Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can become an apprentice?
- What topics does ACDS training cover?
- Why do you have to be working to enter the program?
- What kind of recognition is received when the program is completed?
- Can ACDS training be counted as credits toward a college degree?
- When do I get my college credits and how many do I get?
- Is ACDS training counted toward a four-year degree?
- Why should employers participate?
- How many people have benefited from the program?
- Who should I contact if I need to cancel a class?
- Can we hold two classes per week in order to catch up?
- Do we have money for graduation? Who pays for pins?
- Are family providers allowed to take ACDS classes?
- How do you become an ACDS instructor?
- What is the payment process for instructors?
- Are there classroom resources available for instructors to use?
- Where can I get the most recent forms?
- How can I get information on a local representative?
- Are there opportunities for journeypersons?
- I am a journeyperson, but I never received any ACDS information. What should I do?
- Are there established time frames stating when classes need to begin or end?
- I am a director and want to learn about my roles and responsibilities as a sponsor. How can I find out this information?
- Where do I get certificate of completion forms?
- I recently began working at a different child care center. Are there any forms for me to complete?
A person can enroll in the Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist program if working full time providing care for children in a supervised setting. The person must be motivated to further their career in early care and education and make a commitment to the program. The ACDS program offers the apprentice increased job security, possible wage increases and the opportunity to earn college credit.
ACDS classroom training covers the following topics:
- Role of early childhood professional
- Child development
- Observation skills
- Developmentally appropriate curriculum
- Health and safety
- Positive guidance
- Effective communication
The Apprenticeship model is based on the idea that adults learn best when there is a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Providers who participate in the program can practice what they learn at work, in a supervised environment. An apprentice can have practical experiences about such things as
- observing children
- classroom management
- partnering with families
- communicating with staff
- practicing first aid, health and safety
- advocating for children
- community involvement
- teaching children in the child care environment
Upon completion of the training program, an apprentice receives a nationally recognized certificate as a Child Care Development Specialist from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Community and Technical Colleges/Divisions of the following institutions currently offer credit toward the Associated in Applied Science degree for ACDS graduates who enroll in the college program:
- Marshall University
- WV State College
- Shepherd College
- Fairmont State College
- Bluefield State College
- WVU at Parkersburg
- Potomac State College
- Northern Community College
- Glenville State College
- Southern Community College
After you take the required basic classes from your community college, the credits from ACDS will appear on your transcript.
Negotiations are in progress with Marshall University and Fairmont State College for credit toward the four-year program.
Employers who supervise apprentices have a lot to gain by their involvement in the program. Their workers will become more competent. Support will reduce turnover and help to retain qualified staff. By employing well-trained, consistent providers the quality of the child care program will be enhanced and the program will become more marketable.
More than 4,000 young children and their families have benefited from staff participation in the registered ACDS program.
All the apprentices need as much notice as possible. A phone tree for getting the word to all apprentices would be helpful as well as a preset policy of what will happen if a class has to be canceled. Your state coordinator, Sherrie Myers (304-523-0433), should be notified. Before canceling class, try to find an instructor in your area who can sub for you.
ACDS Policy is one class per week. Apprentices need to have enough time to do all their homework, observations, etc. It is a good idea to build an extra day into your syllabus just in case you have to cancel class for bad weather. Then if you don't need to use it, your apprentices will feel like they got out early.
There is no state money for graduation or pins unless the county decides to use a minigrant for these purposes. Many apprentices pay for their own share of graduation or their directors might pay for their part. Graduation can be as simple as punch and cake or dinner for the whole family. It could be covered dish, etc., whatever the apprentices choose to do.
Family providers can take classes if they can find someone who can mentor them (visit them twice/month, sign their JT logs and their evaluations). This is a system we are working on right now.
To become an instructor, you must submit an application, be accepted and take a 5 day academy. To qualify, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood, child development or elementary education and have at least 1 year's experience working directly with children.
At the beginning of the semester each instructor signs a contract and submits it to the ACDS office. At the end of the semester after registration forms have been submitted to the ACDS office as well as evaluations and an invoice, a check is written from the RVCDS office and sent to the instructor.
Each county has a central library with resource materials including a doll, videos, books and children's books. Each instructor has a copy of the student textbooks, the instructor reference book, the curriculum and resource manuals for each semester.
All the forms are on the website, at www.wvacds.org. After the home page is opened, click on "Reference Manual" in the top bar, click the category that best fits your position for a form listing.
Call the ACDS office at 1-800-WVA-ACDS or email Sherrie Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twice each year there are all day seminars available free of charge to any journeyperson.
Contact the ACDS office and request a form to complete to get on the mailing list.
Classes can start and end whenever the county chooses as long as the classes are held for 15 weeks.
You can attend a workshop at any of the state wide conferences, including Celebrating Connections, Huntington Area Early Childhood Conference, WVAYC or you can contact the ACDS office and ask for information.
These forms are sent by the Department of Labor to the sponsor of each registered program. It is up to the sponsor to complete this form when each apprentice completes all their classwork and their required OJT hours.
There is a change of status form that you can get from your instructor, or call the ACDS office, or go on the website. The form should be completed and given to your instructor.