*All eligible regions are listed below under “Eligibility Quiz.” To find out if the program where you work is in one of these regions, click here.

Early Childhood Educators are HEROES… and HEROES deserve a REWARD!

Early Childhood Educators are a valuable part of community infrastructure. Yet many in the profession are not adequately compensated financially for their important work with young children. First Things First‘s Professional REWARD$ Program offers a cash bonus to support early childhood professionals who work with children birth through age 5, not yet in kindergarten.

Early educators may use REWARD$ funds however they choose: pay bills, buy gifts, take a vacation, pay for additional classes or professional development, buy materials for your program. How you use your REWARD$ is completely up to you! REWARD$ is Arizona’s way of saying “Thank You!” Login to your Registry account to get started.

With my REWARD$, I am able to pay the bills and splurge on my kids while I continue to complete my coursework and reach my career goals. I’m feeling less stressed - and more financially secure!

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.

  • REWARD$ applicants who have been furloughed, placed on administrative leave, or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will still be considered eligible for the incentive if they meet all other requirements through June 30, 2022.
  • I have a Registry profile account.
  • I have submitted official college transcripts to the Registry.
  • My Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report), Registry Career Lattice Level is “B” or above.
  • I am at least 18 years of age and lawfully present in the United States.
  • I am employed at a child care program or family home provider regulated by a Federal, State or Tribal authority and in good standing.
  • I am employed in one of the following First Things First Regions below. To find out if the program where you work is in one of these regions, click here.
    • Cochise
    • Coconino
    • Graham/Greenlee
    • Navajo Nation
    • San Carlos Apache Tribe
    • Southeast Maricopa
    • White Mountain Apache Tribe
    • Yavapai
  • 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).
  • I am employed at current place of employment for past 12 consecutive months.
  • I earn $20 or less per hour based on a 40-hour work week.
  • 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

Please follow the steps below to PREPARE for REWARD$:

  1. Create a Registry account at 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 
  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 the REWARD$ by logging into the Arizona Registry and clicking on “Request REWARD$ Incentive” under My Scholarships.
  2. Upload the following documents to the Registry:
    1. W-9 form with written signature (no electronic signature).
    2. Statement of Lawful Presence and Identification Document (Driver’s License, Passport or Work Visa).
  3. Contact REWARD$ at azftfrewards@azearlychildhood.org with questions.
  4. Continue checking your email account for updated communication.
  5. Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for application review and payment processing.

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, not yet in kindergarten. Professional REWARD$ is administered by Central Arizona College, Early Childhood Education Department.

Your Career Lattice Level and REWARD$

Keep up with your coursework, advance to a higher Career Lattice Level, and continue to receive REWARD$. Grade C or better is required.

Career Lattice Level

Annual Incentive

B

$500

C

$700

D

$900

E

$1,200

F

$1,500

G

$2,000

The average wait time for processing your college transcripts is 30 Days. For questions regarding your Registry account, please contact info@thearizonaregistry.org.