Early care and education can be an exciting and rewarding career that includes options for working directly with young children as well as with adults or families. To plan your career, you need to know what your options are and how you can qualify for each position.
Growing Futures Career Pathways outlines standards for professional preparation by describing the qualifications needed to be hired—and to be successful—in various early childhood positions. The Pathways show the levels and content of training and education expected of those in the field.
The Career Pathways are designed for:
- Practitioners: Whatever your career goal, the Career Pathways helps you determine what preparation you need to qualify for the position and gives you a roadmap to reaching your goal. The Pathways helps you be very focused and intentional in the training and education you select to attend, so that everything you do is helping you achieve your goal.
- Programs: The Career Pathways gives you a tool to set hiring qualifications and write job descriptions. The Pathways help you answer the question, "What should a person hired for this particular position know and be able to do?" The Pathways help you to be very intentional with the people you select to be part of your program, so that each staff person adds to the quality of your program.
- Training and education providers: The Career Pathways give you clear direction for the content of training and education delivered for early childhood professional preparation. The Pathways are based on the Core Competencies, which describe the knowledge and skills needed by those in the field from entry level through advanced degrees, and guide both informal and formal education providers to deliver courses and programs that truly prepare people for careers in the field.
The Growing Futures Career Pathways:
- Provide a formalized way to recognize the professional development of early care and education practitioners
- Incorporate the eight Core Competency areas to help practitioners make purposeful choices about their training and education to achieve career goals
- Help training and education providers develop consistent content and evaluate their programs to best support professional development
- Provide a system to help our state track the professional preparation of the early care and education workforce
- Offer a structure that can eventually be linked to wage increases, scholarships, and other incentives
When you join the Growing Futures Registry, you take an important step in preparing for and advancing your career in the early childhood field. As a Registry member, you will have access to a comprehensive professional development record to track and manage your achievements. Your Growing Futures professional development record is the official Registry documentation of the qualifications you bring to your work. Your record will contain the following information:
- Your initial application information (contact information, education and training hours, current credentials, etc.)
- Verification that you have successfully completed the degrees, credentials, and licensures you indicate and that all designations are current
- Current Career Pathways category - this is determined based on the training and education you've completed, and it is awarded to you at the time of your application