Learn how to become a licensed daycare provider.


Early Childhood Education Degrees

Starting a daycare in your home as a career means taking on more than just the responsibility of caring for children. You will also have to become very familiar with your state’s requirements to obtain and keep your license for daycare current. Every state has different requirements and standards to before a home daycare can open the doors to kids. For example, some will require very little education and experience, while others have for specific and strict requirements for education and experience.

Despite the many difference in details, the basic steps to getting a license for daycare are basically the same. You should also know that usually home daycare licensing standards are different from daycares run at a separate facility.

Daycare Licensing Regulations

Contact your state’s governmental department responsible for licensing daycares. Request information on the requirements that must be met before obtaining a license for running a home daycare in your state. In many states, the county is responsible for daycare licensing. In you do not know whom to contact in your state, ask another daycare provider.

Early Childhood Development Courses

Take early childhood development and other related courses at a local college. Most states require a certain number of college credits in childcare and development related courses. If you want to get a daycare director’s license, many states will require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in teaching, early childhood development, or early childhood education.

Get Experience

Work at a daycare center to gain professional experience. The minimum number of hours of work experience to get a license for daycare also varies by state. However, the more experience you have, the better prepared you will be when starting your own daycare.

Background Check

Get your background check completed as per the guidelines of your state’s daycare licensing department. This usually includes fingerprinting and filling out forms given to you by the daycare licensing agency. Also, in most states, anyone living in your home will need be background checked. 

Daycare Facility Regulations

Research the facility or building requirements for a home daycare in your state. Most often, the size of the home will limit how many children can be in your care at one time. Some may require that you have certain daycare supplies ready before you can open.

Hire Staff

Find out if you need to hire staff help. Additional staff may be needed to provide care for more children, or if you plan to care for several infants. The staff will need to meet certain experience, education, and background check requirements as well.

The process for getting a license for daycare may be confusing to navigate at first. Some agencies do have regular informational classes or orientations for those interested in starting a daycare. If your licensing agency does offer these classes, do attend—you will find it invaluable. It's also a good idea to make a daycare license checklist as part of your daycare business plan to help stay organized.