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Education Requirements for Child Care Lead Teachers

All child care center lead teachers must have earned the North Carolina Early Childhood Credential (NCECC) or its equivalent. Individuals must enroll within six months of being hired and will have 18 months from their date of hire to satisfy the NCECC or equivalency requirements.

All individuals requesting to be assessed for lead teacher status must submit an education and equivalency form and original transcripts, if applicable. See Guidelines to Education Evaluations for full instructions to the application process.


NCECC Equivalency Options

Applicants for lead teacher qualification who have not earned the NCECC may qualify through one of a number of equivalency options. These include a variety of specified coursework and/or degrees in early childhood education and related fields and a limited group of credentials that are earned independent of post-secondary education. Lead Teacher Equivalency Options explains them in detail.



Procedure(s) for Requesting Lead Teacher Equivalency Review

  • Individuals requesting to be assessed for lead teacher qualification should submit an education and equivalency form, attaching official transcripts for any completed coursework and degrees as well as any additional required documentation. See Guidelines to Education Evaluations for full instructions on necessary documentation for each child care position qualification.
  • Individuals disapproved for lead teacher status will have six months from the date of disapproval notification from the NC Division of Child Development (the Division) to enroll in applicable coursework


Education Requirements for Child Care Administrators

All Child Care Center Administrators must have the North Carolina Early Childhood Administration Credential (NCECAC) or its equivalent. Administrators must enroll within six months of being hired and will have two years from their date of hire to satisfy the NCECAC or equivalency requirements.



NCECAC Equivalency Options

Each required component of the administration credential has one or more equivalency options. These are outlined on the administrator education and equivalency form and in more detail on the instruction pages for this form that child care administrators of licensed facilities must submit to the Division.

Meeting any or all of the three components through the equivalency options will result in an administration equivalency instead of the credential.

The North Carolina Child Care Administration Credential and the Equivalency qualification (Levels I, II and III) have equal weight in North Carolina’s tiered Star Rated License System.

Individuals requesting to test out of required administration coursework (one or both courses) must register with the Division.



Procedure for Requesting Child Care Administrator Review
  • Individuals requesting to be assessed for administrator qualification and status (Level I, II or III) must submit application documentation including original transcripts and an administrator education and equivalency form to the Division. See Guidelines to Education Evaluations for full instructions to the application.

  • Individuals disapproved for administrator qualification will have six months from the date of disapproval notification by the Division to enroll in applicable coursework.



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