How to Become an Early Intervention Specialist

How to Become an Early Intervention Specialist

May 17, 2021

A career as an early intervention specialist is certainly a rewarding one. Early interventionists work one-on-one with children ages 0-6 who have developmental delays or disabilities to equip them with the skills and strategies they need to learn and grow. Best of all, early intervention specialists do all of that through play! 

If you're passionate about early education, social work, or child psychology, you may be interested in a career as an early interventionist. Here's what you need to know to become an early intervention specialist:

Who Can Become an Early Intervention Specialist?

Anyone with a passion for education can become an early intervention specialist, so long as you're willing to put in the work to get your degree and any necessary state licensure. In this article, we'll go through the essential components you need to become an early intervention specialist, but first, it can be helpful to hear some of the most common career paths that bring people to early intervention services. Here at About Play, some of our amazing team members started their careers as:

  • Teachers
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Sociologists

A career as an early interventionist is a great choice for any educator who has a passion for working directly with children ages 0-6 and their families. Unlike traditional education positions, early interventionists are in charge of their own schedule, they work one-on-one with children and spend most of their time not in the office, but in the homes of the families they are working with.

What Do I Need to Become an Early Intervention Specialist?

Like any career in education, becoming an early intervention specialist requires some experience, a degree in a related field, and the right qualities to succeed in this exciting and demanding position. Here are a few of the essential qualifications you must meet to become an early intervention specialist.

Qualities of Successful Early Intervention Specialists

While qualifications are certainly important, we'd like to kick off this section with a little bit more information about the qualities that make for a successful early intervention specialist. Since you are on the road and visiting your families according to their schedules, you will do very well in this job if you are independent and organized. Here at About Play, a few other qualities that are important to us include:

  • Passion. You have a passion for early intervention, and helping children with developmental delays and disabilities learn and grow. 
  • Creativity. You're always looking for new ways to make learning and play fun for your families. 
  • Energy. You're excited to tackle a new caseload and you have the energy to keep up with children aged 0-6.
  • Motivation. You're motivated to make a difference in the lives of the children and families you're working with. 
  • Organization. Handling your own caseload, making your own schedule, and completing your own paperwork are things you know you can handle.
  • Time Management. You're not afraid of juggling the schedules of all the families you're working with, and you know how to maximize your time so every child is getting your very best.
Bachelor's Degree

While the above qualities are the key to success, to become an early interventionist, you must also have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Here at About Play, we often interview candidates with degrees in:

  • Education
  • Early Childhood
  • Social Work
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Family & Consumer Science
  • Or any related field
Have Experience Working With Children

Any early intervention specialist position requires experience working with children. Usually, one year of experience working with children aged 0-6 years old is preferred, since these are the ages early interventionists work with most often. 

Your experience can range from other types of child therapy to caregiving to teaching and education. What's important is that you know how to interact with young children and their families, so you can provide the activities and therapies that best help them learn and grow.

Complete Certification Requirements

To legally practice as an early intervention specialist in the US, you are required to fulfill state certification requirements, usually through your state's department for education. Because South Carolina's early intervention services program is available through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), this certification is especially important for About Play early interventionists. It's good to note that the certification process will be completed once on board with an EI company like About Play, so if you're not sure where to start, your potential employer can likely offer guidance.

A career as an early interventionist is both exciting and rewarding. If you're looking for a position in the field, About Play is hiring! As we continue to expand our services throughout South Carolina and beyond, we are looking for passionate, fun, and creative professionals who are dedicated to serving and supporting children with developmental delays or disabilities. Learn more about our open positions on our Careers page, or give us a call today at 803-665-6533