General description: Associate level practitioners have received some training in each of the five (5) core competency domains. Although they have not developed the full range and depth of skills expected of a fully professional practitioner, Associate level practitioners:

  1. demonstrate the ability to apply core knowledge, concepts, ideas, and skills in at least one field practice setting;
  2. demonstrate some knowledge and skills in all core competence areas;
  3. require moderate supervision by practitioners with higher certification/education levels who provide consultation, direction, and guidance.
  4. demonstrate the ability to identify/collect information, evaluate its relevance, and make appropriate responses.
  5. demonstrate insight in assessing personal knowledge and skills within the context of professional practice.
  6. utilize guidance and feedback from practitioners with higher certification levels to enhance personal competence.

CYC-A - Associate Level Certification

The Associate Level Certification is designed for practitioners who have completed basic training but have not completed adequate training, education or work experience to qualify for the Professional Level Certification. This is an intermediate level that documents competence that exceeds entry level practice but does not have the range and depth normally associated with full professional practice. It is designed for practitioners who:

  • Have completed basic training in child care and youth work.
  • Have mastered fundamental concepts and are working on deeper knowledge and expanding their range of skills.
  • Provide supervision and guidance to less experienced practitioners and receive supervision from others with more advanced credentials.
  • Have a minimum of three (3) years experience working with children, youth & families.
  • Are employed in a variety of settings including: early care and education, after school, treatment, schools, group homes, emergency shelters, disabilities programs, juvenile justice, transitional living and community youth serving organizations.


Higher Education and Experience:

  • No college or university education; three-years (6000 hours) of documented experience in direct child/youth care practice;
  • Completion of Associate Degree in child/youth care work or a closely related field from a college or university program recognized by the Certification Institute; one-year (2000 hours) experience in direct child/youth care practice.

Professional Training:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of training/education as described in the five (5) core competency domains.
  • Training in child guidance or behavior management (training must have been received within one year of applying for certification);
  • Completion of approved training in ethics;
  • Passing score on the Associate level Certification Examination

The minimum number of training/education hours required in each core competency domain:

  • Professionalism                                 15 hour minimum
  • Cultural and Human Diversity              15 hour minimum
  • Applied Human Development               20 hour minimum
  • Relationship & Communication            40 hour minimum
  • Developmental Practice Methods         60 hour minimum

College class hours can be counted(typically 1 credit hour = 16 class hours).


  • Two letters of reference from colleagues recommending applicant for certification;
  • Completion of the Supervisor Assessment by current or former supervisor documenting ability to apply required skills and knowledge.

Application Forms

Application Form 2.1

Colleague Reference Form 2.1

Supervisor Reference Form 2.1

Professional Membership:
Proof of individual membership in a recognized professional association. A wide range of associations are accepted depending on state of residence. Visit our website for a complete listing of approved organizations. 

  • In Texas, the following are accepted: Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association; Texas Network of Youth Services; Texas After School Association; Texas Association for the Education of Young Children; Texas Juvenile Detention Association; and Texas Foster Family Association.
  • In Louisiana, all of the preceding organizations are accepted in addition to the Louisiana Association of Child Caring Agencies and Association for Child and Youth Care Practice.

Renewal of the certificate is required every two (2) years. Retesting is not required. The following documentation must be submitted with payment of renewal fee: completion of fifteen (15) hours per year (30 hours total) of Continuing Education in content described in the 5 competency domains including completion of at least one additional training in child guidance/behavior management; and current individual membership in a recognized professional association.

The Associate Level Certification sponsored by the CYC Certification Institute is available in all states with the exception of Maine, Wisconsin and Wyoming. For credentialing programs in these states contact the local state professional association. The Associate Level Certification is the primary professional certification program in Texas and Louisiana and serves as the basis for the Wyoming program. The certificate is recognized by the professional associations in Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. When moving to one of these states a reciprocity agreement is in effect. Contact our office and the local professional association to transfer your credential to their system.

$40 - Testing as part of a training program, conference program, or at the CYC Office. 
$50 - Testing completed on-line at a proctored site.
$85 - Testing completed on-line at an Comira Testing Center.
$70 - Application processing fee (submitted with application) 
$35 - Renewal (every two years)

The Associate Level Certification is available through the CYC Certification Institute in collaboration with the Child and Youth Care Certification Booard.

Certification - Associate Level

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