How to Become a Certified Daycare Worker in Illinois

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If cuddling infants, playing hide-and-seek with toddlers and painting with preschoolers sounds exciting, maybe you should consider becoming a licensed day care worker. Becoming a licensed daycare worker in Illinois is relatively easy and requires either on-the-job experience or classes in early childhood education.

Be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. The state of Illinois is flexible about other requirements, but age requirements and a diploma are necessary.

Work for one year in a licensed day care, nursery school or kindergarten. If you do not have work experience, you must complete at least 30 college credit hours with six of these being related to child development.

Become credentialed by the Council for Professional Recognition by taking 120 clock hours of child care education and working a total of 480 hours in a child care setting. The Child Development Associate (CDA) is recognized by 49 states and the District of Columbia. The requirements for a CDA credential are more rigorous than the Illinois standard, but this credential will give you career advancement opportunities.

Pass a background check. Licensed day care centers are required to perform background checks on all potential employees.


For advancement opportunities, consider getting an associate's degree in early childhood education. Once you are 21 years old and have two years of child care experience, you can become a child care director.


Make sure the school you are attending is accredited, or your classes will not count toward certification.