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 (see video: “Why Choose a Career in Early Intervention?“). The primary role of an early intervention 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 children in ways that support their child’s development.

The field of early intervention offers a broad array of career opportunities including early childhood special education teachers, service coordinators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, and more. Job opportunities are available for those with a high school diploma as well as four-year and advanced degrees.

What does early intervention look like in Iowa?

In Iowa’s early intervention system (Early ACCESS), “teachers” are called Itinerant Teachers, Early Childhood Special Education Consultants or Teachers, Early Childhood Special Educators, Early ACCESS teachers, Early Childhood Specialists, or Home Interventionists. They typically have a background in early childhood special education (Unified teaching endorsement).

Early ACCESS has produced several videos of providers interacting with families on home visits, which can be found on the Family Guided Routines Based Intervention website. In addition, this module explores the “Foundations of Early Intervention” in Iowa and accompanies the “Early Intervention Field Experience Guidance,” which outlines many aspects of early intervention and what it entails.

Early Intervention Career Information

The Early Childhood Personnel Center worked with all of the below national professional organizations, plus more, to develop Cross-Disciplinary Early Childhood Competencies. These competencies outline what professionals across disciplines who work with children birth to age five years with disabilities should know and be able to do. Below is discipline-specific information for four of the most common disciplines in early intervention:

Speech-Language Pathologists (Iowa Speech-Language Hearing Association):

Physical Therapists (Iowa Physical Therapy Association)

Occupational Therapists (Iowa Occupational Therapy Association):

Iowa colleges/universities with programs related to early intervention:

This information is adapted with permission from the Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center ( and edited to align with Iowa’s early intervention system.