Early Childhood Education Teacher Salary

Early childhood education teacher salary is  linked to experience and educational background. Teachers employed within this field will work with children from birth to five years in age. They play an integral part in the lives of these children, and have a strong impact on their future level of academic achievement. Early childhood education teacher salary is also dependent on their ability to to promote the emotional and social development of each of their students.

Education Requirements

A high school diploma is absolutely mandatory for anyone wishing to enter this industry and earn a early childhood education teacher salary. So, too, is a certificate in early childhood education. However, many employers may also want prospective employees to possess an associate or bachelor degree.

Career Options in Early Childhood Education

One’s career in early childhood education largely depends upon education. An individual with only a high school diploma and a certification will find her options limited. Someone with a bachelor degree, however, will find more opportunities. What follows are the three most common places of employment for an individual in this industry.

Childcare Centers

Becoming a preschool teacher in a childcare center typically requires only a high school diploma and a certificate in early childhood education. One such nationally recognized certificate, the Childhood Development Associate (CDA), can be obtained through the Council for Professional Recognition. Another certificate, which designates an individual as a Child Care Professional (CCP), can be earned through the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Some states and employers will require the former. Some states and employers will recognize the latter. In either case, both programs require a high school diploma, experience in the field, and coursework. Such certification must be obtained by anyone who wishes to work in a childcare center.

Head Start

All prospective preschool teachers applying to a Head Start program must have at least an associate degree. Due to new regulations, at least 50 percent of the teaching staff at any Head Start program  must now have a bachelor degree. Experience is also expected, but not entirely necessary, for applicants hoping to work in a Head Start program.

Public School

Preschool teachers working within a public school must have at least a bachelor degree in early childhood education or a related field. The courses offered in the former teach students a myriad of skills that will improve both their understanding of how children develop both intellectually and emotionally, and the efficacy of their teaching.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Career in Early Childhood Education

As we’ve seen, the prospects for an individual anticipating a career in early childhood education become far better when one possesses an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Salaries are also dictated by one’s education. As of 2010, the median pay in this industry was $25,700 per year, or $12.35 an hour. The median salary for a teacher who worked in a childcare center was $23,520. The median salary for a teacher who worked in a public school was $39,470, well above the national average for all industries, which was $33,840.

Job Outlook

Salaries may be on the rise in all sectors of this industry, however, as it is growing rapidly. This growth is due to an expected increase in the population of children between the ages of  three-five. According to the projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry is set to grow by 25% from early 2012 to 2020. Compared to the national average of growth for all industries during this same period, 14%, this is surely a good sign for anyone hoping to become an early childhood education teacher. As demand increases, and the supply of qualified teachers diminishes, salaries should become more competitive, which would directly affect early education teacher salary.


Potential workers in this field must recognize that career advancement may be limited if they do not posses a bachelor’s degree. If one does have a bachelor’s degree, however, she may be able to become a preschool or childcare center director. A director, as of 2010, had a median salary of $42,960 per year, or $20.65 per hour. Furthermore, such positions should be plentiful, as the BLS expects 15,800 new directors to be hired between 2010 and 2020.

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