High quality early learning opportunities require that teachers have specialized training in Early Childhood Education and/or Child Development. The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education supports the development of a strong teacher workforce by offering scholarship opportunities. 

About the Scholarship

  • This scholarship provides recipients with the necessary credentials to obtain a job in First Class Pre-K.
  • This scholarship is for qualified child care professionals working in early childhood centers/programs (i.e. child care, Head Start, faith-based, Title I, First Class); priority is given to child care professionals in First Class pre-K settings
  • The scholarship is funded through the Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Applicants can obtain a CDA, AAS, BS in Child Development or Early Childhood Education, or additional classwork that is required by the Department of Early Childhood Education, from an accredited in-state institution, in order to teach in a First Class Pre-K classroom.
  •  Applicants are encouraged to apply for other financial aid (i.e. Pell grant, TEACH, Leadership) that must be used PRIOR to Work Force Development scholarship funds.
  • This scholarship may pay for students to take the same class only 1 time


  • Applicant has to live in Alabama
  • Applicant has to be working in an early childhood education setting
  • Applicant must attend an accredited college/university in Alabama
  • Award based on eligibility of funds

Application Requirements

  • Provide a completed application and verifications of residency and employment in early childhood in Alabama
  • Be employed in early childhood program
  • Apply for college admission, complete all admission requirements and receive a letter of acceptance from the institutions

Participation Requirements

  • Students receiving a DECE scholarship must send scholarship administrator a copy of the course registration form in order for DECE to send monies to the institution prior to drop/add registration date
  • Maintain 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average in general education classes and at least a 3.0 in specialized coursework
  • Scholarship recipients must submit their grades to the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education at the end of each semester. If an applicant receives a “D”, “F”, or “incomplete” for the semester, the applicant must repay funding that was awarded through the scholarship or pay for a required subsequent course
  • Students must follow college procedures and deadlines for withdrawing from courses. Scholarship recipients must notify the scholarship administrator at DECE if withdrawal is done after the last date for drop/add registration.
  • If recipients are unable to attend classes for valid reasons, a letter must be submitted to the scholarship administrator at DECE to avoid repayment of tuition to DECE

Application Instructions

  • All applicants must meet the ADECE criteria for the Work Force Development Scholarship.
  • Applicants who meet the criteria may access the Work Force Development Scholarship at the following link:


  • Applicants will need to have available the following items to complete the scholarship application:
    • Mailing address of your place of employment.
    • Name, phone number, and email address of a contact person at the College or University where you plan to use your scholarship.
    • Copy of the tuition bill for the course(s) you will be taking with the scholarship. (This may be uploaded as scanned document, a PDF document, or a photograph.)
    • Copy of the bill for your books and course materials to be paid by the scholarship. (This may be uploaded as scanned document, a PDF document, or a photograph.)
    • Copy of your class schedule. (This may be uploaded as scanned document, a PDF document, or a photograph.)
  • After applicants complete and submit the application on line, the scholarship administrator (Dr. Trellis Smith) will begin the approval process.
  • If the application is approved, the applicant will be notified and the college/university asked to electronically sign a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • After the Memorandum of Understanding is signed by all required parties, the payment process will begin and funds for the applicant will be forwarded to the college/university in which the applicant is enrolled.


For Additional Information:

Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
Scholarship Administrators – Dr. Trellis Smith and/or Ms. Theresa Patterson
P.O. Box 302755
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Phone: (334) 353-2700
Email:trellis.smith@ece.alabama.gov; theresa.patterson@ece.alabama.gov