4. Qualifications and Continuing Education

4B. Staff Qualifications

Brief Overview of Standard: Staff that work with children are also expected to have appropriate education and professional training (in their assigned age groups) to engage with children and families.

Notice regarding ExceleRate Standards 4A and 4B for licensed child care centers and licensed family child care providers:
Congratulations to the programs that have met the ExceleRate Credential requirements already and to those who continue working towards achieving ECE, ITC, FCC and IDC Credentials.  ExceleRate system administrators recognize that achieving the required Credentials in some cases is a major leap in an environment where programs are struggling to maintain DCFS qualified teachers, managing staff turnover, and more.  For this reason, we have continued to delay the enforcement of Standards 4A and 4B. Programs will be asked to continue completing a Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQIP) including concrete, achievable goals and action steps the program is making towards meeting the Credential requirements.  Programs will also need to describe their progress within the program’s annual report.   ExceleRate system administrators have been gathering feedback from Program Directors, CCR&R system staff, early childhood stakeholders, state agency partners and others specific to Credentials.  Over the next few weeks, resources will be shared to assist teachers and directors in navigating the Credential process.  Please continue to reach out to INCCRRA staff to assist in the process as needed.  They can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 866-697-8278.

Informational Resources

ExceleRate Illinois and Gateways to Opportunity Credentials Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (711 KB)
ExceleRate Illinois has set standards for staff and director qualifications at each Circle of Quality that require staff
to have Gateways to Opportunity Credentials. Use this FAQ to navigate and understand the use of Gateways
Credentials throughout ExceleRate.

Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential
The ECE Credential, awarded through Gateways to Opportunity and recognized by the State of Illinois, defines what a practitioner working with children birth to age 8 should know and be able to demonstrate at various levels of training, education, and experience.

Gateways to Opportunity Infant Toddler Credential
The Infant Toddler Credential (ITC), awarded through Gateways to Opportunity and recognized by the state of Illinois, validates the specialized knowledge, skills, and experience needed to work with children birth to age 3. Practitioners applying for the ITC must also meet the requirements to attain the Gateways ECE Credential.

ExceleRate Illinois Training Bundles for Credential Credit (314 KB)
There are a variety of trainings that Administrators and teaching staff are required to complete for ExceleRate Illinois. This flyer includes the related and required trainings that have been bundled together to count towards designated Gateways Credentials. When the outlined combination of trainings is completed, points (as noted) may be applied toward an applicant’s Gateways Credential. Most of these trainings are available at http://courses.inccrra.org/

Credential Applicant Flowchart
This document outlines the Gateways Credential process, from figuring out which credential to apply for to receiving your credential. 

Director's Credential Toolkit
This document helps directors and applicants answer questions that are sure to arise during the credential process. From support through the Gateways Credential process to motivating others, this resource has information for anyone going through or helping others through the Credential process.

Gateways ECE Credential levels 3-5, Infant Toddler Credential levels 3-5, Illinois Director Credential I-III, and the Family Child Care Credential levels 4-5 meet the following ExceleRate Illinois training requirements (across all circles of quality):

  • Finding a Curriculum that Works for You
  • Introduction to Developmental Screening Tools
  • Fundamentals of Child Assessment
  • Welcoming Each & Every Child
  • Family and Community: Partners in Learning
  • An Introduction to Transitions
  • Understanding and Planning for Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Basics of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Practice
  • Creating Individual Professional Development Plans

Gateways Family Child Care Credential level 3 meets the following ExceleRate Illinois training requirements (across all circles of quality):

  • Finding a Curriculum that Works for You