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Wouldn't it be great to have a pre-defined day care operator career path? Of course, but that path exists only in your dreams. First, understand that states may have different education and training requirements for prospective day care operators. In most states, you must have at least a high school diploma; some states mandate an associate's or bachelor's degree with an early childhood education specialty. Some states also require early childhood education work experience.

Okay, you think, I can jump through that set of hoops. But wait, there's more! Besides your formal education and experience, you might need to obtain a nationally recognized certification, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential issued by the Council for Professional Recognition. This certification requires a high school diploma, field experience, and completion of designated classes. Some states also recognize the Child Care Professional (CCP) credential issued by the National Child Care Association. You'll need the same combination of a high school diploma and field experience, plus completion of continuing education classes.

This information summarizes your day care operator's requirements. However, you might not know that many states also require the day care facility to be licensed. You and your staff must pass a background check, have appropriate immunizations, and complete minimum training requirements.

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