How to Become a Certified Child Care Provider in Montana

Read for an overview of the options to become a certified child care provider in Montana. Get the facts on the certifications available, education requirements and salary expectations. Schools offering Child Care Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Montana Certified Child Care Provider: Overview

Professionals whose main responsibilities include providing care for children are known as child care providers. They may work for daycare centers, orphanages, schools, businesses or other childcare organizations. Though formal certification is not required in Montana, there are several certification options for professional child care providers. The table below is a summary of the certification options, education requirements, and salary expectations for Montana child care providers.

Education Required High school diploma required; bachelor's or advanced degree may be helpful
Areas of Study Early childhood education, child development or related
Key Skills Monitoring, active listening, coordination
Certification Not required; Child Development Associate (CDA) or Child Development Specialist could be helpful
Mean Annual Salary (2018) $22,380 (for childcare workers in Montana)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 7% growth (for all childcare workers nationwide)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Education Requirements for Child Care Providers in Montana?

While the state has no formal education requirements for child care workers, most child care employers and available certifications require a high school diploma or equivalent. It may also be useful to pursue advanced education in child care. Several accredited universities offer associate's, bachelor's and advanced degrees in early childhood education or child development. Advanced training is also available online for specific areas in childhood education such as asthma control. Gaining formal education credentials is a good way to signal your passion for early child care and advanced knowledge in the field.

What Are the Certification Options for Child Care Providers in the State?

The state does not require formal professional certification for workers, but nationwide and state-based certification options do exist. The Montana Early Childhood Project career path outlines ten professional development levels, and certifications are useful for career development/advancement.

The Child Care Development Specialist Certificate is available for Montana child care providers as part of the Montana Child Care Development Specialist Apprenticeship Program, which includes education credits at the college level and career mentorship. This program is designed for those who are starting out in the field and have limited professional experience. Another certification option is the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, a popular nationwide program for those with significant professional experience. .

What Are the Requirements for the Montana Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program?

To qualify for the nationally recognized Child Care Development specialist certification through the Montana Early Childhood Apprenticeship program, you must be at least 16 years of age and be employed in a child care-related role for at least 2,000 hours per year. You must also not qualify for Level 4 on the Montana Early Childhood Project career path, which means you must not have any other certification requiring 30 college credits or more. As part of the certification program, you are required to complete 24 early childhood education college credits.

What Are the Requirements for the Child Development Associate Credential?

The Child Development Associate credential, available from the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition, is designed for those with a high school diploma, at least 480 hours of experience working with children, and a minimum of 120 hours of formal child care education. The formal education requirement is divided into sub-segments, requiring at least 10 hours of education in each of the several specified areas. Examples of the specified areas include healthy living environments, physical development, and managing an effective program. Be sure to check your resource and referral agency or the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition's website for the full list of specified areas and any additional requirements.

Do I Need a License?

Though there are no formal license requirements to get hired as a child care provider by an employer, those opening their own child care center must pursue formal licensing by the state. The state has separate licensing processes for child care centers (any center serving 13 or more children), group home childcare (any residence where two adults care for 7 to 12 children), and legally certified providers (a friend, family or neighbor caring for up to 2 unrelated children).

Requirements include mandatory annual training for staff and center directors (including CPR), mandatory child care orientation sessions for families opening group home childcare centers, and the clearing of FBI criminal background checks. If you are interested in opening a child care center, visit the Montana state website for more information on the applicable requirements and application process.

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