Becoming an Entitled Institution

Gateways to Opportunity Credentials are awarded and recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development. Specific credentials are placed in DCFS licensing, required for varying Circles of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois, and are used as a prerequisite of employment in the field of early learning and development. 

To become an Entitled Institution, an accredited college or university aligns their coursework to the Gateways Credentials. To become entitled, you must review and complete the Gateways Credential Entitlement Application, and submit it to the Higher Education Liaison for review and approval through a state process. The Liaison can answer any questions you have and offer technical assistance throughout the entitlement process.

There are seven Gateways Credentials a higher education institution can become entitled to offer. Included for each Credential is a list of the Content Areas on which it was built.

If you are interested in receiving an entitlement application for the ECE, Infant Toddler, Illinois Director, Family Child Care, Family Specialist, Technical Assistance, or School Age and Youth Development Credential please contact Julie Lindstrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.