Career Pathways Tool >> Working with Directors

My ideal career is an:

Early Childhood Program Officer

Program officers within early childhood funding initiatives (e.g. Smart Start), community agencies (e.g. United Way), state agencies and foundations research projects or programs and take the lead in working with other staff, consultants and the funders to determine specific priorities and intended outcomes desired from grant making and/or special funding initiatives. Program officers often oversee the implementation and evaluation of funded efforts that are selected during a grant review process.

Tasks include reviewing and analyzing grant proposals, conducting interviews and site visits with applicants, preparing written reports and recommendations to the agency director, trustees or board members, and the monitoring of the results of previous grants. These tasks require a strong working knowledge of the field of early childhood. Internal work may include participation in the development of policies and procedures and the provision of staff support to the board.

Program officers may also participate in, and provide leadership to, collaborative efforts involving other funders and community groups designed to address issues of importance to the funder and the broader community. They may also represent the foundation or organization at community meetings, conferences and other events. They may be called upon to raise resources for initiatives as well. Program officers may be requested to provide assistance to organizations and individuals requesting information or advice about resource development, program development and/or nonprofit management issues. Program officers must be able to work with team members and independently in representing the funder in local, state, national and international forums. Strong written and oral communication and technology skills are required.

Job possibilities at:


Public and nonprofit agencies

Recommended education:

Graduate degree in Public Policy, Business Management, Early Childhood Education/Child Development, or Human Services with 3 – 5 years of professional experience

Typical salary range:

$41,000 – $131,200