Washington State Professional Development System

Those who care for and teach young children need information and resources to support them as early care and education and school-age professionals. Research shows that increased training and education for early learning professionals relates to higher-quality interactions with and care for children.

In Washington, we can improve the quality of early learning programs by increasing the skills and education levels of those who work with children. We want to provide clear pathways and information for professional development, and bring recognition and professionalism to the field of early learning. This will result in effective services for children and families.

Our state’s professional development system helps those caring for and teaching young children: .

  • Understand what they need to know and be able to do when caring for children.
  • Manage their training and education record.
  • Find training and education opportunities to help them move forward in their career.
  • Find resources and financial support for individual professional development.
MERIT: Managed Education and Registry Information Tool

The Managed Education and Registry Information Tool (MERIT) is Washington’s online portal to document and recognize the professional achievements of early care and education and school-age professionals in Washington.
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Washington state career lattice for early care and education professionals and school-age care professionals

DEL, with input from more than 40 other early learning organizations, developed the Washington state career lattice for early care and education professionals and school-age professionals.
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Training requirements for child care providers

State training requirements for child care providers, called STARS, have been in place since 1999.
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Training library for early learning professionals

The professional development training library connects early learning professionals to resources, best practices, research and online training opportunities.
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Plan your early learning career

DEL partnered with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to create a clear path for current and potential early learning professionals.
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Financial support for early learning professionals

There are resources to help early learning professionals further their training and education.
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Trainer and training approval

DEL has an approval process for state-approved trainers who work in Washington.
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Core competencies for early learning and school-age professionals

Core competencies help define what professionals need to know and be able to do to provide quality education and care to young children.
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