Early Childhood Education Salary

Finding the right role for your goals and interests in the early childhood education sector can be an inspiring motivator. Understanding the salaries and benefits as well as the time and educational commitments for each profession within the field can also help you make wise decisions about your professional teaching or administrative career.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says job demand and growth is on the rise for early educators, especially at the preschool level. The needs and benefits of early education are becoming more apparent, which is leading to more job opportunities. Growth within daycare and preschools, and more public and private education systems implementing preschool programs are providing a positive outlook for those choosing to enter this field. Overall, it is expected for the field of early childhood education to grow by 10 percent within the next decade, which places it high above many other occupational fields (some specific job growth data is included below).

With that in mind, let’s explore the salary you can earn, and the predicted job growth rate for some of the most common early childhood education careers.

Salary for Future Teachers of ECE

Post-secondary teachers in early childhood education work in colleges and universities and teach others to be early childhood education teachers. Their 2016 median pay was $75,430 per year, with benefits such as health insurance often part of the package. Typically, those who become post-secondary teachers will have a master’s degree or go on to pursue a doctorate degree in the field in order to further their professional goals. The job outlook for post-secondary teachers over the coming decade is 15 percent, which is faster than average for all occupations says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Preschool Teacher Salaries

Preschool teachers are professionals who are part of a private or public school system. Preschools, like childcare centers, are generally private ventures though some may be attached to public school systems. Because of the private ownership, working conditions, educational expectations and salary rates may vary with each business and organization. The median pay for preschool teachers was $28,790 annually in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with no guarantee of health insurance or other added benefits. The beginning education credentials for a preschool teacher is an associate’s degrees with additional training through certification to keep up with not only state regulations but increasingly, with those from federal agencies.

According to the BLS, median annual wage is also dependent on the type of environment you work in.

  • Elementary and secondary schools: $45,230
  • Individual and family services: $31,060
  • Religious, grant-making, civic, professional: $29,950
  • Child day care services: $26,520

The field for preschool teachers continues to expand. The BLS reports that the profession will grow by 7 percent over the next decade. A few factors are contributing to the growth. In addition to an increase in preschool aged children, more parents are recognizing the benefits of early education and enrolling kids as young as infants.

Preschool and Childcare Center Director Salaries

Preschool and childcare center directors must earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education to begin their career. Further professional training to remain in good standing with state as well as federal licensing organizations will be an on-going requirement as well. They average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a median annual salary of $45,790 per year, with benefits such as health insurance included as part of the remunerative package. These specialized administrators can expect a 7 percent job growth rate over the next decade as well.

Childcare Worker Salaries

Childcare workers are those who work with children directly, often under the employ of parents who need to work during the day. The educational level for these workers is usually lower and so are the salaries. Most childcare worker educational levels begin with a high school diploma and continue with on-the-job training and other certification options designed to help them stay abreast of licensing qualifications and other state regulations. The average pay $10.18 an hour, or a median pay of $21,170 per year, according to statistics from the BLS. This is often without health or other benefits. Benefits and pay will be dependent upon location, and the situation within which you will work and be employed.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher Salaries

Kindergarten teachers and elementary school teachers earn—according to 2016 statistics—a median annual pay of $55,490, with benefits such as health insurance as part of their compensation packages. The starting credentials for these professions are a bachelor’s degrees with on-the-job training and continued credentialing with university or other professional associations to keep up with state and federal regulations and changes. Job growth rate is recorded at 7 percent over the next decade by the BLS, and this figure is about as fast as average growth for all occupations combined.

Special Ed Teacher Salaries

Special Education teachers work in public schools or childcare centers at the preschool level, and are rarer than other types of educators and administrators in the preschool environment. The BLS cites the median annual pay as $57,910 for special ed teachers who hold at least a bachelor’s degree. But because of their rarity at the preschool level, only around 2,300 careers are expected to be added to the field nationally over the next decade, even though the job growth rate for special ed teachers in general equals the national average of 7 percent.


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