Early Educator Certification (EEC) Forms & Overview

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 provides you and employers with a point-of-hire document. Note: while EEC is a voluntary system, employers may require their staff to hold or become and maintain their Early Educator Certification.

-Use EEC for Child Care Facility License Education Points

EEC is a teacher education equivalency in NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (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.

EEC levels for all certified early educators are sent to DCDEE electronically each month so you do not need to send transcripts to DCDEE too. However, you do need to submit a copy of your EEC certificate or letter to the Workforce Unit to ensure your EEC level is recognized by DCDEE.

-Use EEC to Save Time & Money Purchasing 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 (919-527-6500) for more information.
  • The Child Care WAGE$® Program can use an EEC level to award salary supplements, if the county where the early educator is employed participates in WAGE$.
  • 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.

-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 is About YOU!

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 certified teachers.

How to Apply for Early Educator Certification (EEC)

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.

Education Base

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.

EEC Application & Forms

Certification Scales

Certification Forms

  • EEC Application– Used for initial application and renewal of your EEC.
  • EEC Request Form: This form is only used to update an active certificate.  To renew your EEC, submit the EEC application.

Renewal Information

Renewal is required every three or five years, based on an individual’s education. 

To apply for renewal, submit an updated EEC Application and fee. If you have completed additional college credit coursework, submit an update official transcript with your application.

* The renewal process is the same for those who apply prior to expiration and those who apply after their certificate expires. 

Educational Reassessment

Individuals who complete college credit coursework at a regionally accredited college or university may choose to have their education reassessed. A level can be reassessed two ways:

  • Submit official transcripts at the time of renewal with the application and $25 fee.
  • Submit official transcripts at any time prior to renewal along with the EEC Request Form and $10 fee. Renewal dates are not updated when levels are reassessed out of cycle.

Updating or increasing a level is voluntary for all individuals. See the EEC Scales for more information about each level.

What college credit courses count as birth to five or school-age coursework?

Because courses are different from one college to another, we do not have a general list of courses that count as focused for EEC.  However, the North Carolina Community Colleges have a common course catalog that is uniform across all community colleges. Click here to search for the most current list of NC Community College education courses and how they are counted for Early Educator Certification.


For more information about EEC contact staff at info@ncicdp.org or call 919-942-7442.

©AWS - 2023 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 instituteinfo@ncicdp.org