There is a difference between the ECE profession and the ECE field.
These are the definitions put forth by Power to the Profession, currently under review by Vermont’s workforce:
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Profession: The early childhood education profession includes individuals who meet the guidelines established for the profession, called Early Childhood Educators. They are defined by their mastery of specialized knowledge, skills and competencies and accountability to the standards of the profession. (ex. Code of Ethics). Additional members of the ECE Profession include: (1) those who teach and guide aspiring Early Childhood Educators in professional preparation settings, such as higher education programs, and (2) those who provide supervision and instructional/pedagogical leadership to Early Childhood Educators in early childhood program settings.
The Early Childhood (EC) Field: The early childhood field includes various roles and individuals who are not accountable for all of the responsibilities of the ECE Profession. It also includes individuals who choose not to or cannot adhere to the guidelines established by the profession. Those in the field can be valuable partners, but are not considered members of the profession. Related occupations and professions in the EC field include mental health consultants, social workers, child psychologists, home visitors and others prepared within an allied profession. These individuals are part of the field but not the profession. While employers or funders may require that individuals serving in roles in the field be Early Childhood Educators, that is at their discretion and doesn’t make that role part of the profession. For example, a home visiting program may require home visitors to be Early Childhood Educators, but that doesn’t make all home visitors part of the early childhood education profession.