Credentials & Accreditation


Credentials are awarded to individuals who have successfully demonstrated their ability in areas identified as critical to their profession. They also advance the professional development of individuals wishing to move up the career ladder within their respective program and/or to pursue a career in early care and education.

Illinois Director Credential

The Illinois Director Credential is earned through validation of accomplishments in five competency components. At each level the candidate must demonstrate a strong foundation in early childhood and school age care and education through completed coursework. The candidate must also complete course work that demonstrates a strong understanding of basic business and management theories and practices. By demonstrating competency in the five components, the director earns the Illinois Director Credential – a standard in management and leadership and a symbol of individual professional achievement.

To learn more about the Illinois Director Credential visit the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity website.

ECE Credential Level 1

Training for the ECE Credential Level 1 is now available statewide. This credential is for those who are interested in entering the field of early care and education. The ECE Credential Level 1 provides an opportunity to gain knowledge about the daily practices of high-quality child care practitioners.

To learn more about the ECE Credential Level 1, visit the Illinois Gateways to opportunity website.

Child Development Associate Credential (CDA)

A Child Development Associate (CDA) is an individual who has successfully completed the CDA assessment process and has been awarded the CDA Credential. CDAs are able to meet the specific needs of children and work with parents and other adults to nurture children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth in a child development framework. Earning the CDA Credential has many advantages, including motivating caregivers toward continuing education and providing a platform for professional and career opportunities.

CDA Content Areas:

  • Subject Area 1-Planning a safe, healthy learning environment
  • Subject Area 2-Advancement of physical and interllectual developlment
  • Subject Area 3-Positive ways to support children’s social and emotional development
  • Subject Area 4-Strategies to establish productive relationships with families
  • Subject Area 5-Stratgies to manage an effective program
  • Subject Area 6-Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Subject Area 7-Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Subject Area 8-Principles of child growth and development

To learn more about the CDA Credential visit the CDA Council for Professional Recognition website.

CDA Cohort

The CDA Cohort is a group of providers that have been selected through an application process to participate in an inclusive program that will assist them with training costs, credentialing costs, provide a personal advisor and resource file materials to attain their Child Development Associate Credential. Please contact our office if you would like more information about this program.


Accreditation is a voluntary process designed specifically for child care programs, family child care homes, and school-age programs. Receiving the award of program accreditation is highly prized and exemplifies a program that excels in the care and education of young children.

National Association for Family Child Care Accreditation (NAFCC)

The National Association for Family Child Care accredits family child care homes that offer high-quality child care services. The purpose of Accreditation is to offer professional recognition and consumer distinction to those providers who meet these high standards of quality through their consistency and dedication. Accreditation is intended for providers who have demonstrated a commitment to reach beyond the minimum requirements of state licensing.

To learn more about NAFCC Accreditation visit NAFCC website.

National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation (NAEYC)

In this accreditation process, a child care center’s administration, staff, and parents join with representatives of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs to determine whether their program meets nationally recognized criteria for high quality. Accreditation is achieved through self-study and facilitates lasting improvements in the quality of the early childhood program.

To learn more about NAEYC Accreditation visit the NAEYC website.

Questions about the accreditation or credentialing process may be directed to our Training Coordinator at (815) 484-9442 ext. 211.