Gateways Credentials Overview

Are you considering applying for a Gateways Credential? Gateways Credentials are symbols of professional achievement that validate knowledge, skills and experience. They are an individual achievement that you can be proud of.

Gateways credentials are awarded and recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development. They are required for varying Circles of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois and can be used as a prerequisite of employment in early learning programs.

Below is a list of Credentials offered by Gateways. You can click each credential title to see specific information about applying, requirements, and the forms you will need.

ECE Credentials

Illinois Director Credential

Infant Toddler Credential Levels 2-5

School-Age & Youth Development Credential

Family Child Care Credential Levels 2-5

Family Specialist Credential Levels 2-5

Technical Assistance Credential Pilot


How to Apply:

  1. Become a Gateways Registry member.
  2. Decide whether you will apply via the Direct Route or the Entitled Route for a credential. 
  3. Download the Direct or Entitled Route Credentials Supplement Application.
  4. Fill out the Supplement Application and the Information Update Form.
  5. Enclose payment if required (see supplement applications for details).
  6. Mail these documents to:

    1226 Towanda Plaza
    Bloomington, IL 61701

  7. Request your official transcripts be sent to Gateways from any accredited college or university you attended. If INCCRRA already has official transcripts on file you do not need to resend.

What to Anticipate:

  • Your application is processed. 
  • You are sent a Welcome Email providing you next steps.
  • You are assigned a Credentials Counselor to help you through the process. 
  • A transcript review is completed.
  • Your counselor will let you know if additional training, coursework or information is needed. 
    • If you do not meet credential requirements, your counselor will work with you to identify training, coursework, or additional information needed to obtain a credential. Your application can remain in a pending status for up to five years while additional requirements are met. 
  • Once credential requirements are met you will be found eligible.


Credential Applicant Flowchart - This document outlines the Gateways Credential process, from figuring out which credential to apply for to receiving your credential!

Director's Credential Toolkit  - This document helps directors and applicants answer questions that are sure to arise during the credential process. From support through the Gateways Credential process to motivating others, this resource has information for anyone going through or helping others through the Credential process.



Gateways to Opportunity is funded by public and private support including the McCormick Foundation, the Grand Victoria Foundation,    

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