record Check requirements.
Categories of Study
The EEC Categories of Study are the topic areas included in the educational requirements for educators and staff working in early childhood or Out-of-School-Time settings. To learn more about the content that is expected to be taught in a course within a specific category, see Categories of Study Content Guidance.
Child Development Associate (CDA)
The CDA credential is a national credentialing program for early educators at all levels of education and experience. The CDA program assesses candidates using multiple sources of evidence, including an exam, observation, and professional portfolio. To learn more about the CDA program and how to apply, visit Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
Individualized Professional Development Plan (IPDP)
The Individualized Professional Development Plan (IPDP) serves as a tool for program leaders to support their educators in identifying goals and action steps related to their professional growth and development.
Professional Qualifications Registry (PQR)
The EEC PQR gathers important information about the education and experience of educators working in early education and Out-of-School-Time. This information will help EEC to provide training and education opportunities that respond to the needs of all educators and programs in Massachusetts. Educators working in programs serving children from birth through school age, regardless of setting, must create an individual educator profile in the PQ Registry. For more information about the PQR or to create a PQR account, visit the Professional Qualifications Registry.
StrongStart Online Professional Development System (PDS)
EEC’s StrongStart Online Professional Development System provides resources, trainings, and technical assistance for educators and administrators to enhance quality in their programs and support individual educator success, including mandatory training for early education and care program staff like the EEC Essentials Trainings. The EEC Essentials Trainings are intended to provide all individuals working with children in licensed and approved child care programs with foundational knowledge pertaining to health, safety, and child development topics, thereby creating a common base of understanding among early education and care providers in child care programs. To learn more about the StrongStart Online PDS, including information about the EEC Essentials Trainings and who is required to complete them, visit EEC's StrongStart Online Professional Development System.
Individuals who have completed their education outside of the U.S. may find a credential evaluation service helpful to evaluate a foreign degree, diploma, and certificate. Examples of Agencies that Provide Credential Evaluation Services