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CA Early Learning Career Lattice

What is the California Early Learning Career Lattice (Career Lattice)?

The Career Lattice defines a progression of roles and the training and education necessary to demonstrate competence in a wide variety of positions in early learning.  It identifies a common framework through which professionals can evaluate their progress on career goals. The Career Lattice can also be used by employers, professional development programs, researchers, and policy makers to assess and chart the progress of professionals.  Whether the Career Lattice is used at the program level, the individual level, or the professional development system level, there are benefits for all involved. 

The Career Lattice can be used throughout the early learning system for the full spectrum of professional opportunities currently available by:

  • Defining the training, qualifications, and certification/credentials that early childhood educators should have and be able to demonstrate at various levels of professional responsibility.
  • Outlining a pathway for professional advancement and achievement from someone just entering the field, whether that individual is a classroom aide, teacher, or multi-site program director; and
  • Identifying the basic educational benchmarks early educators need in order to move into positions that support early education and other early educators including coaches, trainers, higher education faculty, or infrastructure support.

Key Facts about California’s Career Lattice

  1. The Career Lattice is a guide to help early educators think about their career path and professional development.
  2. The Career Lattice does not change any of the existing regulations or licensing requirements for working in infant/toddler care, a child care center, a preschool, Transitional Kindergarten (TK)-3rd grade, or a family child care home, or being a home visitor. The launch of California’s Career Lattice will not affect the current work of those working in Early Learning in any way.
  3. The Career Lattice is designed to encompass a variety of positions within early learning:
    • Administrators, teachers, assistants or aides, family, friend, and neighbor providers (FFNs), and volunteers.
    • Coaches, mentors, or other quality improvement or technical assistance staff.
    • Community program managers who coordinate support program such as the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), stipend programs, or programs that increase access to child care programs.
    • Higher education faculty,
    • Non-unit-bearing professional development trainers and providers; and
    • Researchers and public policy staff.
  4. The Career Lattice will be integrated in California’s professional development system and represents the new statewide standard for measuring early educators’ educational qualifications.


An example image illustrating progression of roles and the corelating training and education necessary to demonstrate competence necessary for working in early childhood education programs. The visual representation outlines the various qualifications and equivalencies for individuals in to understand existing roles and requirements for working in a child care center, infant/toddler program, preschool, family child care home, or TK-third grade teacher or early childhood program administrator.

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