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There aren't enough teachers for child care and early learning programs right now. Work-based learning can help programs hire and retain great teachers. Work-based learning lets programs employ teachers while they go to school.

Here are some ways to use work-based learning to find and keep teachers:

  • Hire high school or college students as interns or assistant teachers which may count toward classroom teacher-to-child ratios.
  • Help child care teachers who are currently attending school find scholarships.
  • Create or join a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Learn more about work-based learning opportunities in Module 7: Professional Development and Business Opportunities, Part 1 of Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) Child Care Workforce Support Series


Many high school career programs and college programs have students interested in working in child care. You can contact these programs to help identify interested candidates.

High School Career & Technical Education

Through High School Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs of study, students can earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. For more information about the CDA credential, see this flyer.

You can use the CTE Mapping Application to find high schools in your area that offer Early Learning CTE programs.

You can find more information about how high school students can count toward your teacher-to-child ratios in the Child Care Minimum Standards (page 73).

College Early Childhood Education Courses

Colleges offer College Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses that require students to work in an early childhood setting. Contact college department heads to let them know you want to accept these students.

For more information about ECE associate and bachelor’s degrees, see Texas Association for the Education of Young Children.

Help with College for Child Care Teachers

Teachers who are working and going to school may face financial burdens. Connect them with scholarship programs, such as the T.E.A.C.H. program. T.E.A.C.H. offers scholarships to students working in child care programs and pursuing further education in early childhood education.

To shorten the time it takes to get a degree, some colleges count coursework from a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential towards an associate degree. And some colleges count credits from an associate degree towards a bachelor's degree. Different colleges have different policies on credit transfers. You can learn more by contacting the college.

These colleges may count CDA coursework towards an associate or bachelor’s degree: 

  • Angelina College
  • Austin Community College
  • Central Texas College
  • Collin County College
  • Dallas College
  • Houston Community College
  • Lamar Institute of Technology
  • McLennan Community College
  • Odessa College
  • San Antonio College 
  • San Jacinto College 
  • South Texas College
  • Tarleton State University
  • Tarrant County College
  • Texas A&M at San Antonio

Note: This list is current as of January 2023. Other colleges may also accept credits from a CDA. If you have questions about a college’s CDA policy, please contact the college.

Early Childhood Registered Apprenticeship Programs

A flow chart showing how Apprenticeships are helpful and beneficial to your life.YouTube Thumbnail with the Texas Workforce Commission logo for the Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program in Texas

Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) help child care & early learning programs by:

  • Hiring,
  • Training, and;
  • Keeping good teachers.

RAPs link on-the-job learning with college instruction to help teachers build their skills. They allow child care teachers to work and advance their careers at the same time. RAPs provide mentorship from experienced educators to support the learning process.

RAPs can place apprentices at high-quality sites like Pre-K Partnership classrooms and Texas Rising Star programs. You can use the Texas Child Care Availability Portal to find Texas Rising Star programs in your area.

The following RAPs currently receive TWC funding for planning and/or implementation:

The following RAP previously received TWC funding for planning and/or implementation:

If you are interested in creating a RAP, the following resources can help you:

If you need help to develop an Early Childhood RAP, you can also email

Sign up to get email updates on new Early Childhood RAPs in your area.