Gateways Training Tiers

The Gateways Training Tiers assist child care practitioners in providing quality care for children and their families. Participation in the training tiers means an individual has taken additional training to help ensure children in their care are receiving an enhanced learning and care experience. Quality care can help children succeed in school and in life. 

Gateways Training Tiers are categorized in three Tiers.  Each Tier includes modules from the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential Level 1 and covers health, safety, nutrition, child development, and much more. The ECE Credential Level 1 consists of 16, 2-hour modules. Modules may be offered in person at your local CCR&R Agency. Modules, in English and Spanish, are also available online at By completing all three training tiers, a provider receives a Gateways ECE Credential Level 1.

Any Illinois child care practitioner, teacher, assistant, etc., can complete the Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential Level 1 modules. However, Gateways Training Tiers represent a quality improvement system for Illinois license-exempt family child care providers. Training completion and Credential attainment recognizes an achievement above State minimum standards for the license-exempt population.  License-exempt family child care providers that complete the specified training are eligible to receive additional compensation if caring for children eligible for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). 
Note: License-exempt family child care is care provided by relatives, friends, or neighbors for a small number or family of children (typically 3 children or less).

Once a license exempt family child care provider has completed the Gateways Training Tiers Orientation and a minimum of Gateways Training Tier 1, an application can be submitted to the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA). Once all three Gateways Training Tiers are completed, the provider receives the Gateways ECE Credential Level 1. If the license-exempt provider cares for children eligible for CCAP, an add-on of 10%-20% (depending on Training Tier completed) takes effect on the following months’ child care services.  Participation in the Gateways Training Tiers is voluntary. Add-ons are not cumulative.

To locate a free Gateways Training Tier Orientation, contact your local CCR&R.

Excelerate Program

ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and in life.

It also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help you make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes for children.