Professional Pathways

Professional Pathways is an initiative aimed at helping early educators enroll in higher education courses for a credential, degree, and to advance their careers in early education.

Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) Professional Pathways program helps early educators facilitate advancing their careers through a pathway toward earning credentials and through enrollment in higher education courses. Professional Pathways can help individual educators find courses and program administrators find or organize cohort courses.

EEC is funding this program which is administered by Neighborhood Villages. Through Professional Pathways, educators can work in partnership with a Neighborhood Villages Student Support Associates (SSA) to help identify professional and educational goals and enroll in courses and degree programs offered by Massachusetts community colleges, and higher education institutions with associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees.

Connecting the early education and care workforce to centralized information about higher education courses and certificate and degree-granting programs is a critical step towards building a career ladder and expanding the highly skilled professional workforce needed to keep kids healthy, safe, and thriving in their early years.

This resource program offers benefits for individuals interested in pursuing a career in early education, current educators seeking coursework and degrees, early education program leaders/providers looking to support their staff, and workforce development groups looking to partner or place individuals into courses.

Educators, Program Leaders and Providers

The program benefits educators and early education and care employers to help build a well-qualified, stable workforce to meet the care needs of families across the Commonwealth.


  • Find the right college courses to launch or advance your professional pathway
  • Explore a range of learning options to meet your needs
  • Connect to resources and support to be successful

Program Leaders and Providers

  • Request specific courses for groups of educators
  • Receive assistance in understanding how to inform hiring decisions
  • Collaborate with program staff to support educators’ professional goals

There are three critical elements to the Professional Pathways timely, multi-lingual initiative.

Students and Educators: Start or Advance Your Career in Early Education

Pursue a career in early education teaching, administration, afterschool and out of school time care, family childcare, and more through accessible pathways towards licensing, credentialing, and degree attainment as well as support in finding job placement.

EEC Programs and Providers: Promote Professional Development and Growth

Through Professional Pathways, programs licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care can establish groups of educator candidates and connect them to a coursework cohort.

Higher Education and Workforce Support Providers

Find help with connecting individuals to careers in early childhood and out-of-school time by enrolling students in a course cohort and adapting your course schedules and formats to student needs. Build connections with employers, to help students seamlessly transition from coursework into employment.

To learn more about starting or advancing a career in early care and education or to get assistance understanding the next steps and the resources available, complete an inquiry form at Professional Pathways.


Learn more by watching this Professional Pathways information session/webinar on our YouTube channel Professional Pathways Educator Focus - 12.2.2021

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