Career Pathways

The Career Pathways (PDF, 680.54 KB) outlines standards for professional preparation by describing the levels and content of training and education expected for specific careers and define what you should know to be effective in various career positions. The Career Pathways help you plan your ongoing professional development to increase your qualifications and opportunities.

The Career Pathways apply to anyone who works with young children ages birth to 8 years of age and their families, in a variety of career positions and across the spectrum from entry-level to expert in the field of Early Childhood

The Career Pathways can be used to:

  • Guide individuals in planning and preparing for careers in the field
  • Assist employers to write job descriptions and hire well qualified employees
  • Give direction to training and education organizations to help them design programs that support career preparation based on clearly identified core content
  • Recognize individuals for their career qualifications and accomplishments

How Career Pathways Align with Licensing

Licensing and professional development are not two separate things but rather steps along the career pathway of becoming an early care and education professional. Licensing is the starting point – the minimal standard to be employed in a direct care position working directly with young children. The Career Pathways are designed to align with and support the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services childcare licensing rules

When you complete the required 15-hours of basic childcare training, you are already on your way with your professional development. This would be a good time to apply to become a member (PDF, 373.17 KB) of the Registry so that your professional development record will be a complete history of the efforts you are making to prepare for your career in early care and education.

What Your Career Pathways Placement Means

Your Career Pathways category identifies the preparation you currently have for early care and education. Your placement also helps you see how you can continue to grow in the profession and identifies your next steps for training and education. To be placed in Career Pathways Category A, you must complete the 15-hours of basic childcare training, be at least 18-years of age, and have completed a high school diploma or GED. The requirements for Category A placement must be met before an individual can advance to placement in Categories B – F. To advance to Categories B-D placement, you must complete training with at least ten clock hours in specific ND Core Competency Areas. Categories E-F are achieved by completing a professional credential, such as the CDA or Aim4Excellence Center Director Credential. Categories G-J designate those who have completed a degree in Early Childhood or a related field with a defined number of Early Childhood semester credits. NOTE: Categories A-D are cumulative – you cannot advance to a higher category until you have completed the requirements for the previous category. You must also meet the Category A requirements for placement in Categories E-F.

Some Growing Futures members receive a Career Pathways placement of “Not Placed.” This means that they have either not yet completed the required licensing training, are not yet 18-years of age, or have not graduated high school. It could also mean that they are not employed in direct care and so are not required to meet the licensing requirements or complete preparation specific to the field of Early Childhood.

How Career Pathways Placement is Determined

The Career Pathways organizes the skills and knowledge defined in the Core Competencies into categories to show the qualifications expected for employment in various career positions in the field. When you become a Registry member, you are asked to submit verifiable records of the training and education you’ve completed. That information is compared against the requirements of each Career Pathways category and used to determine your career qualifications and your category placement. If you decide not to send in verification of your education, credentials, or other qualifications, your placement will not accurately show how well qualified you are.

Make Your Career Pathways Placement Work for You

When you become a Registry member, you receive a Career Pathways designation based on the professional preparation (e.g. training and education) you have completed and documented to date. Your Career Pathways placement is based on verified information so you can use your placement to show employers and parents your qualifications. Hang a copy of your Career Pathways Certificate of Achievement at your workplace to show what you have accomplished. And you can use the Career Pathways to plan and select your ongoing professional development in ways that build your competence and add up to something meaningful and useful to you, such as earning a CDA Credential. As you complete the requirements for each Career Pathways category, you’ll be demonstrating to parents, employers, and others that you are well prepared for the work you do.

Career Pathways Updates are Easy

It’s easy to request an update to your Career Pathways placement. Whenever you have completed the requirements for placement in another category, log into your Registry account and click “Renew” on your account front page. This will signal Registry staff to review and update your placement.