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Divisions > Early Childhood Development > Credentialing Branch
Maryland Child Care Credential Program


NOTEThe Core of Knowledge Content Area Chart identifies the additional proposed training requirements for Levels Two, Three and Four.  Although current applicants to the Credentialing Program are not required at this time to meet these requirements, persons who anticipate applying to the Credentialing Program are strongly advised to start taking the required training.


Program Goals 

Important Program Information 

Credential Requirements 


The Core of Knowledge 

Professional Activity Units 

Credential Levels 

Credential Application Process

To maintain consistency in providing information to the child care community on Credentialing programs, Trainers are encouraged to use the Credentialing Program PowerPoint presentation created by Angeline Bishop-Oshoko – Credentialing Branch Chief.  Click here to view the presentation.


The Maryland Child Care Credential recognizes child care providers who go beyond the requirements of State licensing and registration regulations. There are six credential levels and four administrator levels, each one recognizing a child care provider’s achievement of a specified number of training hours, years of experience and professional activities which lead to quality child care. Participating providers will complete training in topic areas to develop the knowledge and skills they need to provide the highest quality care for the children and families they serve. Though the Maryland Child Care Credential is a voluntary program, all regulated family child care providers and child care center staff are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Click here to download the Credentialing Booklet.

Program Goals

The four major goals of the credential program are:
  • A well-qualified workforce.
  • Improved status and increased compensation for child care providers
  • Recognition of for-credit and non-credit career preparation.
  • To provide a structure for professional growth through professional competencies.

Important Program Information

Before considering any training course you must decide on your long-term career goals. Your options may include:
  • The Maryland Child Care Credential
  • The Child Development Associate (CDA)
  • A college degree
  • Certified school teacher
Once you have decided on your goals, you can then map out your training plan. You will need to take training from the appropriate organizations to meet your long-term goals.
  • The Maryland Child Care Credential training from an Office of Child Care approved trainer or an accredited college or university.
  • The CDA - courses that are approved as meeting the training requirements set by the National Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.
  • A college degree - courses for credit from an accredited college or university.
  • MSDE teaching certification - check with the Maryland State Department of Education for further information.
DO NOT assume that any training you complete will automatically be accepted for college credit or meet the standards set by a national organization. You MUST check before taking any training to ensure that the training fits into your training plan and long-term goals.

Training that has been completed within the past five years of application to participate in the credentialing program may be accepted as meeting the requirements of the core of knowledge as determined by the Office of Child Care. However, college coursework, whether for credit or non-credit, will be accepted regardless of when completed.

Family child care providers or staff at centers applying for program accreditation should check with the accreditating organization on additional training criteria for the accreditation.

Credential Requirements - Eligibility for Participation

To participate in the credential program you must be:
  • A registered family child care provider
  • An operator, director, or staff member (senior staff, group leader, assistant group leader or aide) in a licensed child care center
When you apply to participate in the credential program, you agree to:
  • Continue working in a child care setting for no less than one year from the date you are accepted into the credential program
  • Complete continued training for the applicable credential level; and
  • Participate in professional activities related to the child care profession
A credential is issued for a 12 month period and may be renewed each year.

Participants in the credential program may not be the subject of any sanction imposed by the Office of Child Care.

Substitutes or volunteers, whether working in a registered family child care home or licensed child care center, are not eligible to participate.


There are incentives available to child care providers who choose to participate in the Maryland Child Care Credential program. They are available to providers participating in the credential program at Level Two and higher and include achievement bonuses and training vouchers.

Achievement Bonuses

To be eligible for an achievement bonus a provider must:

·          Apply, be accepted, and credentialed at a level 2 or higher in the child care credential program.

·          Complete continued training, professional activities and one year of continued employment in a child care facility.

A one-time bonus, at levels 2, 3, 4, and Administrator 1 and yearly bonuses for Levels 4+, 5, 6, Administrator 2, 3, and 4 will be paid directly to the participating provider.  One half of the bonus will be paid initially and the remainder will be paid only upon the completion of all requirements the following year, in the following amounts:


          Staff Credential Level Two - $200
          Staff Credential Level Three - $300
          Staff Credential Level Four - $500
          Staff Credential Level Four Plus - $600

          Staff Credential Level Five - $750
          Staff Credential Level Six - $1,000

          Administrator Credential Level One - $400

          Administrator Credential Level Two - $750

          Administrator Credential Level Three - $1,000

          Administrator Credential Level Four - $1,500

The Core of Knowledge

The Core of Knowledge is defined as theories and practices that are essential for individuals working with children in family child care homes and child care centers. The core of knowledge is divided into six major areas:

Child Development Curriculum
Health, Safety & Nutrition Professionalism
Special Needs Community

Training in the core of knowledge may be taken across all age groups or in a specific age group - infant/toddler, preschool or school-age. Training may be taken from an Office of Child Care approved trainer or an accredited college or university. The six Core of Knowledge areas are listed in the chart that follows with the information that is included in each one. Each bulleted item identifies the content of a workshop or a component of a college class. Use this information to identify the Core of Knowledge area under which any training taken may be applied.

The hours in parenthesis indicates the number of clock hours required to complete each Core of Knowledge area.

Click here for the Core of Knowledge Chart

  *The file above is in pdf format.
  You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.
  If you do not already have the reader click the image.

get acrobat reader

Professional Activity Units

Criteria for Professional Activity Units

The Maryland Child Care Credential Program includes requirements for participation in activities that contribute to the professional growth and career development of those working in the field of child care. These activity units are earned through participation in activities that contribute to the provision of quality child care and the advancement of the profession.

Professional Activities are those that:

• Engage the participant in the broader aspect of the field of early childhood education and school-age care, and

• Increase the knowledge of others in and outside of the profession.

Active involvement in professional activities promotes and supports the workforce in ways such as workforce development and program improvement, ultimately improving outcomes for children. Professional activities increase competence, performance, and effectiveness of those working in children.

The Credentialing program requires training in the Core of Knowledge area of Professionalism and the completion of professional activities. Completing approved training does not qualify as a professional activity.

Professional Activity Units (PAUs)

Professional Activity Unit (PAU) is the number assigned to an activity depending on the number of hours spent, level of effort, or commitment to an activity. The number of units assigned to an activity is determined through a review of documentation concerning the activity and the level of commitment required of the participant.

The following charts are the description and units assigned for each professional activity:

• Click here: One (1) Professional Activity Unit Chart

• Click here: Two (2) Professional Activity Unit Chart

• Click here: Three (3) Professional Activity Unit Chart

The following matrices provide examples of PAU's, and are not a complete listing of possible activities. There is a column to check an activity when completed, as well as a column for total units. Applicants to the Credentialing Program may use this form as a worksheet to track and report PAUs.

• Click here: Professional Activities Matrix

For any professional activities completed, which are not listed on the PAU Matrix, applicants must submit a Maryland Child Care Credential Program - Professional Activities Approval Form. The Office of Child Care – Credentialing Branch will make determinations regarding the recognition of professional activity units.

• Click here: Professional Activities Approval Form
   (Revised 11.16.2015)

Credential Levels

Credential Levels - There are six credential levels and four administrator levels, each one recognizing the completion of training within the core of knowledge, experience working with children and participation in professional activities. All criteria must be met to qualify for each credential level. At Level Two and higher, a provider participating in the credential program must complete an additional number of continued training hours than the regulations require and continue to participate in professional activities each year.

Credential Application

Click here for the Maryland Child Care Credential Program (MCCCP) Application Form

NEW!  Click here for the MCCCP First Time/New Application Cover Sheet

NEW!  Click here for the MCCCP Renewal Application Cover Sheet

  *The file above is in pdf format.
  You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.
  If you do not already have the reader, click this image:

get acrobat reader

Have questions or need more information about Credentialing Branch programs?  Contact us:
by e-mail:  credentialocc.msde@maryland.gov
by phone:  410-767-7852


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