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How Do I Become an Early Intervention Specialist?

Help-wanted ads may advertise available positions as an early intervention specialist.
Early intervention specialists usually work with toddlers who have special needs.
An early intervention specialist typically works with such children, from infancy to age three, but he or she also can assist older children when necessary.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 May 2015
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An early intervention specialist works to provide help and support to a young child who has special needs. The requirements for a person who wants to become an early intervention specialist depend on where the individual hopes to work. In some places, a person must have a bachelor’s degree to get started in this field, while other jurisdictions may allow a person to start with high school education and training. Some places even have different job levels for this title, starting with jobs for those with high school diplomas and moving up to positions reserved for those with advanced degrees and years of experience.

The exact job description for an early intervention specialist may vary somewhat, depending on where a person works. In general, however, a person with this title provides help for infants and toddlers who have special needs. The type of assistance this person provides often depends on the unique situation. For example, some children may need help developing language skills while others may need help developing motor skills. In some cases, a child’s family needs assistance as well, and this specialist may help the child's parents grow more self-sufficient or find ways to cope with the challenges they face.

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While there may be much variation in the level of education required to become an early intervention specialist, a person may have a good chance of landing this job after earning a bachelor’s degree. Common degree choices for a person who wants to become an early intervention specialist include psychology, sociology, or social work. An individual may also prepare for this career by pursuing a degree in health, education, or mental health counseling. Typically, a person who wants to pursue this career can find an entry-level position after earning a bachelor’s degree, but earning a master’s degree or higher may better his chances for eventual advancement.

In some places, a person may need licensing or certification to become an early intervention specialist. Though the procedures for securing licensing or certification vary, they often include paying a fee and taking an exam. In some cases, a person may be expected to secure licensing or certification after he has already started a job in this field. For example, an employer may provide a new early intervention specialist with training that leads to licensing or certification. In fact, some types of certification are only available after a person has gained a minimum level of experience.

Once a person has prepared to become an early intervention specialist, he may begin his job search. He may find job openings through online job sites and newspaper help-wanted ads. Many people, however, learn of these job openings by contacting their jurisdiction’s civil service or government job office.

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Discuss this Article

Heavanet
Post 2

@spotiche5- It sounds like your relative would enjoy working as a school counselor, social worker, or even a special needs teacher. She has the passion, now all she needs is the right college degree and career goals.

The first thing that your relative should do is talk to her guidance counselor. He or she will give her advice based on hands-on experience what it is like to work with children who have difficulties in school. The counselor will also have a good idea about the best colleges and programs that your relative can take to pursue her goals.

Once your relative chooses a college program, she will learn about the different careers that will allow her to work with kids to help them succeed in school. She will also be able to choose a clinical program in her senior year where she will gain hands-on experience about the field she has chosen.

Spotiche5
Post 1

I have a relative who wants to become an early intervention specialist because she loves helping children. Her main objective in a future career is to help troubled kids stay in school. Does anyone have some suggestions for her to follow as she begins her college years and career path?

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