FAQs for Students
Why should I consider a career in early intervention?
Early intervention 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 early intervention visits to help parents develop their abilities to interact with their children in ways that support their child’s development. Click here to find many videos about the importance and benefits of early intervention. 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 specialists, 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. In Virginia, this Provider Qualifications and Responsibilities chart (external website, pdf) (TABLE A) provides detailed information about the requirements to become a Virginia certified early intervention provider.
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. For more details, click here.
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 below are position statements from discipline-related associations that will help explain the expectations for each type of career:
- Speech-Language Pathologists
ASHA Position Statement Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Early Intervention (external website)
- Physical Therapists
APTA Fact Sheet: Team-based Service Delivery Approaches in Pediatric Practice (external website, pdf)
APTA Fact Sheet: Natural Environments in Early Intervention Services (external website, pdf)
- Occupational Therapists
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Practice Advisory on OT in Early Intervention (external website)
What if I’m interested in a career as a teacher in early intervention?
In Virginia’s early intervention system, “teachers” 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:
- Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Position Statement - The Role of Special Instruction (external website, pdf)
What colleges/universities in Virginia have programs to help me reach my goal to work in early intervention?
Virginia Community Colleges and Universities Offering Certificates and Degrees in Early Childhood or Early Childhood Special Education DOC
What early intervention jobs are available in VA?
The Infant & Toddler Connection of VA maintains information about current job opportunities at: http://www.infantva.org/CareerOpportunities.htm (external website)