Certification - Entry Level

General description:

Entry level practitioners exhibit knowledge and skill levels comparable to beginners who are still engaged in learning fundamental skills and who will more fully develop into skillful professionals following additional knowledge and skill acquisition and supervised practice.

It is assumed that Entry level practitioners work under the supervision of workers with higher certification levels. They have completed at least one year (2000 hours) of paid work with children or youth.

Certification at this level requires training in addition to that typically found in the general population of entry-level child and youth care practitioners.

This level of certification provides workers an entry point to the field of child and youth care work and provides guidance to the knowledge and skills needed during the first year of practice.

CYC Entry Level Certification

The Entry Level Certification offers an opportunity for practitioners entering the field to begin the process of professional development. It is designed for practitioners who:

  • Are engaged in basic training in child care and youth work.
  • Are focused on learning fundamental practice skills.
  • Work under the supervision of others with more advanced credentials.
  • Have a minimum of one (1) year experience working with children, youth & families.
  • Are employed in a variety of settings including: early care and education, after school, mental health, education, out-of-home care, disabilities, juvenile justice, transitional living, and community youth service.

To be certified, a practitioner must complete testing with a score of 75% or higher, complete an Entry level application packet, and submit supporting documentation to demonstrate:

Higher Education and Experience:
  • No college or university education; one year (2000 hours) of documented experience in direct care youth/child care practice;  
  • Completion of one-year Certificate in Child/Youth Care or Child Development Associate Program; No experience required.
Professional Training:
  • 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 Entry level Certification Examination.


  • 2 letters of reference from colleagues and
  • One letter of reference from a supervisor recommending applicant for certification

Professional Membership:

  • Proof of individual membership in a recognized professional association. A wide range of associations are accepted depending on state of residence. Visit the Professional Associations section of this 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 Care Agencies and Association for Child and Youth Care Practice.

Eligibility Statements

Certified practitioners sign the following statements as part of the application process.  Certification is not granted to any practitioner who has a criminal history that would deny them employment in the state where they reside and work. 

  • I have read and agree to abide by the Standards for Practice of North American Child and Youth Care Professionals. I understand that my adherence to these standards of practice does not restrict my use of other codes relevant to my practice or employment.
  • I am not currently under investigation nor have I been convicted of any crime(s) that would cause me to be denied employment working with children, youth or families in the state where I live and work.  

Application Forms

Application Form 2.1

Colleague Reference Form 2.1

Supervisor Reference Form 2.1

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 certification competency domains including completion of at least one training in child guidance/behavior management; and current individual membership in a recognized professional association.  Renewal Form.

The Entry Level Certification sponsored by the CYC Certification Institute is available in all states with the exception of Wisconsin and Wyoming. For credentialing programs in these states contact the local state professional associations.


  • $40   - Testing as part of an approved training program, conference program, or at the CYC office.
  • $85   - Testing completed on-line at a Comira Testing Center or other CYC Cerification Institute approved site.
  • $50   - Renewal (every two years).

The Entry Level Certification Program is available through the CYC Certification Institute in collaboration with the Child and Youth Care Certification Board.

Copyright c 2014 Child & Youth Care Worker Certification Institute, Inc.