Why Get Certified
The Early Educator Certification (EEC) process was developed by and for early educators who guide the implementation of EEC in North Carolina.
Use EEC to Apply for Employment
Your EEC certificate or card provides you and employers with a point-of-hire document. Note employers may require their staff to hold or become and maintain their Early Educator Certification.
Use EEC for Facility License Education Points
EEC is a teacher education equivalency in DCDEE rule. That means an EEC level can be used by the regulatory consultant as a verified form of education documentation during site visits. The DCDEE Workforce Unit can use the EEC level for individuals applying to be a Lead Teacher, Teacher, Family Child Care Home Provider and/or Program Coordinator. The updated Star Rating charts show how EEC can be used to calculate teacher education points for the positions above.
The EEC Unit shares EEC levels for all certified early educators with DCDEE each month so you do not need to send transcripts to DCDEE too.
Use EEC to Save Time & Money Purchasing & Sharing Transcripts
One stamp, many uses, cost savings! Once an early educator is certified, she/he need only to submit updated transcripts for new college courses and degrees to EEC to have their education level updated by EEC, WAGE$ and DCDEE.
- DCDEE may use your EEC level for facility licensure purposes to assess for education requirements. Transcripts do not need to be sent to DCDEE once you are certified. Contact the EEC office or DCDEE Workforce Unit (919-662-4499) for more information.
- Child Care WAGE$® Project can use an EEC level to award salary supplements, if the county where the early educator is employed participates in WAGE$.
- T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® (T.E.A.C.H.) Project, upon request by certified early educators, can also use a certification level and education updates for scholarship purposes.
- EEC can use the certified early educator’s transcripts to keep your certification up to date.
Get Professional Recognition
Certified early educators receive professional recognition with a frame-ready certificate and wallet-sized card with their certification level. This helps parents, employers, friends, neighbors and more understand the importance of the work you do and the education you have earned.
Access Benefits & Discounted Goods & Services
Through EEC Rewards & Benefits, certified early educators can access free training offered by the Institute. You can save on early learning supplies and equipment, movie tickets, phones, food, technology and more! You can access low-cost banking services, insurance options and work-life resources! All are available online with your EEC ID number here .
Early Educator Certification (EEC) is About You
“I am so proud to have this certification and plan to take additional courses .” – Group Leader
Early Educator Certification provides…
- You with a certificate to demonstrate your certification level.
- You with access discounts on goods and services for certified Early Educators.
- Our field with professional recognition like other professions.
- Employers with point of hire documentation, reducing their costs and increasing the time they can spend operating their business and working with families, teachers and children.
- Families with a tool to tell them about the education of who is working with their child.
- Programs with a marketing strategy for advertising that their program is staffed with with certified teachers.
History of NC Early Educator Certification
The NC Early Educator Certification system was developed in response to interests by the field in developing an individually-held, portable form of certification that would mirror professional certifications of other fields and serve as a step in the career pathway for NC early educators working directly with or on the behalf of children ages birth to twelve in out of home settings.
As a result, the field and state would realize cost efficiencies as EEC became the entry point for all those working directly with young
children in regulated settings, on the behalf of children in support or education roles or intending to work in NC with the birth to twelve population in out of home settings — regardless of role, place of employment or geographic location.
Members of the Institute developed the EEC process following research supported by private dollars to inform the members about processes used by other professions that certify their workforce and build an individually held, portable, field-wide professional certification issued for a minimal fee.
The resulting copyrighted education verification process, using the Early Care and Education (ECE) Scale, was piloted in 2008 over a two-year period. Support from DCDEE allowed early educators to pilot the field-held process at no charge and seek efficiencies in education verification processes, provide benefits, professionalize the field and more.
In 2010, the School Age Professional Scale was developed providing those working with children in before and after-school care programs with a professional certification. The ECE scale was expanded to include additional levels, reflective of the many steps early educators take when pursuing a college education. The law put in place in 2010 requiring certification was allowed to sunset in 2011.
In 2011, EEC levels were added to child care facility licensure policy to support the thousands of early educators who hold an EEC level to use it as an equivalent for teacher education verification for child care facility licensure purposes and to support a portable form of education verification for use by DCDEE regulatory consultants and for hiring — saving time and money.
Also in 2011, EEC was coupled with access to a password protected online portal of work-life as well as personal and professional benefits for certified early educators.
In the same year, the first of endorsements for certified early educators to demonstrate specific knowledge and skills by role and support the expansion of career pathways was developed for professional development practitioners.
In 2012, an Administrators Endorsement was released followed by a Technical Assistance Practitioner Endorsement in early 2014 developed by early educators over a 6-month process.
As of May 2014, EEC levels are held by nearly half the birth to five teaching workforce in North Carolina.
Certified Professionals in NC
In addition, more than 400 early educators holding one of more endorsements. providing consumers of these services with a quality indicator.
How to Apply
The simple, fee-based EEC Application process includes the submission of an application and official transcripts. EEC does not require a test or specific college course.
Step 1: Choose which scale you want to be certified (or apply for both)
Step 2: Order your official transcripts if you have completed college coursework.
Step 3: Complete the application. Please double check your email address as this is where you will receive application information and updates .
Step 4: Attach the fee to your application and send to the Institute.
Step 5: Watch for an email with your EEC ID so you can begin using EEC Rewards.
Step 6: Use your EEC ID for employment, WAGE$ documentation, DCDEE facility licensure purposes and to access work-life benefits.
College education earned is the basis for EEC.
To be counted for EEC, coursework must have been taken at regionally accredited college(s) and/or university(ies) . All public community colleges and universities in North Carolina are regionally accredited.
For a list of regionally accredited college and university programs visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation .
Application & Forms
- EEC Application
- EEC Request Form
- EEC Update Form
- EEC Internet Transcript Permission Form – The EEC Internet Permission Form (IPF) allows EEC staff to download your transcript using your login from a college or university website, if available. The IPF does not give us permission to request an official transcript from your college or university for you. Download the form and complete it with your login information and attach it to your EEC application.