Jobs and Salary Info for a Masters in Early Childhood Education

Master's degrees in early childhood education typically prepare students to work with children from infancy to third grade in education and caregiving settings. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for early childhood education graduates.

Essential Information

Programs in early childhood education prepare graduates to work with infants and children up to around age 8 (third grade). A master's degree in this field can open a wide range of job opportunities in administration, teaching, and caregiving in preschools and elementary schools in private and public settings. Graduates can also pursue careers in postsecondary education, preparing others to work within this field.

Career Titles Childcare / preschool administrator Elementary school teacher Postsecondary Teacher
Education Requirements High school diploma Bachelor's degree Graduate degree
Licensure & Certification Some states require licensure Required by public and some private schools n/a
Job Growth (2012-2022) 17%* 12%* 19% (for all postsecondary teachers)*
Average Salary (2014) $52,190* $56,830* $65,180 (for all postsecondary education teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Childcare/Preschool Administrator

A master's degree in early childhood education allows one to work as an administrator of a day care or preschool facility, performing many leadership roles. Childcare and preschool administrators take on managerial roles within the facility. They create and enforce policies, complete necessary reports and maintain budgets.

Human resource duties for childcare agency managers include hiring, training and evaluating staff members. They often serve as curriculum directors, setting educational standards and determining age-appropriate curriculum. Public relations are part of the administrators' responsibilities, as they collaborate with parents and the community.

Salary & Job Growth

Administrator/director salaries differ depending on the type of facility and the assigned duties. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that preschool teachers earned an average annual wage of $32,040 in 2014. However, preschool and childcare center directors earned $52,190 as an average annual wage in 2014, and jobs for this category were expected to increase by 17% between 2012 and 2022.

Elementary Teacher

Many early elementary teachers pursue a master's degree in early childhood education. They can thus enhance their skills instructing young students while earning necessary continuing education hours for teacher certification. Teachers use varied instructional strategies to teach age-appropriate lessons in math, reading, writing, science and social studies. Through regular observation and testing techniques, teachers evaluate students' educational and social development, making adaptations as needed so that all students can succeed, regardless of their cultural background or educational capabilities.

Maintaining a classroom environment conducive to learning and establishing an effective classroom management plan are important in early childhood classrooms. Teachers collaborate with colleagues and parents to maximize student achievement.

Salary & Job Growth

The BLS reported that kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned average annual salaries of $53,480 and $56,830, respectively, in 2014, and predicted jobs to increase by 12% over 2012-2022 for these teachers.

Postsecondary Teacher

Research-focused master's degree programs in early childhood education prepare graduates to conduct educational research and to teach education and child development courses at the postsecondary level. Some colleges and universities require their instructors to hold doctorate degrees, but many community colleges and technical education schools employ teachers with a master's degree.

Postsecondary teachers plan and execute lessons, evaluate student performance and advise students in their career paths. Some instructors also work on research projects. It's important for those in postsecondary education to stay current on developments in their field through professional journals and organizations, conferences and collaboration with colleagues.

Salary & Job Growth

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for postsecondary education teachers in 2014 was $65,180, and job growth is expected to increase by 19% for all postsecondary teachers over the 2012-2022 decade.

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