FAQs for Students
Why should I consider a career in early intervention?
Early intervention (EI) is a rewarding career that will offer you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of infants and toddlers with developmental delays and their families. The primary role of an EI service provider is to support families to increase their child’s participation in everyday routines and activities. EI service providers use coaching interactions during EI visits to help parents develop their abilities to interact with their children in ways that support their child’s development. Visit the VA Early Intervention Videos page or the VEIPD Videos YouTube Channel to find many videos about the importance and benefits of EI and to listen to families and service providers share their stories.
What kind of degree could I get if I’m interested in working with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families through early intervention?
The field of early intervention offers a broad array of career opportunities including developmental service providers (educators), service coordinators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, infant mental health specialists, and more. Job opportunities are available for those with two-year, four-year, and advanced degrees. A list of these disciplines and the qualifications for each are included in Chapter 12 of the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia Practice Manual.
What does it mean to be “EI Certified” in VA?
Individual practitioners of early intervention services in Virginia, except physicians, audiologists and registered dieticians, must be certified by the State Lead Agency as an Early Intervention Professional, Early Intervention Specialist, or Early Intervention Case Manager. The type of certification depends on the practitioner’s discipline-specific qualifications and job requirements. Review Chapter 12 of the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia Practice Manual for information about the types of certification and requirements. For more information about the EI certification process, visit the Initial Certification page.
I think I might want to be an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), or speech language pathologist (SLP). What do they do in early intervention?
The documents and webpages below are position statements from discipline-related associations that will help explain the expectations for each type of career:
What if I’m interested in a career as an educator in early intervention?
In Virginia’s early intervention system, educators are called Developmental Service Providers. They typically have a background in early childhood special education, early childhood education, or special education. Sometimes, professionals from disciplines other than education provide Developmental Services, such as nursing or child development. Developmental services is another name for the federal term, special instruction. For information about the role of special instruction, read the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Position Statement - The Role of Special Instruction (external website, pdf).
What early intervention jobs are available in VA?
For information about current employment opportunities, visit the Employment Opportunities page on the Infant & Toddler Connection of VA site.