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How Much Do Preschool Teachers Make? Early Childhood Education Salary Information & More

Are you having questions about what you can expect your early childhood education salary to be? Or have you been reading articles that end up confusing you even more? If your answer to the above two questions is yes, you have come to the right place. Preschool teacher salaries are competitive, but you have to meet the requirements, and there are many important considerations.

You’ve probably read or heard that you need dozens of certifications, and that scares you even more. In this guide, we will set the difference between what you have heard and what’s true. What’s even fun, the guide expounds on early childhood degree salary and explains whether you should get one. Clear your mind, and let’s get started.

What is the Average Salary for Early Childhood Education Workers?

According to Payscale, a private company that uses algorithms to determine compensation in different regions, early childhood education average salary is as follows.

  • Preschool Teacher: $34,767
  • Elementary School Teacher: $45,018
  • Child Care Director: $45,246
  • Early Childhood Educator (ECE): $37,098
  • Teacher Assistant: $21,609
  • Special Education Teacher: $52,409
  • Pre-Kindergarten Teacher: $36,174

Payscale informs that several factors influence how much an early childhood educator earns. For example, the salary varies depending on the educator’s location and years of experience in the field. What’s more, factors like skills and employer contribute to the variation greatly.

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics adds that job duties contribute to how much an educator earns. For example, special education teachers earn higher than regular teachers. Their duties are more than those of other teachers and include offering mental and emotional support.

The Impact of an Early Childhood Education Degree on Salary

As aforementioned, the level of education is a great determinant of how much an educator earns. Therefore, an early childhood education degree salary is higher than that of an average teacher. What’s more, a degree from a topping university has more influence on your salary than a university considered weak. Here is an overview of how hard your degree can influence your salary.

1. Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Elementary School teachers handle the very basics of the learning experience. They prepare students in basic subjects such as personal interaction, science, and simple mathematics. The annual average salary for kindergarten and elementary school teachers with degrees is $60,660. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the occupation growth outlook stands at 7%.

2. Childcare Center Directors

Child care center directors control and manage the school. They handle everything from supervising staff to designing school calendars and preparing annual budgets. In a single sentence, they ensure the smooth functioning of the school for the children. With a degree in early childhood education, the position of a childcare center director promises $49,160 annually. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for childcare center directors will grow by 11% by 2030.

3. Special Education Teachers

Special educators offer a learning experience to students with special needs. With the position averaging $61,500 per year, the US Bureau of labor statistics estimates that it will grow by 8% by 2030. The major task of a special education teacher is to involve parents in the student’s educational process. Some of the challenges the students with special may have included physical and mental disability.

4. Head Teachers

The head teacher is the senior teacher and is responsible for policy making within the school. Although they teach as well, the main responsibility is handling student affairs and managing staff. What’s more, they set and evaluate the target of the school in academics. The average annual pay range with a degree in bachelor of science in early childhood is $50,196. The pay range may be as low as $30,000 and as high as $82,000 depending on experience and location, among other factors.

Preschool Teacher Salary

Preschool teachers nurture the children’s behavior, development, and mental growth. Additionally, they teach children about colors, shapes, and letters and how to spell them. The degree equips them with skills to teach children how to count and calculate basic math.

The average annual salary for an early childhood education teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is $30,937. Payscale estimates that the pay rise, depending on experience level, stands at 8%. Other data shows that the top 25% best-paid makes $39,720 while the lowest 25% makes $24,820 annually.

Preschool teacher salaries are not even in all areas. According to US News and World Report, the highest salary areas include Vineland, New Jersey, and Laredo, Texas. The former offers $55,430 and the latter $50,350. On the other hand, New Jersey offers the highest mean salary at $43,360, followed by Connecticut at $43,080.

How to Become an Early Childhood Educator

You probably now agree that being an early childhood educator is rewarding. If you love being around children, being a preschool teacher is worthwhile. However, having the necessary education is important in this field. The good thing is that the process is relatively short. Below are the steps.

Acquire a High School Diploma

To be a preschool teacher, you need at least a high school diploma and ECE certification. If you do not have a high school diploma, sign up for classes and take the GED exam. GED is an equivalent of a high school diploma, and applying for it is easy and cost-effective.

Get an Early Childhood Education Degree

You can enroll for a bachelor’s degree in ECE or obtain an associate degree. However, if you want to earn a competitive salary (and of course you do), enroll for a bachelor’s degree. 50% of all early childhood educators in public schools have a bachelor’s degree.

Earn a Certification

To earn proper certification as a preschool teacher, you have to pass state exams after completing the bachelor’s degree. You also need to earn Child Development Associate (CDA) certification from the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA certification requires 480 hours of children’s experience and at least 120 hours of learning. The requirements may vary in some states, but CDA is a requirement in most states.

Find a Job

You’re now a certified early childhood educator! Finding a job and actively teaching will help maintain your CDA certification. Over time, you will gain enough experience and exposure to position yourself as a top-earning preschool teacher.

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Do You Need a Degree to Teach Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood educators must have at least an associate degree and endorsement certificate. However, the head start program requires at least 50% of the nationwide number of teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. The endorsement certificates include CDA, and some states make it a requirement for every teacher.

Having a bachelor’s degree improves your employability better than an associate degree. It does more than just increase your chances of getting employed. Below are other benefits of having a degree:

Prepares You for a Specialized Career

A degree equips you with market-specific skills. The education system has set a career path for every degree program. For example, everyone pursuing a degree in early childhood is set to be a teacher. Such specialization is important as it lets you shine at what you’re best at.

Raises Your Earning Potential

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the average salary depending on education level shows that education pays. According to the report, people with a professional degree earn the highest, followed by a doctoral degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree alone brings a substantial difference than you can imagine.

Provides Personal Growth and Self-Esteem

Earning a degree boosts your confidence when you’re addressing people. What’s more, you get a different view of challenges and a sense to pursue complex issues. Having a bachelor’s degree alone equips you with proficient skills in writing and time management.


Creating a professional network is critical to the success of every individual in their career. Attaining a degree offers that by encouraging students to participate in activities as volunteers and interns. Additionally, universities offer career and job fairs for their students. Therefore, once a student graduates, they have more available support than their counterparts.


Earning a bachelor’s degree increases your demand in the marketplace. The growing occupations like healthcare and technology require you to have a degree. According to a study by Georgetown University, 65% of all jobs in the United States required a degree in 2020. The study shows that earning a degree improves your chances of finding your next dream job.

Earning a degree could be the gate between you and success. It is what everyone needs to succeed, or is it? Let’s have some insight on the other side of the coin. The disadvantages!


Unfortunately, nothing in life is free, not even education. Depending on where you attend school, you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $30,000 on tuition alone. Taking into account interest and loss of income, a bachelor’s degree might run you more than $400,000. It may very well be worth the cost, but be sure to take all these factors into consideration.


Earning a degree means learning for about four years. What’s worse, you risk graduating with the wrong degree. Choosing the right program isn’t easy, especially if you don’t know what you’re best at. That alone could result in wasted time, effort and resources. Before pursuing a degree, evaluate your options just to ensure you’re right.

Want to Know More About Early Childhood Education?

Are you an early childhood educator looking to start your preschool teaching career? If you’re, we can help you set up your daycare. Wonderschool is an all-in-one platform that eases how you run a child care business. Wonderschool offers you, the educator, a platform to connect with families that need your services.

Our mission is to ensure every child accesses early education that helps realize their potential. We would love you to be part of us in this journey. Join us today!