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Child Care Apprenticeship

JULY 2024 Cohort Application is Now Open

Applications are being accepted until MAY 15, 2024.

Earn while you learn in Harford Community College's online child care apprenticeship program.

Open to all Maryland residents, this 18-month online program is designed to be completed while working full-time in licensed Maryland child care facility. Those who are accepted into the apprenticeship but not currently working are matched to a participating employer for hiring.

Participants start as an aide and work under a mentor who provides on-the-job training. Raises are built into the schedule and apprentices complete classes in a child development, early childhood education, and child health and safety.

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Take the Online Readiness Check to determine if online courses are a good fit for you.

Details about the Child Care Apprenticeship

Terms of Apprenticeship

The Child Care Apprenticeship is an 18-month program. By submitting this application, you are agreeing to complete all required training over this 18-month period. All training will consist of asynchronous online classes except for CPR, first aid, and medication administration. CPR, first aid, and medication administration will be held in person at Harford Community College on Saturdays. If you have already completed a required training from another provider, you may be eligible for credit for that specific training. For credit for previous training, submit your unexpired certificate to Jennifer John at least 30 days prior to the scheduled start date of the training.

Apprentices must maintain full-time employment with a participating early childhood program in Maryland throughout the 18-month apprenticeship. Apprentices must complete 1,000 work hours for every six months of the apprenticeship. Prior work experience may be submitted to assist in meeting that requirement. Documentation of prior work experience in a Maryland licensed childcare program should be submitted within 60 days of admission to the apprenticeship program. Apprentices whose employment is terminated for any reason should immediately contact Jennifer John. Apprentices whose employment was terminated but who continue to be eligible for employment in childcare will be aided with obtaining employment from another participating employer.

Within the first four months of the apprenticeship, apprentices must apply to Maryland's Child Care Credentialing program. Apprentices are expected to keep their credentials current throughout the apprenticeship.


The following certificates are completed during the Child Care Apprenticeship:

  • 90-hour Preschool
  • 90-hour Infant & Toddler
  • 90-hour School-Age
  • 45-hour Child Care Administration
  • Medication Administration
  • Including All Children and the ADA
  • CPR & First Aid
  • 9-hour Communication Skills
  • Basic Health & Safety

Those who hold a current certificate do not need to retake these courses. Apprentices who have taken equivalent courses at another institution may be able to receive credit for that work. Contact the program coordinator for more information.


Minimum criteria for admission to the childcare apprenticeship:

  • Maryland Resident
  • At least age 18 (17-year-olds may be considered if they will turn 18 prior to the end of the apprenticeship)
  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED®
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Be able to pass a medical evaluation and be cleared to work with children
  • Be able to pass a background check to work with children (fingerprinting and child protective services check)

There are a limited number of slots in each apprenticeship cohort. Meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee admission; the most highly qualified applicants will be accepted into each cohort. 


All applicants are required to be employed while in the apprenticeship program.

  • No experience is necessary.
  • Individuals accepted into the apprenticeship are matched to a participating employer for hiring.
  • Individuals currently working for a participating employer may also apply for the apprenticeship.
  • Apprentices receive a raise every six months provided they are successfully completing the apprenticeship.
  • Apprentices are encouraged to work with the same employer throughout the apprenticeship but may apply to work with a different, participating employer.
  • Apprentices must complete 3,000 hours of employment over the course of the 18-month apprenticeship. Prior work experience may be used to meet this requirement as long as apprentices are working full-time during the apprenticeship program.
  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) provides grant funding that covers costs for apprentices.
    Note: Funding is dependent upon receipt of MSDE grant.
  • The grant requires apprentices to continue to work in licensed child care in Maryland for a specified time after successful completion of the apprenticeship program.
  • Applicants who choose to participate in the grant must sign a separate grant agreement after being accepted into the apprenticeship program.
  • Those choosing to complete these courses at an alternate location may do so but they will not be paid for through the MSDE grant.
Additional Supports
  • Apprentices are supported by Harford Community College through site visits, networking, and support
  • Apprentices are supported by their employer through a mentoring relationship with an experienced teacher.
  • The College's teacher education faculty and staff assist apprentices in successfully navigating the coursework and assist apprentices with their application to the Maryland Child Care Credentialing program. This program provides funding for future training and bonuses to some child care employees.
  • Apprentices interested in continuing their education after completion of the apprenticeship receive support from the College in applying for the CCCPDF grant which covers 100% of tuition, books, and fees for select child care providers. 
  • Apprentices are eligible to articulate up to 21 credits toward an Early Childhood AAS or AAT degree program after successfully completing the apprenticeship and one 3-credit course with a C or better.
Application Process

Applications for the JUL 2024 cohort are being accepted until MAY 15, 2024.

Complete this application and submit it electronically, along with the required supporting documentation. If you experience technical difficulties with the submission process, contact Jennifer John for assistance.

Applications for the cohort starting in July 2024 are being accepted until May 15, 2024. Applications received after this date may be accepted if space allows or may be retained for consideration for a future cohort. Applicants accepted into the apprenticeship must go through the hiring process with a participating employer including the completion of a fingerprint-based background check, child protective services check and submission of a medical evaluation. Apprentices are expected to begin full-time employment no later than the start of the apprenticeship. Apprentices are expected to schedule interviews and complete the hiring process in accordance with this timeline.

All selected apprentices will have to sign an apprenticeship agreement further detailing the rights and responsibilities of apprentices.

Contact Jennifer John with questions about the apprenticeship or the application process.

  1. Complete an online application online. Application for the JUL 2024 cohort is open until MAY 15, 2024.
  2. Applicants are screened using a name-based criminal background check (Maryland Judiciary Case Search). Individuals unlikely to pass a fingerprint check will be removed from the applicant pool.
  3. Applicants are contacted to set up a virtual interview.
  4. The top 25 applicants are selected.
  5. Apprentices are matched to employers to complete the hiring process (unless currently employed by a participating employer).
  6. Apprentices sign an apprenticeship agreement, register for classes, and sign a grant application (if requesting grant funding).
  7. Apprentices begin work by JUL 2024.

NOTE: Deadline may be extended if space allows.

Additional Information for the Application

Definitions of Race

  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa
  • Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa
  • Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands

Harford Community College does not discriminate in its employment practices or in its educational programs or activities on the basis of sex/gender. Harford Community College also prohibits retaliation against any person opposing discrimination or participating in any discrimination investigation or complaint process internally or externally. Reports of misconduct, questions regarding Title IX, and concerns about noncompliance should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. For a complete copy of the policy or for more information, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at Harford Community College using the contact information provided in this link ( or the Assistant Secretary of Education within the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) by emailing

The College reserves the right to award all degrees or certificates earned.

Harford Community College actively encourages the enrollment of all interested students, and supports the employment of all qualified persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristics protected by law or policies and practices of Harford Community College. All applicants are accepted, although certain restrictions exist for applicants who are concurrently enrolled in high school, under 16 years old, are not U.S. citizens, or are deemed incapable of exhibiting and practicing professional student behavior. The College prohibits the enrollment of individuals listed on the National or Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Sex Offender Registry or with the Harford County Child Advocacy Unit. Individuals with disabilities who request academic accommodations for courses must register with Disability Support Services and must provide a copy of current documentation of the disability. A minimum notice of four weeks may be needed to provide some accommodations. Appointments can be made, and questions answered by calling Disability Support Services, 443.412.2402 or 443.412.2414.

Administrators, faculty, and staff of Harford Community College are committed to fully implementing enrollment as required by specific Acts of Congress and by federal and state regulations. Inquiries regarding compliance may be directed to the Office of Human Resources.


Course Progression

JAN 2023, JUL 2023, and FEB 2024 cohorts are currently in progress.

All courses are delivered in an online, asynchronous format with the exception of Medication Administration and CPR & First Aid that are held in person at Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland.

Child Care Apprenticeship 1
Online  |  $945

  1. Including All Children and the Americans with Disabilities Act
    (3-hour certificate required of all child care employees in Maryland)
  2. 90-Hour Preschool Certificate
    (required of lead teachers of children ages two through five in Maryland)

Child Care Apprenticeship 2a
Saturdays  |  In person  |  $230 + textbook

  1. CPR & First Aid
  2. Medication Administration

Child Care Apprenticeship 2b
Online  |  $730

  1. Communication Skills for Child Care Providers
    (9-hour certificate required of lead teachers)
  2. School-Age Child Care
    (45-hour certificate required of lead teachers of school-age children (before/after school care, not K-12)
  3. Positive Discipline Techniques for Early Childhood Professionals
    (3-hour certificate)
  4. Supporting Children with Challenging Behavior
    (3-hour certificate)

Child Care Apprenticeship 3
Online  |  $945

  1. Infant & Toddler Curriculum
    (45-hour certificate required of lead teachers of children under age two)
  2. Introduction to Child Care Administration
    (45-hour certificate required of administrators)