There are several types of training that child care providers should have. We’ve broken it down to two main types: initial and ongoing (annual). Initial and ongoing training opportunities improve your program as you increase your skills and apply new information to your work with young children.

Initial Training

Initial training often happens before starting work as a child care provider or at the very least before you provide direct care to children without supervision. Initial training should cover health and safety and child development information at a minimum. Some states have requirements for training programs and hours that child care providers must fulfill before obtaining their license or working with children. Check with your state licensing requirements to find out how much training is required. Child Care Aware’s State by State Resource Map provides you with direct links to the office in your state that is responsible for child care licensing. In addition to initial training for all staff in your program, you will want to be sure that they receive an orientation to your program policies and procedures.

Aside from your orientation and any required trainings, initial preparation can include:

  • Previous experience
  • Training workshops
  • Child Development Associate (CDA) credential
  • State early childhood endorsement, credential or certificate
  • College credit hours in early childhood education or child development
  • Associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, child development or a related field

Annual Training

Annual training reviews and reinforces child care best practices and helps you learn new information and skills. Annual training should cover the following topics:

  • Child abuse prevention, identification and reporting
  • Child development and learning
  • Health, safety and nutrition
  • Working with families and the community
  • Program management
  • Teaching, learning and inclusion practices
  • Observation, documentation and assessment
  • Interactions and guidance
  • Professionalism

Some states have requirements for annual training or for training hours required to renew or maintain a child care license. Check with your state licensing regulations to learn more about what your state requires. You can find additional information about You can find additional information about health and safety trainings here.

Child Care Aware® of America’s Recommendations for Initial and Annual Training

Child Care Aware® of America recommends that all child care providers be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of initial training in child development and guidance and other basic health and safety practices prior to working alone with children. Family child care providers should have this training before opening their doors to unrelated children. Child Care Aware® of America recommends that all child care providers be required to complete at least 24 hours of annual training that will lead to a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

The Council for Professional Recognition awards the CDA Credential to individual child care providers in both child care centers and family child care homes. After completing 120 hours of required formal training in eight content areas, candidates must pass the CDA Competency Goals assessment. Additional information from the Council for Professional Development is at

Where You Can Find Training

Most Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies offer both types of training (initial and ongoing) or can guide you to training sources. Find your local CCR&R agency using our CCR&R Search page.

Additional sources for training include professional organizations such as local affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Zero to Three, and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), community colleges, local colleges and universities, social service and health agencies, private organizations and other child care programs.

Additional Resources

  • PEEP and the Big Wide World is an animated series that is funded by the National Science Foundation. On their website they provide professional development for early childhood educators on a number of topics, from Learning Environments to Individualized Instruction for various science units (ex. plants, ramps, water, color, etc.). Their free trainings are video-based and geared towards family child care educators and center-based educators.
  • Healthy Child Care America (a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics) offers professional development for early education and child care professionals on a number of important subjects. Trainings are webinar-style and cover topics specific to child care, such as Reducing the Risk of SIDS, Influenza Prevention and Control, and Medication Administration.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a multi-module course titled Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns. This free online training discusses why and how child care providers should monitor the development of children in their care and how to discuss their observations with parents.
  • Child Care Aware® of America’s Training Academy has a number of online training courses for center-based and family child care providers. CDA and CDA Renewal trainings, Child Care Essentials 40-hour training, and other research-based, customizable courses are affordable and user-friendly.