What is the Practitioner Registry?

Statewide registries across the county work 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 on an individual's verified professional achievements. Registries provide important data about the workforce to help raise the status of early care and education as a viable and unique profession in our society, and advocate for better compensation for the field. 

We invite you to apply to The Practitioner Registry to recognize your experience, education, and training in the field of early care and education through your work with young children and families.

How do I apply?

First you will create an account. Once you have completed that step and signed in, you can 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. Please see the Practitioner Registry User Guide below if you would like more detailed instructions.

Practitioner Registry User Guide

Annual renewal on the Registry

You will remain current on the Registry until the expiration date on your certificate. You will receive several email reminders to renew. Be sure to check your Professional Development Record (PDR) throughout the year to make sure you are completing the 16 hours of required annual training. Check out the Statewide Training Calendar to find training to meet your needs in your region.

Early childhood education college courses (courses with the EDEC rubric in Montana) will count toward your renewal hours if you are a student at a regionally accredited college or university (1 semester credit = 15 hours of training, 1 quarter credit = 10 hours of training.) If you are current on the Registry, coursework will be added to your PDR when provide your transcript at renewal.

User Guide on renewing your Practitioner Registry application

Tips for remaining current on the Practitioner Registry

How are my annual training hours for the Practitioner Registry calculated?

If you are submitting your application before your expiration date, hours are calculated from the date you submitted your application last year to the date you submit your application for the current year. If you are submitting your application late, your hours will be calculated 12 months prior to your current submission date. If you do not submit a completed application with all required documentation, your application will not be processed, and you will not become current on the Practitioner Registry.

Guide to calculating training hours

Career Path

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 by providing a framework for recording and recognizing experience, training, and educational accomplishments. Anyone developing a plan for professional growth in early care and education can chart a course on the Career Path.

Information about high school equivalency requirement

Professional Development Record (PDR)

What is a Professional Development Record?

All individuals on the Practitioner Registry or who work in state licensed or registered programs have access to their PDR. Your Professional Development Record will track ECP approved training. College coursework completed while you are current on the Registry will also be added to your record.

How do I find my Professional Development Record?

Click on My Professional Development Record at the top of the page. Please see the the Professional Development User Guide below if you would like more detailed instructions.

Professional Development Record User Guide


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
  • Preschools
  • 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

How do I reset my password for my account?

User Guide on resetting your password

How do I access and print my Registry certificate?

User Guide on printing your Registry certificate

How do I access and submit forms required for my Registry application?

See the user guide below for where to find Registry forms. All forms must be uploaded to your Registry application. See the user guide below for detailed instructions on how to upload documents. Please email ecp@montana.edu if you are having trouble uploading.

User Guide on finding Registry forms

User Guide on uploading documents

What credits are accepted as early childhood/child development for the Practitioner Registry?

All credits and degrees must be from regionally accredited colleges and universities. All courses must be completed with a letter grade of C or better. Pass/Fail classes will not count for credits. For requirements that include 12 semester college credits, those early childhood credits can fall in any knowledge base area below. For requirements that include 20 semester college credits, those early childhood credits must fall within six of the areas below with four required areas noted with an *(asterick):

Early Childhood Credit List

  • Child Growth and Development*
  • Environmental Design
  • Diversity
  • Health and Well-being
  • Family and Community Partnerships*
  • Curriculum*
  • Child Guidance*
  • Observation, Documentation & Assessment
  • Program Management
  • Professionalism

How do I know if my credits/degrees are from accredited institutions?

Credits and degrees must be from regionally accredited colleges or universities to be added to your education record on the Registry. The US Department of Education manages a database for institutional accreditation here. For more information on higher education accreditation, please contact the Early Childhood Project.

You can find information on Montana colleges and universities here.

What if I do not agree with the Career Path level I have been assigned?

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 complete the appeal application. Appeal review and decisions can take up to three months.

Practitioner Registry Appeal Application

Practitioner Registry Appeal Employment History Form

What is the ECP's privacy policy?

Early Childhood Project-Privacy Policy

Early Childhood Project-MSU
PO Box 173540
Bozeman, MT 59717

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