Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

College Programs and Scholarships


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I'm an Early Learning ProviderRoles, Qualifications, and TrainingCollege Program and ScholarshipsRelease TimeMERIT Supports and Program Manuals


In Washington, we can improve the quality of early learning programs by increasing the skills and education levels of those who work with children. Our state's system helps early learning professionals choose a program that best fits their needs and get financial assistance. 

How do I find out what college and program is best for me?
If you’re thinking about becoming an early learning professional or wondering how to build your skills in early childhood education, the Early Childhood Education Career Planning Portal can help you:

  • Learn about careers and career pathways in early childhood education
  • Find a Certificate, Associate’s, or Bachelor’s degree program
  • Get connected with an early childhood education program advisor at a college or university near you
  • Learn about financial aid for early childhood education programs and how to apply

Visit today to get started!

What are Early Childhood Education Stackable Certificates?
Washington’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Stackable Certificates provide students with a clear path to furthering their education. Colleges across the state offer common courses, course titles, course numbers, course descriptions and student outcomes making it easy to transfer and complete the certificate program.

To learn more about ECE Stackable Certificates and find contact information for  participating colleges, click here: Washington State Stackable Certificates.

How can I get support with paying for college?
Child care providers who participate in Early Achievers, Washington’s child care quality rating and improvement system, receive support to improve the quality of care they offer children and families.

Early Achievers Grants help employed child care providers and early learning educators complete certificates and associate degrees in early childhood education. 
For information on eligibility requirements, application instructions, and more visit 

Child Care Aware of Washington scholarships support early learning educators to complete Bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education or a similar approved field or a Montessori Credential at a MACTE approved academy. 
For information on eligibility requirements, application instructions, and more visit