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DCFS Requirements to Work at a Daycare Center

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes on its website that requirements for child care workers vary by state with respect to education and experience. Prospective daycare employees can take advantage of websites such, which provides a comprehensive, state-by-state listing of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) licensing requirements for daycare centers, which includes detailed information regarding worker qualifications in each state.


The education requirement for daycare workers ranges from a high school diploma for a caregiver to an associate's or bachelor's degree in a field such as early childhood education or child development for a teacher. Certification as a child development associate (CDA) can satisfy the education requirement in states such as Arizona. Some states, such as Idaho and Iowa, do not have a specific educational requirement for prospective daycare workers. A general equivalency diploma (GED) meets the educational requirement in many states.


States including California, Kansas, Maine and North Dakota, have experience requirements of six months to one year for daycare workers. However, other states, such as Kentucky, North Carolina and Utah have no DCFS-mandated prior experience requirement for individuals who wish to work in a daycare.

Age Requirement

As is true with education and experience, the DCFS age requirements for daycare workers vary greatly by state. In Alaska, children as young as 14 years old may work as caregivers, so long as they complete a child care training course or prove that they can care for a younger child. Iowa requires daycare workers to be at least 16 years old. However, most states set the minimum age requirement for daycare workers at 18 years old. Individuals seeking employment as daycare teachers need to meet an age requirement of 21 years in several states, including Indiana, Maine and Massachusetts.


A.K. Jayne has written and edited print and online content since 2006. In addition, she has legal assistant/paralegal experience in areas including wills and trusts and family law. Her articles have appeared in the "Philadelphia Inquirer," "New Jersey Record" and "Burlington County Times." Jayne completed an Associated Press internship and is an alumna of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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