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What Is the Salary for Graduates with an Early Childhood Education Degree?

Children who attend child care or preschool situations aren't there simply to play - they're there to learn. Teachers who specialize in early childhood education must understand how to interact with both children and their parents, as they enter their first academic experience. Read on to learn about the salary you can expect with an early childhood education degree and its various career options.

Career Options

Graduates with a degree in early childhood education can pursue various careers. Some of the most common options include becoming a teacher's assistant, childcare center teacher, preschool teacher or kindergarten teacher. The salaries for each of these careers vary.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Job Outlook (2019-2029) 4% for a teacher's assistants (TA); 2% for a child care teacher (CCT); 4% for a kindergarten teacher (KT)
Certification Not needed (TA); varies by state (CCT) and preschool teacher (PT); public school teachers need certification or licensure (KT)
Work Environment Family services, childcare centers, professional organizations (CCT and PT); Public and private schools (TA and KT)
Similar Occupations Middle and High School Teachers, Special Education Teacher
Key Skills Patience, stamina, interpersonal skills, creativity, communication

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Teacher's Assistant

Teacher's assistants can be responsible for many different duties, depending on the setting. You would assist in implementing the lead teacher's curriculum while helping to maintain an orderly class situation. Your duties may also include helping teachers to evaluate student progress.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a teacher's assistant was $28,900 in May 2020 (www.bls.gov). Wages were $19,610 or less for the bottom 10% of workers and $44,290 or higher for the top 10% of workers. Elementary and secondary schools had the highest employment level and offered an average wage of $30,970. On the other hand, child day care services paid an average wage of $26,600. California, which offered an average wage of $37,260, had the highest employment level. Alaska had the highest average wage of $39,720.

Child Care Center Teacher

A childcare center teacher is responsible for devising a curriculum for children in childcare centers or in the home. That includes planning learning activities, maintaining a safe and clean area and supervising support staff. It also means that you'll be helping children with basic skills, such as tying shoes and toilet training, as well as hygiene issues, such as hand washing. Some of these positions require a minimum of an associate's degree in early childhood education, and some experience working with preschool children.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, childcare workers in general earned a median annual salary of $25,460 in May 2020. The bottom 10% of workers were paid $18,380 or less, while the top 10% earned $37,720 or more. Those working for child day care services earned an average wage of $25,060. The District of Columbia offered the highest average salary of $37,760, while Texas employed the most of these professionals and offered an average wage of $23,370.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers give basic instructions in reading and writing to pre-kindergarten age children. They also use classroom and playground situations to introduce school social situations to children preparing to enter the general education population. The BLS estimates that job opportunities for preschool teachers should grow by 2% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than average.

Salary Information

Most preschools only are open for school hours, and they're closed for most of the summer, limiting your working hours. Many preschool teachers work their way up from teaching assistant positions. The BLS reported that the median wage for preschool teachers were $31,930 in May 2020, but the 10% taking home the biggest paychecks earned $58,230 or more, according to figures from the BLS. On the other hand, the bottom 10% of earners received $21,900 or less.

Child day care services offered an average wage of $32,190, while elementary and secondary schools offered an average wage of $50,520. California had the highest employment level and offered an average wage of $40,450, while New Jersey offered the highest average wage of $47,190.

Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten and early elementary school teachers take what has been learned at the preschool level, and develop more challenging curricula. Subjects such as math, English, phonics and science begin to take precedence, although in kindergarten, there is still time set aside for play. You'll need to expand your education from early childhood to include elementary education.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, the May 2020 median salary for kindergarten teachers was $57,860. Wages were $37,360 or less for the bottom 10% of workers and $91,980 or more for the top 10% of workers. While elementary and secondary schools offered an average wage of $61,630, child day care services offered an average wage of $39,320. Texas had the highest employment level and paid an average wage of $55,810, while Massachusetts offered the highest average wage of $80,700.