Scholarships Available for Early Childhood Care & Education Careers

If you love working with and educating young children, you could receive scholarships and monetary incentives from Bright from the Start, Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) program, that could help you pay for college and earn more money.

Georgia’s DECAL is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families, and the DECAL Scholars program aims to support and reward Early Care and Education staff as they increase their education.

Child Care and Education staff can earn up to 80% tuition assistance, incentive cash bonuses of $1,500 toward a Technical Certificate of Credit, $2,000 towards a Diploma and $3,000 toward an Associate Degree, and incentives of $1,500 or more for continuing their education further.

“These scholarships and monetary awards can help a student with the cost of tuition and other school expenses,” shared Carla Hutchings, Division Chair of Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Early Childhood Care and Education program.

Those currently working in daycare facilities, as assistant Pre-K teachers, Head Start employees, Georgia Lottery Pre-k assistant teachers, or those who are interested in similar careers can also benefit from these services, bettering themselves and increasing their education and salary potential.

“The DECAL Scholars program provides monetary incentives for child care providers as they increase their education,” Hutchings said. “While a person is increasing their education and experience working with children, they are also benefiting by growing their skill level, making them a better child care provider.”

Local communities are also impacted by the child care provider’s decision to continue their education by building a strong local child care system that helps young children grow and develop in the best environment possible, Hutchings shared.  “Parents appreciate being able to choose providers who offer quality, developmentally appropriate care for their children.”

Child care providers participating in the DECAL Scholars program also help their employers achieve the Bright From the Start Quality Rated Child Care status. “Quality Rated, Georgia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System requires evidence of a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) Basics credential and continuing improvement of all staff in any Quality Rated Facility,” Hutchings said. “All employees who work in Quality Rated child care centers are required to obtain a Basics TCC.”

Those interested in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) field can obtain a TCC, diploma and associate degrees in the ECCE field from OFTC which offers ECCE courses in Sandersville, Dublin, Louisville and online.

For more info about ECCE classes at OFTC or about the DECAL Scholars program, visit the College’s website, OFTC.edu or contact Carla Hutchings at 478-240-5164 or Gail Clark at 478-274-7799.