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News from the Early Childhood Project

After an extensive review of CARE courses, which are offered as correspondence courses through the mail and online, the Early Childhood Project and Advisory Board decided that they will no longer be approved for professional development hours in Montana. CARE courses will be accepted for hours until October 31, 2010. No CARE courses completed after October 31, 2010 will be accepted. Professional Development Incentive Awards (formerly Merit Pay) for 2010-2011 will not accept CARE courses. The ECP understands the importance of distance training due to the size of Montana. Thus, the ECP is approving more distance training courses and will post them at Currently, offers online courses that are approved in MT and will be adding courses to their catalog.

Also, the ECP has introduced Professional Development Incentive Awards (PDIA), formerly known as Merit Pay. PDIAs are designed to improve the quality of early care and education for young children and their families through ongoing early childhood training and education. There are two options for PDIAs; applicants may only apply for only one of the two. Both now require a current certificate with The MT Practitioner Registry to apply. Please be advised that Registry applications can take up to 6 weeks to process.

The Professional Development Incentive Award – Higher Ed (formerly Higher Education Merit Pay) There are two award options: $250 for the completion of 2-5 credits and $750 for the completion of a minimum of 6 credits. Applicants are awarded on a priority basis if funding is limited.

The Professional Development Incentive Award (formerly Merit Pay I) There are two tracks available to choose from: 25 hours of training for the award of $200 and 50 hours of training for the award of $400. Applicants are awarded on a priority basis if funding is limited.

Visit for PDIA applications, deadlines, full eligibility requirements, and Professional Development Incentive Award Policy to understand how awards are granted. While visiting the ECP site, be sure to read the most current “Career Choices and Challenges.”