WA Roadmap

Professional Development in Washington

Supporting the Early Care and Education Workforce

The state of Washington is a national leader in the development of early learning systems that support both quality learning environments for children and professional pathways for early learning professionals. In response to state legislation, the Department of Early Learning (DEL) convened the Professional Development Consortium in 2010 to outline recommendations for the creation of a professional development system. Since then, the state has used the consortium’s recommendations as a framework for systems planning and has achieved many of the goals that were outlined. DEL and its partners will continue to revisit and revise the professional development framework to ensure that our approach reflects our current workforce and meets their professional development needs. 

In 2012, DEL was awarded the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant, which offered many opportunities to expand and improve our early learning system, including enhancing the capacity of our professional development system. DEL worked with higher education and community partners to develop and adopt common courses for early childhood education (ECE) stackable certificates and scholarship programs. Washington Core Competencies were embedded within the professional development system. 

A key area of focus for professional development nationally is supporting the early learning workforce by improving policies and practice to attract new early learning professionals, provide competitive compensation and “professionalize the field” by clearly defining standards of practice, education requirements and expectations for continuing education. The Department of Early Learning is committed to supporting the professional goals and success of our early learning workforce.

More information can be found at the links below

Washington State Department of Early Learning Professional Development System


Trainer and training approval

Learn About Training

Training library for early learning professionals

Early Learning Resource Gallery

Core Competencies for early care and education and school -age professionals

Financial support for early learning professionals

Plan your early learning career