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Utah Career Ladder System - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of the Career Ladder System?
The purpose of Utah’s Career Ladder System is to provide a way for individuals to track professional accomplishments and recognize academic achievement related to the youth and early childhood education field. This is done with the goal of increasing the quality of care in early childhood settings across Utah.
Who is eligible to participate in the Career Ladder System?
Any person may participate in Utah’s Career Ladder System as there are no eligibility requirements. Those who would like to participate must create a user profile on the Care About Childcare website where progress on the Career Ladder System is tracked.
Do I have to start at Level 1?
Any participant in the Career Ladder System may start by completing the training requirements to earn Level 1.
If current demonstrated competency requirements are met for Level 4, participants may provide documentation of these requirements and do not need to complete Levels 1-3. Participants may also start the Career Ladder at Levels 9, 10, 11 or 12 if the specific requirements for one of those levels are met.
Can I bypass levels once I’m on the Career Ladder?
Participants in the Career Ladder System may skip up to certain levels if they have met the requirements. If current demonstrated competency requirements are met, the preceding levels do not need to be completed before being awarded Level 4. A participant may skip up to Levels 9, 10, 11, or 12 if the specific requirements for one of these levels are met.
How do I apply for a new level?
Before applying for a level, documentation of all requirements of the level must be on the participant’s Care About Childcare Transcript. Participants may submit and upload documentation of professional development on their transcript page. When all documentation is present, a new level may be applied for on the participant’s Care About Childcare Career Ladder page.
What does it mean to maintain a current demonstrated competency for Level 4?
By earning a demonstrated competency, an individual has shown that he or she is competent in the early childhood field. This usually includes professional development hours, an observation and an assessment. The accepted demonstrated competency options to meet the requirements for Level 4 can be found on the Credentials and Certificates page. All of the demonstrated competency options expire within 2-3 years. New documentation will need to be submitted in order for a demonstrated competency to remain current.
Do courses, degrees or credentials expire after a certain amount of time?
- Courses taken for clock hours, CEUs or college credits do not expire within the Career Ladder
- Degrees from an institute of higher education do not expire within the Career Ladder
- Credentials or courses used as a demonstrated competency will expire in 2-3 years, dependent on the credential or demonstrated competency option. New documentation will need to be submitted in order for a demonstrated competency to remain current.
Are there scholarships available to help with the cost of completing a demonstrated competency?
Yes, scholarships are currently available to help offset the cost of obtaining many of the demonstrated competency credentials. More information about scholarships and financial aid offerings can be found on the Scholarships and Financial Support page.
Can college credits or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) be used to earn a level on the Career Ladder?
Yes, participants may substitute any number of clock hours for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or college credits specific to early childhood education. 0.1 CEUs is equivalent to 1 clock hour. 0.075 semester college credits are equivalent to 1 clock hour. (Ex. 3 semester college credits are equivalent to 40 clock hours).
CEUs must be awarded by a verified child care training program or accredited institution of higher education. College credit courses must be awarded by an accredited institution of higher education and passed with a “C-” letter grade or better.
Can I use a college degree to earn a level on the Career Ladder?
An Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree in early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary education, child development or equivalent may be used to meet the requirements for Levels 9, 10, 11 or 12 respectively. If a participant has earned a college degree in an unrelated field, they will need to either provide documentation of at least 15 semester credit hours (or 22.5 quarter credit hours) specific to early childhood education or the completion of Career Ladder Level 4 with a current demonstrated competency.
How do I find out about Career Ladder courses available in my area?
The Course Calendar includes upcoming online and in-person courses. There are search filters available to limit the course listings to a specific county or region of the state. The Course Catalog includes all approved online and in-person Career Ladder course options.
Can I take any approved Career Ladder course that I am interested in or only courses approved for the level I am currently working towards earning?
All approved Career Ladder courses can be taken by anyone who is interested in the topic area at any time. Courses approved for certain levels generally follow a sequence from basic to more advanced, but there is not a requirement to take them in a specific order.
What are Professional Activities?
Approved Professional Activities go above and beyond a professional’s current job responsibilities and demonstrate a commitment to leadership, engagement in learning and sharing knowledge with others in order to advance the youth and early childhood education field. Up to 10 professional activity hours may be counted towards clock hour requirements to earn Career Ladder Levels 5, 6, 7 or 8. For the Child Care Quality System Career Ladder approved annual training, a maximum of 10 professional activity hours may be used each year. More information is on Approved Professional Activities page.
Are conferences approved Career Ladder credit hours?
Yes, local, state and national conferences are approved as a professional activity. They may be submitted through the Care About Childcare Transcript page. There is currently a time-limited scholarship available for a $500 early childhood conference registration reimbursement. More information can be found on the Scholarships and Financial Support page.
How are Endorsements related to the Career Ladder System?
Endorsements are topic-specific trainings offered in Career Ladder Levels 5-8. Requirements include 40 hours (4 CEUs or 3 college credits) of topic specific Career Ladder approved courses. A certificate is issued after completing requirements for a specific endorsement. The current endorsement topics include infant and toddler, school readiness, special needs, center director, family child care, guidance and emotional wellness, school age, Relationship Touchpoints and theories and best practice.
Who do I contact if I have other questions about the Career Ladder System?
More details on the Career Ladder System can be found on our Career Ladder Policy page.
If you have further questions, contact your regional Care About Childcare agency or the Utah Registry for Professional Development.