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The purposes of this study were to present a conceptual model for selection into the early childhood profession and to test the model using contemporaneous assessments. A stratified random sample of center-based child care providers in 4 Midwestern states (n = 964) participated in a telephone interview, and 223 were also assessed with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale—Revised or the Infant–Toddler Environment Rating Scale to rate global observed quality, and the Caregiver Interaction Scale to rate interactional quality. When the model was tested with infant–toddler and preschool teachers combined, having a Child Development Associate (CDA) predicted global observed quality, education years and child development coursework predicted compensation, and compensation predicted observed quality. When the model was tested separately for infant–toddler teachers, years of education and child development coursework predicted compensation, but none of the education variables predicted observed quality and compensation did not predict observed quality. For preschool teachers, years of education predicted compensation and having a CDA predicted observed quality, but compensation did not predict observed quality. For all of the models, only motivations for child care work predicted intention to stay in the profession. No variables in the structural equation models predicted interactional quality.