Utah’s Career Ladder System

Father reading to baby

Utah’s Career Ladder System provides a method for individuals to track professional accomplishments and to recognize academic achievement related to the youth and early childhood education fields. The goal of the system is to improve the professionalism and quality of the workforce, and ultimately positively impact Utah’s children.

View My Career Ladder

Levels on the Career Ladder

There are 12 levels on the Career Ladder. Levels may be earned by taking approved Career ladder face-to-face or online classes that award clock hours or Continuing Education Units (CEUs), completing a Demonstrated Competency (Level 4) or earning early childhood-related college credits and degrees.

0.1 CEUs is equivalent to 1 clock hour. 0.075 college credits are equivalent to 1 clock hour. (Ex. 3 semester college credits are equivalent to 40 clock hours).

Level 1

Levels 2 - 3

Level 4

Levels 5 - 8

Level 9

Level 10

Level 11

Level 12

30 hours of basic training plus valid First Aid and CPR certifications

40 hours of training in areas of Child Development

Complete a demonstrated competency (ex: CDA Cre-dential)

40 hours of training in specialized topics for each level

Associate degree in related field (or equivalent)

Bachelor’s degree in related field (or equivalent)

Master’s degree in related field (or equivalent)

Doctorate degree in related field (or equivalent)

Learn more about each Career Ladder Level

Apply for a New Career Ladder Level

Professional Development Incentive

The Professional Development Incentive (PDI) encourages progression along Utah’s Career Ladder by offering financial incentives to eligible youth and early learning professionals as they achieve professional development milestones. For a limited-time only, a $250 COVID-19 Relief Bonus is being added to each level of the PDI.

Endorsement Courses

Endorsements are topic specific trainings offered in Career Ladder Levels 5-8. Requirements include 40 hours or equivalent of topic specific Career Ladder approved courses. Currently, the following endorsements may be earned: 

  • Infant and Toddler
  • School Readiness
  • Special Needs
  • Center Director
  • Family Child Care
  • Guidance and Emotional Wellness
  • School Age
  • Relationship Touchpoints
  • Theories and Best Practices
  • Developing Your Child Care Business

Search the Course Catalog for approved Levels 5-8 endorsement classes.

Professional Activities

For Levels 5-8, 10 of the 40 hours submitted may be participation in a professional activity.

A qualifying professional activity must advance the field of early childhood in some way and be above and beyond the current job responsibilities of the professional. Professional activities must be on the approved list and appropriate documentation must be submitted.

Foreign Degree Evaluation

All college degrees and credits from a country other than the United States must be translated to English, if necessary, and be evaluated and listed as the United States equivalent to be considered for the Career Ladder. The evaluation must show the United States equivalent for any degrees conferred as well as a course-by-course evaluation showing the course name, number of semester college credit hours and grade.

Obtaining a translation and equivalency evaluation is the responsibility of the individual and must be listed on a transcript from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or completed by a member of one of the following associations:

Career Ladder Policies

Contact Us

For questions, contact your regional Care About Childcare agency or the Utah Registry for Professional Development.