Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators

Core competencies refer to specific, basic concepts, skills and abilities that early childhood professionals should learn, understand and be able to demonstrate. Core competencies are the foundation of a professional development system.

In Texas, we have developed core competencies for Practitioners and Administrators, with the intent of providing guidance to professionals seeking training and for trainers seeking training topics. Below you will find a list of the Core Competency Areas pertaining to each group. For a complete list of the observable competencies that fall under each area, please visit TECPDS to download the full Core Competencies document in English or Spanish.

Early childhood practitioners are those professionals (regardless of early childhood setting) who provide direct instruction and/or care to young children. Common job titles for practitioners include: teacher, assistant teacher, provider, and caregiver. Practitioners may use the Core Competencies as a self-assessment tool or checklist.

Early childhood program administrators are those professionals who are responsible for planning, managing, implementing, and evaluating early childhood programs. Common job titles include: center director, site manager, school administrator, program manager, coordinator, and principal. Administrators may use the Core Competencies to identify areas of need, create targeted professional development plans for the entire staff or individual practitioners, and to evaluate the appropriateness of training offerings.

Core Competencies Training Modules

Throughout the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators training, you will learn about the core competencies found in the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document, developed by the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office (THSSCO), in collaboration with the Texas Early Learning Council (TELC). This training was designed for use by early childhood professionals to improve the quality of care and education young children receive. The content and structure of the competencies can be thought of as a framework for assessing knowledge and skills, guiding training and professional development opportunities, and monitoring progress.

The Core Competencies are very important to the early childhood field of practice. Demonstrating ability and excellence in any profession requires the mastery of different competencies related to the job. There are concepts, practices, and knowledge that early childhood practitioners and administrators must know and be able to demonstrate in order to be effective in facilitating children’s growth and development.

Core competencies are defined as an individual’s demonstrated skills and abilities. The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document lists observable skills that, when accomplished, demonstrate competency in a particular area of knowledge.

Upon completing this training, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the core competency areas;
  2. Identify core concepts of each core competency area;
  3. Describe select observable competencies under a core competency area sub-category; and
  4. Identify strengths and development areas for professional growth.


Download the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators from TECPDS.

The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators Training is available for free on CLI Engage!

Ready to access this resource? Visit www.cliengage.org and follow these quick steps:

  • Click SIGN UP in the top-right of the website.
  • Select "Public Access."
  • Enter a Google ID and password. This will be your login information for CLI Engage.
  • Then, enter a few details about yourself on the next screen and click "Submit."
  • You're in! You will see the dashboard. From here you can navigate to all the tools on CLI Engage.
  • To access the Core Competencies training, find the purple button for "Full Course Catalog."
  • Locate the purple button for Core Competencies and get started by enrolling in each course!