The Texas Early Learning Council developed the career pathway for early childhood professionals in Texas, published in 2012 as the “career lattice.” Also known as a career ladder or career lattice, the career pathway relates a professional’s training hours, education, work experience, and other factors to a position on the career pathway, from entry-level to expertise in the early childhood field. Additionally, professionals can advance levels on the career pathway by gaining more professional experience, or obtaining additional education credentials, such as a Child Development Associate (CDA) degree, Bachelor’s degree, or beyond. Ideally, professionals will use this information to guide their professional development in the future and market themselves to employers and parents.
The Texas Early Childhood Career Pathway defines levels of knowledge and skill mastery for practitioners and administrators within the early childhood profession and identifies steps for advancement in the pursuit of career development. The Career Pathway is a voluntary tool intended to work in concert with the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators. The Core Competencies detail the knowledge and skills that early childhood professionals should possess to be successful in their careers. As professionals advance on the Career Pathway, the expectation is that their level of practice improves, as well. Thus, Career Pathway levels are aligned with corresponding categories of competencies: beginner competencies, intermediate competencies, or advanced competencies.