We understand that earning a living in early childhood education can be difficult. This is why the REWARD$ Program was created. The Professional REWARD$ Program is a First Things First statewide initiative offering a financial incentive to child care professionals working with children birth through age 5. Professional REWARD$ is administered by Central Arizona College, Early Childhood Education Department. Before you learn more about Professional REWARD$, take the eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for this program.

2019-2020 Application Cycle

  • Applications are accepted once a year in the fall.  The start date for the application cycle opens October 1, 2019.
  • An applicant is eligible for one (1) REWARD$ incentive payment per fiscal year (July 1st – June 30th)
  • An applicant cannot receive a REWARD$ incentive and an FTF College Scholarship Bonus in the same fiscal year.
  • REWARD$ funding will be prioritized for teachers and reacher assistant positions.

REWARD$ Application Process

If you can answer “Yes” to each statement below, then you have met the eligibility criteria to apply for the  Professional REWARD$ Program.

  1. I have a Registry profile account.
  2. I have submitted official college transcripts to the Registry.
  3. My Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report), Registry Career Lattice Level is “B” or above.
  4. I am at least 18 years of age and lawfully present in the United States.
  5. I am employed at a child care program or family home provider regulated by a Federal, State or Tribal authority and in good standing.
  6. I am employed in one of the following First Things First Regions below. To find out if the program you work at is in one of these regions, click here.
    • Cochise
    • Coconino
    • Graham/Greenlee
    • Navajo Nation
    • San Carlos Apache Tribe
    • White Mountain Apache Tribe
    • Yavapai
  7. I am currently working at least 30 hours per week (teachers, assistant teachers and family child care providers must work directly with children ages birth to 5 years).
  8. I am employed at current place of employment for past 12 consecutive months.
  9. I earn $20 or less per hour based on a 40-hour work week.
  10. My employer is demonstrating a commitment to quality by meeting one of the following criteria:
    • Enrolled in or on the wait list for Quality First or
    • Accredited by a national organization which is recognized by the Department of Education or Department of Economic Security

REWARD$ will utilize each applicant’s Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report) and Registry Career Lattice Level to determine REWARD$ incentive amount (see chart below).

REWARD$ Levels

Career Lattice



Successful completion of coursework with a grade of C or better is required at all levels.





Master’s degree in ECE

Master’s INCLUDING either 30 undergraduate credit hours or 18 graduate credit hours in ECE or a related field



Bachelor’s degree in ECE

Bachelor’s INCLUDING at least 24 credit hours in ECE or a related field



60 College Credits

Associate degree in ECE

Must move to Level F in 4 years or no longer eligible.



HS Diploma PLUS 24 credit hours in ECE or a related field

Current Child Development Associate (CDA)

Certificate of Completion in ECE or a related field

3 Years to move to Level E



HS Diploma PLUS 12 credit hours in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or a related field

3 Years to move to Level D



HS Diploma plus 6 credit hours in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or a related field

2 Years to move to Level C


Please follow the steps below to PREPARE for REWARD$:

  1. Create a Registry account at www.azearlychildhood.org. To learn how to create a Registry account click here.
  2. Request your official transcripts to be sent to the Registry to verify the credits you have earned (even if transcripts have been provided to a QF Coach, have them submitted directly to the Registry)! Learn how to submit documentation click here. This process can take several weeks!
  3. Ask your employer to verify your employment information including: start date, salary, title, and assigned age group.
  4. Your employer will need administrative access to the Registry to verify your employment.
  5. Your employer must verify your employment within the Registry. Learn how here.
  6. Confirm your Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report). Note: REWARD$ eligibility and incentive level are determined from the information on this document, make sure it is up to date!
  7. Complete Statement of Lawful Presence Form which can be found in the Registry or by clicking here: Statement of Lawful Presence
  1. Complete REWARD$ online Application form.
  2. Submit the following application documents to REWARD$ by emailing them to: azftfrewards@azearlychildhood.org
  3. W-9 form with written signature (no electronic signature).
  4. Professional Development and Education Report (PD Report) from the Registry.
  5. Statement of Lawful Presence and Identification Document “Driver’s License, Passport or Work Visa”.
  6. Continue checking your email account for updated communication.

IMPORTANT! Applications review will NOT begin until the application cycle has closed at midnight March 31st. Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for application review and payment processing.

¡Importante! La revisión de la solicitud comenzará después del cierre de este ciclo de solicitud el 31 de marzo. Permita de 4 a 6 semanas para el procesamiento y pago de incentivos.

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