As an early childhood educator, you’ll teach young children basic skills and lay the foundation for their education. Here’s how to get into early childhood education jobs and a look at the prospects.
For those interested in early childhood education jobs, there are a variety of opportunities within the field, especially as the demand for teachers increases worldwide. However, working in early childhood education doesn’t necessarily mean you need to become a teacher. There are a variety of positions within the field, but they all share an interest in working with small children and caring about child development.
The early childhood education job entails:
- Taking care of children’s learning, development, social, and physical needs of young kids
- Core subjects like: english, math, science, social studies
- Structured and unstructured play and activities
Child educators have the intention to teach children from birth to third grade, or around age eight in a public or private setting. Along with this generic job description, there are different types of positions one can pursue within the field.
Here’s a look at some of the most common employment options with a degree in childhood education, as well as the average salaries within the U.S. Then, we’ll rank the highest and lowest paying countries when it comes to early education teachers.
Types of Childhood Education Jobs
Using data from Sokanu.com, we’ve compiled a list of the most common jobs in childhood education, their respective average annual salary, and the requirements necessary to be hired in each role.
1. Preschool Teacher:
Preschool teachers teach young kids the basics of learning and lead developmental activities through music, art, and play. They are often a kid’s first educator as they teach children ages 4 and younger.
|Average Annual Salary (US)||$24,196|
|Requirements||More than half of job postings require a bachelor’s degree, while around 34% will accept someone with an associate degree.|
2. Kindergarten Teacher:
Following pre-school, students ages 5-6 enter kindergarten where their teacher moves onto slightly more advanced topics including: how to read, write, count to higher numbers, and spell.
|Average Annual Salary (US)||$42,670|
|Requirements||More than 90% of job postings prefer to hire someone with a bachelor’s degree.|
3. Teacher’s Aide:
Teacher’s assistants help teachers with the students and often offer more one-on-one assistance with those who need extra attention.
|Average Annual Salary (US)||$22,915|
|Requirements||Most places will hire someone with a high school diploma or vocational training. A minority of employers prefer someone with an associate degree.|
4. Childcare Worker:
Working with less students than teachers in a classroom setting, a childcare worker aids in childhood and education in a private setting, like a home or childcare center.
|Average Annual Salary (US)||$21,397|
|Requirements||Vocational training or a high school diploma; however, nearly a quarter of employers look for someone with an associate or bachelor’s degree.|
5. Childcare Administrator:
Childcare administrators work behind the scenes of teachers in a managerial role to ensure everything is running smoothly in a school or childcare center setting. Sometimes administrators play a small role in teaching, but for the most part, they manage the budgets, curriculum setting, and staff scheduling in an organization.
|Average Annual Salary (US)||$39,887|
|Requirements||The majority require at least an associate’s degree, while some seek bachelor’s or higher.|
Based on salary alone, here’s a look at some of the highest and lowest paying countries, for those at the top of their pay scale in elementary education.
Lowest Paying Countries:
- Slovak Republic – $19K
- Czech Republic – $22K
- Hungary – $25K
- Poland – $26K
- Turkey- $32K
Highest Paying Countries:
- Luxembourg – $122K
- Switzerland – $84K
- Korea – $79K
- Germany- $72K
- United States – $68K
As you can see, there are a variety of options within childcare education, and all of them are on the rise as the demand for employees outpaces the supply.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, kindergarten and elementary school teachers have job growth prospects of 6% from 2014 to 2024. The job outlook remains positive because schools always want to decrease the student-to-teacher ratio and the incoming number of students is strong. In fact, according to the National Center of Education and Statistics (NACE), the number of students enrolling in primary and secondary school is increasing.
As you can see from the positions outlined above, the general requirements vary by job title and even location. Depending on where you want to work, you should look at the requirements of public schools on a state-by-state or country basis. Moreover, here are some important points to know.
Generally, public schools require a state certification, and educators typically earn a bachelor’s in education or a related field like child development, psychology, or sociology.
If you want to become a teacher and want to maximize your opportunities for employment, a bachelor’s degree is a good place to start. During the first two years, you’ll spend time learning general education, and then in the last two years, you’ll move into more in-depth knowledge related to the field, including child development, methods of learning, and learning theories and practices. Many programs will even take you into the classroom for practice while you earn your degree.
1. Complete a teacher preparation program in early childhood education that is approved by your state’s board of education.
2. Complete a student teaching training in an early childhood program.
3. Pass the required state licensure exams.
4. Apply for your teaching certificate of license at the state’s board of education.
5. Apply for jobs!
The Next Step – A Master’s Degree
Perhaps you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree in a different subject and have newly discovered your interest in childhood education. If this is the case, then you can always pursue a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) with your prior bachelor’s degree.
There are both traditional and online programs that allow you to achieve this goal. For example, at University of the People, its 100% online and IB accredited and you can get your M.Ed. with a specialization in either elementary/middle school teaching or secondary education in just five nine-week terms. Check out this post to find out why you should earn your Master’s degree with UoPeople.
As previously discussed, the demand for childhood educators is high and continues to grow. For those who feel like this is the right career path, the most successful teachers and administrators all share something in common: passion for education and children. With patience, kindness and compassion, pursuing a degree and job in childhood education can provide for a rewarding career that literally changes lives!