In order to better protect the children in daycare and the caregivers themselves, the State of Texas sets forth specific mandates regarding clock hours. With so many trainings available to caregivers throughout the year, it leaves many employees wondering what are clock hours and how many are needed?
If you provide care to children at a daycare in Texas, you will be required to obtain clock hours to assist with your professional development and ability to provide higher levels of care. By learning what kinds of training count for clock hours and requirements for a certificate, caregivers can plan ahead more effectively to obtain the required hours needed.
What Are Clock Hours?
According to the Texas Minimum Standards for Child Care, providers must annually complete relevant and age-specific training for those that they care for. It is a way of ensuring best practices are learned and implemented at childcare facilities across the state and to help caregivers keep abreast of the most recent information available regarding social emotional development, brain development, learning techniques, and health and safety.
Clock hours must be carefully documented and can include learning opportunities such as participating in:
- Instructor-led training: This type of training is most often in the form of a workshop, seminar, conference, or early childhood instructor-led training in which presenters interact with event participants.
- Self-instructional training: In contrast, self-instructional training typically refers to valid professional development done by an individual alone and at their own pace to complete learning modules which contain information and quizzes for comprehension.
- Self-study training: Of all the types of clock hour training, this is perhaps the least standardized and is usually comprised of written or visual sessions needed for annual training.
To ensure that caregivers are well rounded in the material they learn from clock hour courses, the state does place requirements on how many clock hours can come from each category. These numbers can change, so it is advised to refer to Texas Health and Human Services for the most up to date data.
Annual Clock Hour Requirements for Caregivers in Texas
In order for clock hours to be valid and recognized by the state, they must meet specific conditions. For example, to meet state standards these continuing education opportunities must be provided by:
- an entity properly registered with the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System Training Registry which is maintained by the Texas Head Start Collaboration Office
- a qualified early childhood development instructor or a similarly qualified position from a secondary or higher education institution that is accredited by a valid accrediting agency
- a state agency employee with relevant expertise
- a physician or registered nurse
- a psychologist or licensed professional counselor
- a social worker
- an individual who is credentialed or has documented knowledge pertinent to the training they are providing
- a childcare center director with industry knowledge that is instructing their own staff (this option requires the center not to have been on probation, suspension, or revocation for at least the previous two years)
- a person with a minimum of two years’ experience in child development, early education, or a Head Start Program that is credentialed as a Child Development Associate, or has an associate degree in a related field
For the training session itself to be valid, it must incorporate the following:
- specifically stated course objectives
- a curriculum that incorporates applied or experiential activities
- evaluation and assessment tools for measuring comprehension and retention of information that meets course objectives
- a completion certificate provided by the approved trainer
Subject Matter Requirements for Annual Clock Hours
In addition to meeting the above requirements set forth by Texas Health and Human Services Department regarding annual clock hour trainings, there are also specific mandates regarding subject matter, including:
- 24 clock hours must be relevant to the age the caregivers are caring for (these may not include courses that meet other requirements such as pre-service training, orientation, and pediatric first aid and CPR training)
- 6 clock hours of training must address age-appropriate curriculum, child growth and development, guidance and discipline, and teacher-child interaction
- 1 clock hour of training must focus on the recognition, prevention, and reporting of child maltreatment (i.e. risk factors for abuse and neglect, warning signs of abuse and neglect, how to report child abuse or neglect, local organizations with abuse programs)
For caregivers who provide care to children younger than twenty-four months, at least one clock hour of annual training hours should focus on recognizing and preventing shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma, understanding safe sleep practices and preventing SIDS, and understanding early childhood brain development.
What to Know About Certificates of Completion for Clock Hours
A certificate of completion for a clock hour must involve specific components such as the following in order to be considered by the state:
- the participant’s name
- training date
- title and/or subject of the training
- trainer’s name or the source of information used for self-instructional training
- trainer’s qualifications
- length of training in clock hours
Upon receiving a certificate of completion for one or more clock hours, childcare workers should provide their employer with the original certificate. However, the worker is strongly encouraged to keep a copy of that certificate for their own record keeping should there be an issue.
Proper training and adequate clock hours are important for keeping children safe and protected while in licensed daycare facilities.