Early childhood education is an incredibly important field, as educators in pre-kindergarten and early elementary school play a critical role in shaping children’s minds and preparing them for their academic futures. However, despite the high level of responsibility and care required of early childhood educators, salaries in this field are often lower than in other industries.
What is Early Childhood Education?
First, let’s define what we mean by “early childhood education.” Early childhood education (ECE) refers to the education of young children from birth to age eight, which encompasses preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and the early elementary grades. Educators in this field are responsible for providing a nurturing, supportive environment in which children can develop social skills, learn academic content, and create a foundation for future academic success.
Average Early Childhood Education Salaries
Early childhood educator salaries can vary based on factors such as location, level of education, and years of experience. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for preschool and kindergarten teachers was $30,520 as of May 2018, while the median salary for elementary school teachers was $58,230.
It’s important to note, however, that these salaries can vary greatly depending on location. Salaries in urban areas, for example, may be higher than those in rural areas, due to differences in cost of living. Additionally, early childhood educators with advanced degrees and many years of experience may be eligible for higher salaries.
Factors Affecting Early Childhood Education Salaries
As mentioned above, there are several factors that can affect early childhood education salaries. Here are some of the most important:
As mentioned, early childhood education salaries can vary greatly based on location. According to data from the BLS, preschool and kindergarten teachers in New York, for example, earn an average of $46,610 per year, while those in Mississippi earn an average of $24,220 per year.
Level of Education
Educators with higher levels of education may be eligible for higher salaries. For example, a teacher with a master’s degree in early childhood education may be eligible for a higher salary than a teacher with only a bachelor’s degree.
Years of Experience
Experience is also a key factor in determining early childhood education salaries. Teachers with several years of experience in the field may be eligible for higher salaries than those who are just starting out.
Strategies for Increasing Early Childhood Education Salaries
If you are an early childhood educator looking to increase your salary, there are several strategies you can consider:
Furthering Your Education
One way to increase your salary in the field of early childhood education is to further your education. Pursuing a master’s degree, for example, may make you eligible for higher-paying positions within the field.
Networking with other educators and professionals in the field of early childhood education may also be helpful in your pursuit of a higher salary. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and connect with other educators on social media to expand your network and learn about career opportunities.
Seeking Employment in High-Paying Areas
As mentioned earlier, salaries for early childhood education can vary greatly based on location. If you’re interested in increasing your salary, consider seeking employment in high-paying areas where the cost of living is also higher.
While salaries in the field of early childhood education may not be as high as in some other industries, educators in this field play an incredibly important role in shaping the minds of young children. Ultimately, salaries should not be the primary factor in a decision to pursue a career in early childhood education, but it’s important to be aware of the average salaries in your area and to consider strategies for increasing your earning potential if it is a priority for you.