What Certifications Do You Need to Have an In-Home Daycare?

The requirements and certifications needed to run an in-home daycare vary for each state. The specific guidelines for each state can be found on the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations. You can also call a local child-care licensing agency and ask them for the specific requirements. Fortunately, most states have similar guidelines.


First of all, you as an individual have to be eligible to even apply for a license. The first requirement is you have to be over the age of eighteen, which is fairly standard for most full-time work. The second eligibility requirement is you cannot be a felon or convicted of a crime, specifically child abuse. You also need to be healthy. A majority of states will require the results of a health examination. This is to prove you have certain vaccinations and are disease-free. We wouldn’t want any lingering illnesses to be passed onto the children at the daycare.

First Aid and CPR Training:

Most states will require you to be CPR certified and have gone through at least one first aid class in order to open an in-home daycare. A first aid and CPR certification can be obtained by taking a training course with a state-approved health organization. Once the class is over, you’ll have to take a practical examination. If you pass, you’ll obtain your CPR/first aid certification. Even if it is not required by your state, you should still get this training. When taking care of children, it will come in handy, and it will look good to put it on your website.

Educational Background:

Generally, you will need a high school diploma or a GED. For some states, they require an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, the degree would be in childcare education or development. You could also take a childcare management class. In this class, they’ll teach you everything you will need to know about running a daycare, and focuses on business management, budgeting, and organization. You’ll learn about child growth and development, family communication, and nutrition. The best part about this class is they’ll walk you through the state’s requirements for gaining certification. 


In order to obtain licensing some states will require you to have home daycare insurance while others will only require standard business liability insurance. Yes, there is a difference between the two. Home daycare insurance is specifically designed with daycare services in mind whereas business liability insurance will be more general. Business liability won’t cover all the services required of a daycare. 


If you are eligible to go through with the licensing process, your next step is to contact the department of child welfare or a similar agency in your area. If you are sending an email, make sure to ask them for a home daycare information packet. Once you’ve read over the packet, then you can sign up for a licensing orientation. A large majority of states will require you to attend a licensing orientation. After the orientation you can fill out the daycare license application. With your application you will need to submit your medical records, a background check, child abuse clearances, and any other information your state specifically requires. The orientation is where you’ll schedule a home inspection.

Home Inspection:

A home inspection is required when running an in-home daycare. This inspection is to prove your home meets environment safety and cleanliness requirements. It’s also to check and see if you’ve been maintaining fire and smoke alarms, along with other emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers. Some states may ask you to childproof your home in order to meet expectations. You will also need to have a fence in the backyard and if you have a pool, there should be a fence around it. 

Gaining Your License:

Once you’ve completed all the steps above and have been approved, you’ll be granted your license. You’ll officially be able to start your in-home daycare. Some states will give you a six-month provisional license to start. After the six months, you’ll be able to get your official license. 

Keeping to Standard:

If you want to keep your license, you’ll have to keep your in-home daycare up to a certain standard. As mentioned previously, every state is a little bit different in these guidelines. Some states will specifically limit you in the number of children you can have at the daycare. Others will have specific guidelines about making policies, hiring, and keep records at the daycare. No matter where you live, these guidelines are put in place to guarantee a safe environment for the children.

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