Your ECE Journey 

Why Get Certified

ECE Certificate and Education

When choosing a career in early childhood education, you will need to 

  1. Complete an approved  post-secondary education program and training or another approved certification process that is offered in your province/territory.
  2. Apply to obtain your ECE certificate or diploma in early childhood education

Graduates from an approved training program can work as an Early Childhood Educator once they apply to receive a certificate from the provincial or territorial government. You can find how to apply for certification on our child care certification page.

Certified ECEs are compassionate and creative individuals, who see the world through a child’s eyes. They have an ability to be both a guide and a participant in the world of discovery, play, and learning.

The Power of Higher Education and Certification in ECE

Educated and certified ECEs are valued professionals who go above and beyond the day to day work tasks of “looking after children”. With their advanced education, they understand the developmental, psychological, cognitive, social and emotional stages of children’s development. And they know the impact they have on a child’s outcome through these early years. They skillfully harness the child’s play into curiosity for science, nature, and people. ECEs establish a child’s foundation for learning for life – not just the early years. 

ECEs are compassionate and creative individuals, who see the world through a child’s eyes. They have an ability to be both a guide and a participant in the world of discovery, play and learning.

A Question of Quality

Education and certification in early learning and child care not only raises your professional competency to work with children, but more importantly launches your ECE career into providing quality care in quality programs. And you will make a meaningful difference for the better of children, families and society as a whole.

The Canadian Child Care Federation, along with the child care community and sector across Canada, advocates for quality in early learning and child care – certification is foundational to achieving that quality.

Choosing Your Educational Program in Early Learning and Child Care

Completing a quality post-secondary education program in early childhood education opens a variety of career opportunities such as preschool teacher, home or centre-based child care provider, after school or school age care worker, and program director to name a few. An ECE degree or diploma could also be a stepping stone to go on further in your education journey to study and practice in child psychology, art therapy for children, social services for children and families or social work.

The level of education and certification you get increases your salary earning potential as an ECE. Completion of a two, three, or four year college program in early childhood education or a bachelor’s degree in child development will take you to different levels of competency and determine higher salary ranges depending on the region you wish to work in Canada.

The length of the course or program you take will vary from each learning institution and each province’s regulations. Some programs allow you to earn your certificate in as little as six months; others take two years or more.

Online programs might be your best choice if you are already working or the institution is not in your home town or city. Check the institution and program you are interested in to see if it is offered online. 

Provincial Jurisdiction Requirements

Professional certification and licensing requirements vary depending on the province or territory you wish to work in and also the professional level you want to work in (assistant, child care provider, program director, home child care provider . . .) Licensing by a provincial or territorial association for early childhood educators (ECE) is usually required.

You might need to get a professional licence from a regulatory authority or provincial/territorial child care association before you can start working. Licensing can be compulsory or voluntary, depending on the occupation and region. 

Further Steps in your ECE Journey

Higher learning in ELCC

Beyond the basics, an extensive program at the Master’s level will launch you into the world of early childhood learning research that will inform pedagogy and how child care is practised. Your knowledge and research can influence how quality child care is valued, approached and practised in Canada and beyond. You will also open possibilities in advocating for quality child care and children’s rights.

Maintaining and Renewing Certification

Once you have become a certified ECE  qualified to work as an early childhood educator or assistant in your province, you may need to renew your certification and/or take professional development courses to maintain your certification. Your provincial child care regulator will determine any requirements.

Professional Development courses and Lifelong Learning in Early Childhood Education.

Joining a provincial or regional child care association, council and association board.

Browse Online Courses for ECEs

Learn at Your Own Pace online

The CCCF and its partners offer a variety of online ECE training courses
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Annual Membership rate $0 CAD with the code from your local affiliate. Join now!

Anyone working in licensed child care has to apply for certification. You will find certification information for your province or territory on our child care certification page.

With your resume and cover letter ready (we’ll provide guides for this soon), contact child care centres and introduce yourself! You can call, email, or even message them on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Try again a few days later to give them your resume in person. Remember that due to safety reasons you need to call first. Tell them you live in their area, and that you’re looking for a position.

On our provincial and territorial map we link to child care associations in your area. Follow the link to your association and join today. The associations provide valuable information to anyone starting out in their career. Even experienced ECEs can benefit. You’ll also enjoy valuable member benefits like discounts, meet other ECEs, and become a part of the child care movement in Canada.


If you join your provincial or territorial affiliate, you’re automatically also a member of the CCCF.

All licensed and regulated quality child care programs in Canada require these for the safety and security of children and families.

If you’re just starting out:

  1. Get certified!
  2. Find the requirements for your province or territory
  3. Write your resume and begin your job search. We’ll provide tips on this soon. 
  4. Get your vulnerable sector check and first aid training

Join our Facebook Group and meet other ECEs who may be able to answer your questions

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are incredible professionals that have rewarding, important and demanding careers. They work with young children (and their families), ages 0-12, nurturing and educating them, observing and planning for their growth and development while ensuring that they are healthy. They create interactive and dynamic learning environments where children develop social skills, develop cognitive skills and foster lifelong learning. ECEs work in child care centres, classrooms, home child cares, preschool, and parent drop-in programs. You do not need a teaching degree to be an ECE, but you do need your ECE diploma.

Annual Membership rate $90 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!