Advancing as a Profession: “What can I do now to get ready?”

By Rachel Hunter

When I talk to early childhood educators about advancing early childhood education as a profession, people usually ask the same questions: “How long will this take?” “How will compensation work?” These questions guide the work of the Task Force and other design teams working to shape our future as a recognized profession.

But early childhood educators ask me one question more than any other: “What can I do now to get ready?”

Well, the Task Force is hard at work envisioning the bridge that will bring our current, experienced workforce to individual professional licensure. That bridge will be the focus of our next professional development, and we’re designing a second pilot project to establish equivalence for talented educators who may not have academic credentials, but have lots of experience.

So when early childhood educators ask me what they can do now, I say: Get the highest Northern Lights Career Ladder certificate you qualify for now, and make sure everything is in BFIS.


  • As we start preparing for individual professional licensure, your Career Ladder certificate will help determine your qualification for ECE I, ECE II, or ECE III. Northern Lights Regional Advisors are here to help.
  • As we start preparing for individual professional licensure at ECE I, II and III, you will want your BFIS account to accurately show your qualifications. Review your BFIS account and update it if necessary. For help, see this video tutorial published by Vermont’s Child Development Division.

If you are considering college courses, there are more resources than ever through the Community College of Vermont (CCV) and VTAEYC’s  career advancement opportunities. Check out VTAEYC Executive Director Sharron Harrington’s own story of advancing her career through CCV’s Prior Learning Assessment.

Finally, some of you reading this are deeply engaged with this project already. When you talk about our professional future with others, and early childhood educators ask you “What can I do now?” please share my answer!


Rachel Hunter is the Outreach Coordinator for Advancing as a Profession.

Learn more about this workforce-led initiative to create a recognized early childhood education profession in Vermont.

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