Professional Development for staff working in early childhood programs includes:
- Core knowledge areas and related competencies as the foundation
- Career Ladder and certificates: 6 levels below
- Courses, trainings and experience
- Credentials: recognize specialty knowledge, some are in the Career Ladder and others branch from it.
Early Childhood Career Ladder
|Level I||Level II||Level III||Level IV||Level V & VI|
|1. Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals course (45 hours)
2. NL approved Level I Portfolio with documentation, 45 hours of verified professional development and one approved observation of the practitioner
3. NL approved 3 related college credits in child development including early childhood + basic specialized care, introduction to licensing and one approved observation
|1. Current Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
2. NL approved Level II Portfolio with documentation, 125 hours of verified professional development and two approved observations of the practitioner
3. NL approved 12 related college credits in at least 2 VT Core Knowledge areas and two approved observations of the practitioner
|A) 1.Completed Vermont Child Care Registered Apprentice
2. CCV’s Child Care Certificate program
3. Highly Qualified Paraprofessional
4. NL approved equivalent: 21 related college credits in at least 3 of the VT Core Knowledge areas and two approved observations of the practitioner
|A) 1. Bachelor Degree in early childhood education or related field or
2. Bachelor Degree with NL approved 30 related college credits within at least 3 of the VT Core Knowledge Areas
|A) Master Degree in early childhood education or related field Level VI: Doctorate Degree in a related field.|
|B) Associate Degree in early childhood education or related field
Associates Degree with 21 related college credits in at least 3 VT Core Knowledge areas
B) Above with VT Department of Education teaching license with endorsement in early childhood, early childhood special education or elementary education
|2 years or more||2 years or more||2 years or more, may include student teaching|
Important Information about the Career Ladder:
- You do not need to start at Level I; you can apply for any level for which you meet the requirements.
- A current Individual Development Plan (IPDP) is a required for every Level and Credential application. Your IPDP must be updated or created within the past 3 months.
- All credits and degrees must be from an accredited college or university.
- Alignment Chart: Early Childhood Career Ladder, the Child Development Recognition Bonus and STARS all align. Northern Lights will pass your completed Level certificate to the child Development Division (CDD) if you may also be eligible for a Professional Recognition Bonus To speed the process, complete the W9 tax form and submit it with your application.
- VT Core Knowledge areas include: Families and Communities, Child Development, Healthy and Safe Environments, Teaching and Learning, Professionalism and Program Organization
- Related Fields refer to degrees with a major or concentration in: Early Childhood, Child or Human Development, Education (early childhood or elementary or special education), or Child and Family Studies (including Home Economics)
- Related Credits are courses that fall in the Core Knowledge Areas such as the related fields above and health (including nutrition and nursing), psychology, mental health, child and family studies, sociology, human services, social sciences, social services, business, administration (related to early childhood or afterschool program management)
- Experience means professional work with children who are not your family members; Level II – V require work in regulated child care. Experience may be part-time or full time and need not be continuous.
- Early Childhood Career Lattice shows how different jobs in various settings fit into the Early Childhood Career Ladder. Always check with your employer to make sure you are meeting the program’s job requirements