Early Childhood Career Development

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Council on Children and Families in supporting the career and professional development of people working in early care and education programs?

Since the early 1990’s the Council on Children and Families has joined with professionals from the field of early care and education on projects to strengthen and expand opportunities for those exploring careers in early childhood and school-age programs as well as those already working in the field and looking to advance in their careers. This endeavor began with leading an initiative that created two statewide plans in 1993 and 1995. Each plan focused on building a system of career and professional development that enabled people working in early care and education programs and settings gain the skills and competencies needed to offer quality services for children and families. These plans led to several products and system improvements, including:

  • Core Body of Knowledge—articulates the competencies that early care and education providers use to provide quality services.
  • Educational Incentive Program—a scholarship program for people working in licensed or registered child care programs to obtain education and training.
  • Birth to Grade 2 Teacher Certification—implemented in 2002 to replace the Nursery to Grade 6 certification and provides more emphasis on early childhood developmentally appropriate practice in the pre-service training of teachers.
  • Early Childhood Associates Degree Programs—increased the number of Associate Degree early childhood programs across the state.
  • On-line Associates Degree in Early Childhood—increased the number of online distance learning credit classes in child development and related courses.
  • Children’s Program Administrator Credential—addressed the significant need for educational opportunities in program administration.
  • Infant/Toddler Care and Education Credential—addressed the growing need for educational opportunities for people serving infants and toddlers.
  • Early Care and Education Trainer Credential—provided a systemic approach for helping early care and education programs identify qualified trainers.
  • www.earlychildhood.org—developed to provide a one-stop source of information on career and professional development in New York State.

Why was the earlychildhood.org website created and how does it support early childhood career development?

The Council on Children and Families through the Head Start Collaboration Project developed www.earlychildhood.org to serve as a one-stop source of information on career and professional development in early care and education. Whether you are considering a career in early care and education or a seasoned professional, the website is designed to help you learn more about the field and the various job and educational opportunities that are available to people wanting to support children’s growth and development. On the website you will find the following resources:

  • Career Development Resource Guide—a comprehensive source of information on the wide range of early care and education programs and settings, positions, educational and training opportunities, educational financing programs, and even how to develop a resume and/or a portfolio with planning tools that can be reproduced for personal use or with a staff team.
  • College and University Database—a comprehensive database of information on colleges and universities in New York State that offer degrees, certificates, and credential programs of interest to people in early childhood education and school-age care.
  • Training Resource Database—statewide and regional organizations and institutions that provide training programs developed for people working in early childhood or school-age programs can be accessed from this list.
  • The Core Body of Knowledge—a description of the four levels of competency in each of six knowledge base areas that people working with children birth to age eight need to provide high quality services. Revised in 2001, this document serves as a foundation for staff qualifications and on-going professional development for programs operating in New York State.
  • Information on professional credentials, including:
    • School-Age Care Credential—a description of the credential, how eligibility is determined, and the competency standards for professionals interested in obtaining the credential.
    • Infant/Toddler Care and Education Credential—the process and requirements including the competency standards for completing and obtaining the credential.
    • Children’s Program Administrator Credential—the process and requirements including the competency standards for completing and obtaining the credential
    • Family Development Credential—a description of the credential, how eligibility is determined, and the competency standards for professionals interested in obtaining the credential.

Where can I find information to help improve the quality of services in my early care and education program or the early care and education services in my community?

www.earlychildhood.org was designed to support professional development as well as to improve the quality of early childhood and school-age programs.  Therefore, the website provides a number of documents and links to other resources that will be useful in strengthening the quality of early care and education programs and settings.  These resources include:  

  • Comparison of Early Childhood Program Standards— An interactive database that contains several sets of early childhood program standards that can be used by program staff and administrators and others to compare and contrast standards in several topic areas (e.g., education and early childhood services, health and safety, program design, transportation).This tool will be especially helpful for program administrators needing to ensure that their program is meeting all applicable guidelines, and for those who are seeking accreditation status.
  • Standards included on the website are:
    • the New York State Center-based Child Care Regulations;
    • Accreditation Criteria and Procedures of the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) Program;
    • Head Start Performance Standards;
    • New York State Family Child Care Regulations; and
    • the National Association of Family Child Care Quality Standards.
  • Innovative Community Early Care and Education Initiatives—These initiatives have been added to the website to stimulate new ideas and adaptation of promising practices emerging in communities across the state.  They are intended to guide the efforts of program directors, administrators, trainers and professionals as they work together to improve the access and quality of supports and services for young children and their families.

Where can I find more information on jobs in early childhood?

The website www.earlychildhood.org  is designed to help you explore various career titles related to the development and education of young children.  Options from home based to center based programs are described and the range of positions usually associated with different types of care is also explained. 

The section called Career Development Resource Guide (http://www.earlychildhood.org/cdrg/) includes descriptions of positions, related responsibilities and the educational training necessary to prepare for a variety of jobs in early care and school age programs.

How can I get the education I need to work in a child care program? And how do I pay for it?

You will be able to search for certificate and degree programs offered at colleges and universities by locations that are convenient for you from the College and University Database (http://www.earlychildhood.org/collegedatabase/index.cfm). 

You will also find a section on financing preparation and continuing education at: http://www.earlychildhood.org/cdrg/prep_learn.cfm#c.

Now I am ready to find a job. How do I write a resume?

Once you are ready to apply and interview for jobs, there is an entire section, Preparing for Employment (http://www.earlychildhood.org/cdrg/prep_employ.cfm), to support this process with tips on preparing a resume and professional portfolio, conducting a successful job search and interview.

I am ready to take on new challenges in my career. Where do I begin?

Many of the resources designed for those exploring a career in early childhood are useful as you plan a career move. Whether starting out or developing a mastery of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to succeed at a higher professional level, this website has tools to help you identify the next step in your career, assess your areas of growth and plan for, then execute the education and practicum needed to achieve your goal.

The Self Assessment and Professional Development Plans (found in the Career Development Resource Guide (http://www.earlychildhood.org/cdrg/) both contain tools to help you recognize your strengths and target areas for growth. The section “Other Action Steps” includes valuable tips to make implementation of your plan a success.

Along with the listing of courses offered by community colleges, four year colleges and universities, you can also find continuing education course work provided at the community level by state and regional organizations and institutions.

How can I find out more information about the Trainer Credential and Registry?

Early Care and Education Trainer Credential is a competency-based program for people providing training in early care and education. The credential program validates the trainer's education and experience with children and/or families or in a specialized content area, and evaluates the trainer’s competence in preparing and implementing professional development experiences that result in increased knowledge, improved professional practice, and eventually in higher quality programs for children and families.

The Early Care and Education Trainer Credential was developed by a team of college level early childhood educators, practitioners, and policy makers from state agencies and organizations to recognize individuals within the state who possess the skills and experience needed to provide high quality continuing education in the field of early childhood. The Registry is a searchable database that programs can use to locate trainers in their area with knowledge in specific competency areas.

The Trainer Credential is being pilot tested in New York City through 2007 and will be added to the www.earlychildhood.org website once changes have been incorporated into the process.