Statewide registries have been developed throughout the country to increase the number of high quality early care and education programs by helping to develop and track a knowledgeable and skilled early childhood workforce, they are based upon an individual's verified professional achievements. Registries provide important data about the early childhood workforce to help raise the status and compensation for early care and education as a viable and unique profession in our society.
We invite you to apply to The Practitioner Registry to gain the recognition you deserve for your experience, education, and training in early care and education through your work with young children and families.
First you will create an ID and password by clicking on Log In. Once you have signed in you will then start the application process by clicking ‘Apply’. This will take you through a step-by-step process of entering your personal information, education, employment, training, and professional information. Submit your application and you will receive an email requesting additional documentation so the ECP may verify your information.
To view step by step directions and screenshots click on the Practitioner Registry User Guide in the Resources box on the right.
Once you have completed your Practitioner Registry application, you will be placed at a level on the Career Path. The Career Path promotes professional development for early care and education practitioners by providing a framework for recording and recognizing experience, training, and educational accomplishments.
The Career Path outlines eleven levels of career development based on training, education and experience in the field. Any individual developing a plan for professional growth in early care and education can chart a course on the Career Path. Additional information may be found under the Career Counseling under the Career Development tab.
What is a Professional Development Record?
All individuals that working in state licensed/registered facilities have access to a PDR. PDRs track ECP approved training. College coursework is only added during the time you are current on the Registry.
How do I find my Professional Development Record?
Click on My Professional Development Record at the top of the page.
For best print quality once in your record:
Step 1: Click on the drop down box “Select a format” and choose Acrobat (PDF) file
Step 2: Click Export
Step 3: Click on Open when the Adobe box appears
Step 4: Print
Who may apply to the Practitioner Registry?
Early childhood practitioners are encouraged to apply for the Practitioner Registry. This includes caregivers, teachers, educators, administrators, and other advocates for young children. The Registry is designed for anyone who works with children birth to age eight (providing direct or indirect service) in a variety of settings:
- Family and group child care homes
- Child care centers
- Head Start and Early Head Start programs
- Public and private schools--pre-kindergarten-3rd grade
- Higher education, including community and tribal colleges and universities
- Child Care Resource and Referral agencies
- Community agencies serving children and families
- Private organizations and government agencies who impact early care and education at local, state, and regional levels
Why should I apply?
Participation in the Montana Practitioner Registry will help you:
- Count yourself as a professional in early childhood services in Montana
- Inform parents about your level of professional development as you make decisions about your fees for early care and education services
- Apply for new employment positions in early childhood programs or negotiate for a salary increase with your employer
- Validate and document the learning and training experiences in which you have participated
- Plan your future education and career goals
- Become eligible for incentives, awards, scholarships and grants
How do I remain current once I'm on The Practitioner Registry?
You will remain active on The Registry for one year from the date on your certificate. Each year, the ECP will mail you a renewal packet two months prior to your renewal date.
Required renewal hours each year:
- 8 hours for the Early Childhood Practitioner Level
- 23 hours for Levels 1 – 9 (15 hours plus the 8 hours of required training for licensing)
- 15 hours if you work in a program not regulated by the state
What twenty credits are accepted as early childhood/child development for Levels 4 and above on the Practitioner Registry?
For levels 4-8, early childhood/child development college credits or degrees are required. To count for the Practitioner Registry, all credits and degrees must be from regionally accredited colleges and universities and carry a letter grade of C or better. Pass/Fail classes will not count for the 20 required credits.
The ECP reviews transcripts to ensure that college credits fall within six of the areas below with four required areas noted with an *(asterisk):
Early Childhood Credit List
- Child Growth and Development*
- Environmental Design
- Health and Well-being
- Family and Community Partnerships*
- Child Guidance*
- Observation, Documentation & Assessment
- Program Management
How do I know if my credits/degrees are from accredited institutions?
In order to count towards a level on the Career Path, college credits and degrees must be from a regionally accredited colleges or universities. The US Department of Education manages a database for institutional accreditation, which can be found at www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation.
College certificates, associate and bachelor's degrees are available through some Montana colleges and universities. You may search for those by visiting this Montana University System website http://mus.edu/ and click on Find a Program.
For more information on higher education accreditation, please contact the ECP.
What can I do if I do not agree with my Career Path level?
You may appeal to the Practitioner Registry Review Committee if you feel the level that you were placed at is incorrect. If you wish to appeal, you must provide the committee with the following items:
- A cover letter describing why you wish to appeal
- Additional documentation about your course content, projects, independent study credits, and other items you feel will help your case
- Evidence of informal (non-credit) training hours that you have completed in Knowledge Base content areas and the areas identified for the 20 credit requirement listed above.