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 educational and caregiving settings. Find out about program curricula, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for early childhood education graduates.

Individuals with a master's degree in early childhood education are highly trained in the needs of infants, preschool children, and school-age children up to the age of eight. They are ideal candidates to work as a childcare or preschool administrator, elementary school teacher or post-secondary teacher. In some states a license or teacher's certificate may be required to teach at some levels.

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 post-secondary education, preparing others to work within this field.

Career Titles Childcare / preschool administrator Kindergarten abd 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 (2014-2024)* 7% for preschool and childcare center directors 6% for kindergarten and elementary school teachers 13% for all postsecondary teachers
Mean Salary (2015)* $52,760 for education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program $57,730 for elementary school teachers, except special education $71,060 for all post-secondary 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 upon type of facility and the assigned duties. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that preschool teachers earned a mean annual wage of $32,500 in 2015. However, preschool and childcare center directors earned $52,760 as a mean annual wage in 2015, and jobs for this category are expected to increase by 7% between 2014 and 2024.

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 an annual mean salary of $57,730 in 2015, and predicts that jobs will increase by 6% over 2014-2024 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 mean annual salary for post-secondary education teachers in 2015 was $71,060, and job growth is expected to increase by 13% for all postsecondary teachers over the 2014-2024 decade.

Childcare and preschool administrators oversee the staff, curriculum and budget of their center. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct children in subjects such as math, reading and writing at age-appropriate levels, while post-secondary teachers in this field instruct adults in principles and techniques of early childhood education. A teaching license is required for some of these positions. From 2014-2024, post-secondary teachers are expected to see the fastest rate of job growth among these professionals, with the BLS predicting a 13% increase in jobs. Job growth for elementary teachers and childcare and preschool administrators is predicted to be 6% and 7% respectively, which average compared to all occupations.

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