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8 Free Online Childcare Training Courses with Certificates

Free online childcare training courses with certificates can help educators elevate their expertise and learn new techniques to keep children safe and healthy.

8 Free Online Childcare Training Courses with Certificates

8 Free Online Childcare Training Courses with Certificates

Online childcare training courses are a convenient way to learn new skills or refine existing ones. Expanding your knowledge can help you acquire new techniques to help keep children safe and healthy and create a high-quality, inclusive program. Below we explore the best free online childcare training courses with certificates.

Ongoing asynchronous professional development 

As a childcare center director, it's important to offer professional development opportunities to your staff to help improve their skills and boost children's learning outcomes. This continuing education in the form of seminars, workshops, courses, conferences, or online training, can support your teachers in their career development. Teachers can be exposed to the latest education trends and acquire new skills to become more effective educators.

As part of your center's ongoing professional development initiatives, you can offer budget-friendly, online training courses for staff to choose from based on their individual needs and have them complete it from the convenience of the center or home asynchronously as part of their professional development requirements. While every state has different requirements for childcare staff training, such as a certain number of in-service training hours per year, there are many valuable training resources available that can greatly benefit your staff beyond what's required.

With brightwheel, you can easily record your staff's training hours and certifications with our all-in-one childcare management software. Streamline your center's admissions process, save time on administrative tasks, and enable your staff to build deeper relationships with families. 

For example, you may have teachers at your center who are working toward their Childhood Development Associate (CDA) credential or need additional continuing education unit (CEU) hours to renew their credential each year. Depending on your center's budget, you may choose to cover the entire cost of training or pay for a percentage of training costs every year for your teachers. However, there are also a number of free training resources to take advantage of that offer helpful information and continuing education credits. Prioritizing your staff's professional growth will show that you value them and are committed to their careers, which can boost employee engagement and retention

You can also use your ongoing staff evaluations as opportunities to check in on your teachers’ progress towards their growth goals. By using this time to discuss their professional development, and not just their work performance, you’ll reinforce your commitment to helping them become the best early educator they can be.

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Free online childcare training courses with certificates

You don't have to spend a lot of money to learn new skills that can be applied in an early education setting. Below are several resources to help you advance your skills.

1. Trauma-informed care and the pyramid model

ProSolutions Training offers a free childcare training course on trauma-informed care and applying these practices to the pyramid model.

"Trauma-informed Care and the Pyramid Model" can be completed in five hours. The course offers a free certificate of completion and 0.50 continuing education credits.

2. Recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse

ProSolutions Training offers a free childcare training course that teaches educators how to recognize signs of child abuse, the importance of reporting suspected abuse, and how to identify children who may be at higher risk of being abused or neglected. 

“Recognizing and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse” can be completed in two hours. The course offers a free certificate of completion and 0.20 continuing education credits.

3. Classroom WISE

The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network partners with the National Center for School Mental Health to offer Classroom WISE (Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators).

Classroom WISE consists of several modules to choose from that are self-paced and can be completed in five hours. The course offers a free certificate of completion once completed.

The training description specifies the online courses is for K-12 educators, but it deserves a notable mention as many early learning centers include kindergarten readiness programs or a kindergarten class. 

4. Obesity prevention training

Bright Futures offers the free online course "One Step at a Time: Helping Young Children Be Physically Active!" One Step at a Time is a self-guided obesity prevention training course for childcare educators.

The course curriculum consists of three modules. The first module discusses why it's essential for young children to be physically active and explains how much physical activity young children need. The second module covers how childcare providers can promote physical activity in their programs, and the third module gives tips on how to work with families to help encourage children's physical activity.

You can complete the obesity prevention training course in one hour. After completing the self-assessment quizzes at the end of each module, you can download a free certificate of completion. You can also apply for one continuing education hour from your state.

Children exercising in preschool classroom


5. Pediatric first aid

First Aid for Free offers a free online course that teaches you first aid for infants and young children.

The pediatric first aid course curriculum consists of two modules. The first introductory module covers lifesaving skills such the recovery position for unconscious and breathing children and babies, CPR, and what to do in the event of choking. The second module covers common medical conditions including meningitis, asthma, and croup.

The self-guided pediatric first aid course includes a quiz at the end of each module. In addition, educators receive a free certificate once they complete the course units. 

Since this module is self-guided, the time frame depends on how quickly the module and quiz are completed.

6. Watch Me! Celebrating milestones and sharing concerns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free training course that teaches early childhood educators how to monitor children’s progress toward developmental milestones and discuss children’s progress with their families. This course includes a free certificate of completion. After completing the course, educators can earn training credit by completing an evaluation and passing a post-test with at least an 80% score.

This course:  

  • Explains the importance of monitoring children’s development
  • Describes educators’ role in monitoring children’s development
  • Explains how to monitor children’s developmental milestones and discuss findings with children’s parents

7. Social and emotional competence of children

ProSolutions Training offers a free childcare training course that teaches educators how social and emotional competence in children can make it less likely for children to be mistreated.  

“Social and Emotional Competence of Children” can be completed in two hours. The course offers a free certificate of completion but doesn’t offer continuing education credits.

8. Playing outdoors

Care Courses offers a free childcare training course that teaches educators about the benefits of outdoor play for young children. 

“Playing Outdoors” teaches educators:

  • The year-round benefits of outdoor play
  • How to recognize outdoor environments and activities that encourage young children to explore their environment

“Playing Outdoors” can be completed in one hour. The course offers a free certificate of completion and 0.1 continuing education credits.

Woman holding baby arms out


9. Working with children with special educational needs (free with a paid certificate)

Global Text Project offers a free Alison course that teaches childcare professionals how to work with children with special educational needs. The course also teaches childcare providers the core elements of special education and the roles and responsibilities of educators.

This course describes the most common disabilities educators encounter in the classroom and explains how to develop an individual educational plan (IEP) for students with special educational needs.

"Working with Students with Special Educational Needs" can be completed in approximately three hours. The course offers a certificate of completion for $21.44 that you can download as a PDF. You can also buy a printed copy of your certificate for $27 and a framed copy for $37.

Gain the skills to succeed by enrolling in an online childcare training course

Enrolling in an online childcare training course is a convenient way to gain the skills you need to excel as a childcare educator. Earning a childcare training certificate proves that you have the skills to ensure the well-being of the children in your care and that your childcare center prides itself on hiring staff that knows how to keep children safe and healthy.

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

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