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Applying for the MD Credential

The Maryland Child Care Credential is a program from MSDE’s Office of Child Care that recognizes and rewards child care providers who go above and beyond minimum licensing standards.

APPLES for Children can help you apply for and maintain your Maryland Child Care Credential. Here are 10 steps to get you started:

  1. Download APPLES for Children’s MD Child Care Credential Packet, a step by step handbook that takes you through the application process. Use this as a resource throughout the process.

  2. Make copies of EITHER a college degree transcript (from any date) OR all workshop and conference certificates from the past 5 years. Make sure workshop and conference certificates include a “Core of Knowledge” area (Child Development; Curriculum; Special Needs; Health, Safety and Nutrition; Community; or Professionalism).

  3. Sort your certificates by Core of Knowledge areas and count the total number of hours in each category.

  4. Refer to page 6 of APPLES MD Child Care Credential Packet and determine which level you can achieve given the amount of training and/or education you currently possess.

  5. Use the chart on page 6 to determine the years of experience and PAUs (Professional Activity Units) you will need for the level at which your training and education qualifies you.

  6. Make a copy of your family child care license (for family child care providers) or ask your supervisor to write you a letter documenting your years of experience (for child care center staff).

  7. Refer to page 11 to find enough Professional Activity Units for the level at which your training and education qualifies you. The most common PAUs are Membership in a Professional Association (1 unit); Responsible for the Food Program (1 unit); 10 years of experience (1 unit); Child Care Resource and Referral Volunteer (2 units); and Successful Completion of 3 college credits (2 units). Find documentation for your PAUs and make copies.

  8. Complete the Credential application. It is a two page application. Page one asks about who you are and lists the documentation you will need to submit with your application. Page two asks you to write an essay answering one of two questions. For tips on writing your essay, see page 12 of APPLES MD Child Care Credential Packet. Sign your application in blue ink.

  9. Put together all of your documentation and your application and MAKE A COPY OF YOUR ENTIRE PACKET for your files.
    Mail the original to
                            MSDE Office of Child Care-Credentialing Branch,
                            200 West Baltimore Street 10th Floor,
                            Baltimore MD 21201.

  10. Plan your continued training and Professional Activity Units for the coming year. Refer to the chart on page 6 of APPLES MD Child Care Credential Packet to determine the number you need to MAINTAIN or the amount you need to increase your current level.

Need help? Contact us at or 301-733-0000 (800-924-9188) with your questions.