The following resources will help you plan and implement your professional development in the early childhood field. Click on the specific box for more information.

Career Advisement

Career Advisement Counseling is available through the Delaware First team at the Department of Education – Office of Early Learning.  A Delaware First Career Advisement Counselor is available to meet with individuals or small groups in their program or in-person at the Delaware Department of Education office located in Dover, Delaware. 

A counselor is also available via phone or email to assist early childhood professionals in the following areas:

  • Guidance through the Delaware First qualification process;
  • Evaluation of your current qualifications and options for advancement;
  • Planning to reach your short and long-term career goals;
  • Identifying resources to advance your career; and
  • Choosing professional development options once you are in your role.

Reach out to a Delaware First Career Advisement Counselor at (302) 735-4236 or

Career Lattice

Delaware’s Early Childhood Career Lattice (PDF File) was developed as a cross sector tool used to assist early childhood professionals in career planning, as a link to individual professional development plans, and as a workforce recruitment tool. Each step has examples of early childhood positions that are aligned with the educational requirements. This is not an exhaustive list, but a guide to be used as early childhood professionals are looking for position options.

For more information, call (302) 735-4236.


The Delaware First Professional Development System for Early Care and Education and School-Age Programs, commonly referred to as Delaware First, qualifies early childhood education professionals for employment by an early care and education or school-age care center. Delaware First is administered by the Delaware Department of Education, Office of Early Learning. 

Early childhood education professionals are qualified to work in specific positions once they meet the Office of Child Care Licensing requirements related to age, work experience, and education. All early childhood education professionals are encouraged to continue working and furthering their education to advance their career. 

Qualification Certifications for Early Care and Education include:

  • Early Childhood Intern
  • Early Childhood Assistant Teacher
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Administrator

Qualification Certifications for School-Age Care include:

  • School-Age Intern
  • School-Age Site Assistant
  • School-Age Site Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator
  • School-Age Administrator

Once an individual is determined qualified for one of these position levels by Delaware First, they will receive a Qualifications Certificate for that position. 

Each individual is responsible for keeping and maintaining their Qualifications Certificate. This is an important document that anyone employed or seeking employment at a licensed early care and education or school-age center in Delaware will be asked to provide as proof of their qualifications for employment.  However, individuals do not need to submit any further documentation to Delaware First even if they change employers.

For more information on qualification requirements to enter the early childhood field and the process for obtaining a Qualifications Certificate, visit the Delaware First website at or call (302) 735-4236.

Developing Your Professional Development Plan

The Scope and Sequence process can be used by professionals to determine what professional development experience comes next in the sequence based on level.  Professionals can determine which professional development experience is a good fit for their role.  The following are Scope and Sequence processes for the target age groups of your students.

Scope and Sequence Infant/Toddler (PDF File)

Scope and Sequence Preschool (PDF File)

Scope and Sequence School Age (PDF File)

Professional learning opportunities provide new knowledge, a chance to share ideas, and network with peers.  Take advantage of planning your professional learning in advance.  Some questions to reflect on include:

  • What is your qualification or career pathway goal? (for example, you may be an assistant teacher now and your goal is to become qualified as a teacher)
  • What topics would help you improve your practice in your program? (for example, you may benefit from some behavior or social emotional development topics while looking for some new classroom strategies)
  • What topics are you interested in? (for example, you may be interested in science)
  • What training/education is required by regulations? (for example, you may need to renew your CPR certification)

Updated OCCL Approved/Required Individualized Professional Development Plans (IDPD):

Center Professional Development Plan (PDF File)

Family Child Care Professional Development Plan (PDF File)

Large Family Child Care Professional Development Plan (PDF File)

For questions or support as you develop your Professional Development Plan, call 302-831-3239.

Annual Training Hours/ Licensing Requirements

Annual training hours are required under Delacare Rules for those working in licensed child care facilities. To ensure that the early childhood workforce acquires and maintains essential knowledge and skills; the Licensees of Family Child Care (FCC) Homes, staff members of Large Family Child Care (LFCC) Homes, Early Care and Education (ECE), and School-Age (SA) Centers are required to successfully complete annual training hours each licensure year.

Specific annual training requirements are specified in Delacare Rules as follows:

  • FCC Licensees – Twelve (12) Clock Hours (Delacare: Rules for Family Child Care Homes – Rules #134-135)
  • LFCC Staff Members– Fifteen (15) Clock Hours (Delacare: Rules for Large Family Child Care Homes – Rules #165-166)
  • ECE and SA Center Staff Members – Eighteen (18)* Clock Hours (Delacare: Rules for Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers – Rules #177-1 78)
  • ECE/SA Center Staff Members working less than twenty-five (25) hours per week are required to take at least nine (9) hours of training each licensure year.

For more information regarding Licensing Requirements, please visit the Office of Childcare Licensing.