Jobs, Salaries and Career after Masters in Early Childhood Education and Teaching - Updated 2020

2018 median Pay for Early Childhood Education and Teaching

The median annual wage for preschool teachers was $29,780 in May 2018.


Pay

However, it can also be tiring to work with young, active children all day. Work Schedules Preschool teachers in public schools generally work during school hours. Many work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. Some preschool teachers may teach in summer programs. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 9 weeks in a row then have a break for 3 weeks before starting a new school session. Those working in daycare settings may work longer hours and often work year-round.



Best paying jobs for Education


Number of Jobs for Early Childhood Education and Teaching

Number of Jobs in 2018 was 478,500


Education required

Associate's degree


Job Outlook for Early Childhood Education and Teaching

Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected due to a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education.


Job description of Early Childhood Education and Teaching

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children.

Duties

Preschool teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach children basic skills such as color, shape, number, and letter recognition
  • Work with children in groups or one on one, depending on the needs of children and the subject matter
  • Plan and carry out a curriculum that targets different areas of child development
  • Organize activities so children can learn about the world, explore interests, and develop skills
  • Develop schedules and routines to ensure children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Watch for signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to the attention of the parents
  • Keep records of the students’ progress, routines, and interests, and inform parents about their child’s development

Young children learn from playing, problem solving, questioning, and experimenting. Preschool teachers use play and other instructional techniques to teach children about the world. For example, they use storytelling and rhyming games to teach language and vocabulary. They may help improve children’s social skills by having them work together to build a neighborhood in a sandbox or teach math by having children count when building with blocks.

Preschool teachers work with children from different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Teachers include topics in their lessons that teach children how to respect people of different backgrounds and cultures.


How to become Early Childhood Education and Teaching

Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They typically need at least an associate’s degree.

Education

Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree.

Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Those with a degree in a related field must have experience teaching preschool-age children.

In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Bachelor’s degree programs teach students about children’s development, provide strategies to teach young children, and explain how to observe and document children’s progress.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require preschool teachers to obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA credential requires coursework, experience in the field, a written exam, and observation of the candidate working with children. The CDA credential must be renewed every 3 years.

In public schools, preschool teachers must be licensed to teach early childhood education, which covers preschool through third grade. Requirements vary by state, but they generally require a bachelor’s degree and passing an exam to demonstrate competency. Most states require teachers to complete continuing education credits in order to maintain their license.

Other Experience

A few states require preschool teachers to have some work experience in a childcare setting. The amount of experience necessary varies by state. In these cases, preschool teachers often start out as childcare workers or teacher assistants.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good communication skills to talk to parents and colleagues about students’ progress. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information effectively. They must also be able to communicate well with small children.

Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young students. In addition, they need to adapt their lessons to suit different learning styles.

Interpersonal skills. Preschool teachers must understand children’s emotional needs and be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and coworkers.

Organizational skills. Teachers need to be organized to plan lessons and keep records of their students.

Patience. Working with children can be stressful, and preschool teachers should be able to respond calmly to overwhelming and difficult situations.

Physical stamina. Working with children can be physically demanding, so preschool teachers should have a lot of energy.

Advancement

Experienced preschool teachers can advance to become the director of a preschool or childcare center or a lead teacher, who may be responsible for the instruction of several classes. Those with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education frequently are qualified to teach kindergarten through grade 3, in addition to preschool. Teaching positions at these higher grades typically pay more. For more information, see the profiles on preschool and childcare center directors and kindergarten and elementary school teachers.


What people in similar profession do

Job Title What they do How to become one
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma. Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer those who have a license or certification. Education Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL).
Elementary Education and Teaching Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Private schools typically have the same requirement.
Secondary Education and Teaching High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market. High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require public high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history.
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children. Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They typically need at least an associate’s degree. Education Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree. Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
Educational Leadership and Administration Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program. A bachelor’s degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA). Education Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but educational requirements can vary by state.
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student life, or the registrar’s office. Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. Education Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. However, at smaller colleges or community college, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient.
Special Education and Teaching Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities. Special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. Private schools typically require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, but the teachers are not required to be licensed or certified. For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education. Education All states require special education teachers in public schools to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Curriculum and Instruction Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment. Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some states require licensure for career counselors. Education Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. Degree programs teach counselors the essential skills of the job, such as how to foster academic development; conduct group and individual counseling; work with parents, school staff, and community organizations; and use data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs for all students.
Educational/Instructional Technology Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.

Job Outlook for other majors in Education

Job Title Number of jobs Median Salary Job outlook
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 68200 $53630 Decline
Elementary Education and Teaching 1565300 $57980 As fast as average
Secondary Education and Teaching 1018700 $60320 As fast as average
Educational Leadership and Administration 61800 $47940 Faster than average
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration 180100 $94340 Faster than average
Special Education and Teaching 439300 $59780 As fast as average
Curriculum and Instruction 163200 $64450 Faster than average
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services 291700 $56310 Faster than average
Educational/Instructional Technology 163200 $64450 Faster than average