The Ultimate Guide to Getting Licensed


Are you interested in opening your own childcare program? Or are you curious what it would take? Read on for the ultimate guide to getting a license for Family Child Care in Massachusetts.

The Basics

In Massachusetts, childcare is regulated by the Massachusetts Dept. of Early Education & Care (the "EEC"). The EEC governs both center-based and in-home programs which Massachusetts refers to as "Family Child Care."

At first glance, the EEC's requirements for a Family Child Care license are relatively straight forward:

  1. Attend two in-person training sessions

  2. Complete four online training requirements

  3. Pass a physical exam

  4. Proof of at least one-year full-time experience

  5. Up to date Pediatric CPR & First Aid

  6. Pass a pre-licensing home inspection by your Licensor

  7. Pass a background check (CORI, SORI, & fingerprints)

Taken individually, each of the above seems perfectly reasonable. But put together, combined with the EEC's new website and online application platform, there's a lot of moving parts for an aspiring Educator to keep track of.

Let's take each of these pieces one by one

The in-person training sessions

...there are a lot of moving parts for an Educator to keep track of.

The first is the Potential Providers Meeting, put on by the EEC at its regional offices. This is a free two-hour led by a licensor and discusses the basics of the licensing process and what the licensors look for when they conduct their home visits. Contact us to find the next Potential Provider Meeting in your region.

The second is call the "Orientation - Module 1" and it is led by EEC certified Trainers throughout the State. It costs $30 and you must register ahead of time. Unfortunately the State does not currently have a calendar of these training sessions. Contact us to learn about upcoming sessions.

Complete four online training requirements

These online trainings are:

  1. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome

    Formerly known as SIDs, this is an online resource and self-assessment. It is critically important that Educators understand the risk of SUIDS and safe sleep practices.

  2. Medication Administration - "The 5 Rights"

    This is a training hosted on an e-learning platform. At the end, you'll receive a certificate to save and include in your application.

  3. Transportation Safety - "Look Before You Lock"

    This is another online resource and self-assessment.

  4. Childhood Nutrition Training

    The EEC suggests that Educators take a free online course with the Institute of Childhood Nutrition.


Pass a Physical Exam

You'll need to schedule a physical exam with a physician. The EEC has a form for the Physician to complete.

Proof of Experience

If you're a parent or have professional experience working with children, you are qualified according to the State regulations. If you have worked informally as a nanny or part time, your licensor may request a letter from your employers.

Pediatric CPR & First Aid

The EEC regulations require that every Educator renew their Pediatric CPR certificate every year, regardless of the expiration date on your certificate. Note that the First Aid certificate is valid for two years.

Pass a pre-licensing home inspection by your Licensor

Once you've submitted your application to the EEC, your licensor will schedule a pre-licensing home inspection. During the home inspection they'll make sure your home is free of chipping paint, has two safe exits paths, and is conducive to hosting a great program. (note: there are a number of considerations for your home inspection - contact us to learn more).

Pass a background check (CORI, SORI, & fingerprints)

As of October, 2018, all Educators and all people who live in the Educator's home over the age of 15 are required to submit all three forms of background check. After you submit your application to the EEC you'll receive instructions on how to schedule your checks.

There you have it - a summary of the seven key things you'll need to qualify for a license from the EEC. These requirements have been developed with the best interest of children in mind. Taken collectively, there's a lot to keep track of, and there are important details about each of the above that we'll go into in separate posts.

It's also important to remember that getting the license is just the first major step towards opening a thriving Family Child Care program. Next you'll need to register your business, secure insurance, market your program to parents, enroll students, and start operating the program and collecting tuition payments.

We find that many great Educators are put off by the licensing process and concerns about the business aspects of opening a program. If that feels like a lot, but you know you'd be a great Educator, contact us to learn how you can partner with NeighborSchools and get help in licensing, setting up, and marketing your program!

Just want to learn more? Contact us and we'd be happy to assist you.

Brian SwartzEducators, licensing