Explore Rewarding Careers with an Early Childhood Education Degree


An early childhood education degree, or ECE degree, provides aspiring educators with diverse opportunities to impart crucial lessons tailored to the growth of young children. These opportunities span various educational roles specializing in early childhood education, allowing individuals to significantly impact the foundational knowledge of numerous children. That said, we’ll dive into some jobs you can get with an early childhood education degree.

What is Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood education encompasses the learning phase occurring from birth to eight years old. Various programs and curricula approaches are accessible, ranging from preschool to the end of early childhood, with funding options including federal, state, or private sources. These initiatives aim to guide students in achieving cognitive standards and benchmarks crucial for their ongoing education.

Top Careers in Early Childhood Education

If you’re curious about the possibilities with an ECE degree, here’s a list of careers available in early childhood education. Explore the educational prerequisites, job responsibilities, and average salaries for each role to help you determine the right fit for your career.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers, who typically hold an Associate’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, earn an average salary of $29,780 per year. They work in various settings, such as daycare services, state, local, or private schools, private homes, religious institutions, grantmaking organizations, and civic centers. In their role, preschool teachers administer fundamental lessons in early childhood education to help children meet developmental standards.

Their day-to-day activities involve working with young children individually and in groups, tracking student progress, organizing educational activities, and creating daily schedules. Beyond academic instruction, preschool teachers also focus on emotional and social education, utilizing team exercises to improve social skills and teach lessons on inclusion and respect.


Nannies, with wages ranging from minimum wage to $18 per hour and varying educational requirements depending on the state, employer, and workplace, typically work in private homes. The role of a nanny is highly adaptable, as it depends on the specific needs of the employer, child, and family. In essence, nannies provide attentive and warm care to the children under their supervision.

While their primary responsibility is childcare, nannies may also be tasked with additional duties such as transporting children to events, grocery shopping, and maintaining the cleanliness of the house. A unique aspect of this job is the potential for it to be a live-in position, where the nanny resides on the employer’s property and is available to care for the children at any time. It’s important to consider the variability in responsibilities, salary, and educational requirements associated with the role of a nanny.

Childcare Center Director

As a Childcare Center Director earning an average salary of $47,940 per year and typically requiring a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, the role involves managing an early childhood education center, often away from direct classroom interaction. Directors are responsible for supervising staff, hiring educators, shaping curricula and academic standards, managing finances, liaising with parents, and maintaining health and safety standards.

Some directors own their centers, while others are employed by owners or educational chains, necessitating adherence to their policies and goals. This position is more administrative, focusing less on hands-on interaction with students and more on the overall management of the center. Directors work in various environments, including child daycare services, grantmaking organizations, civic centers, religious institutions, and state, local, or private schools.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten teachers, earning an average salary of $57,980 per year and typically holding a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, work in public and private elementary schools, child daycare services, charter schools, and religious-based schools. Their responsibilities largely mirror those of preschool teachers, involving the creation of lesson plans, daily class schedules, and tracking student progress, with a continued emphasis on emotional and social lessons.

However, the role evolves as students build on their preschool knowledge. Key differences include the environment: unlike preschoolers, who mostly stay in one room, kindergarten students move between various classrooms for different lessons, go to the lunchroom, play outside, and participate in field trips, requiring a higher level of supervision. Most kindergarten teachers work in private or public schools, with a small percentage in daycare services.

Childcare Worker

Childcare workers, earning an average salary of $23,240 per year and typically requiring a high school diploma or equivalent, work in childcare centers, their own homes, or private homes. They share many responsibilities with preschool teachers but operate outside the traditional classroom setting. Their role involves caring for children, organizing schedules encompassing education, play, and meals, introducing basic concepts, and preparing children for the next educational stage, usually kindergarten.

These workers also facilitate the development of social relationships among children and engage them in activities like art or dance. They sometimes collaborate with children’s teachers to focus on specific lessons or skills. Additionally, childcare workers don’t exclusively cater to preschoolers; they often care for older children before and/or after school, assisting with homework and other school curriculum aspects, and some continue this educational support during the summer.

School Counselor or Psychologist

School counselors, with an average salary of $56,310 per year and typically requiring a Master’s degree in school counseling or a related field, work in various settings, including private, public, charter, and religious-based schools, as well as healthcare and social assistance organizations. They play a key role in assisting students with academic and social skills not typically taught in the classroom, such as study techniques and time management.

Through individual or small group sessions, they identify and address issues affecting students’ academic performance, often collaborating with students, teachers, and parents to find solutions. Additionally, they educate students and staff on sensitive topics like drug abuse and bullying. The role varies depending on the age group; for instance, counselors in elementary schools focus on teaching younger children about decision-making, time management, and social behavior, which differs from the needs of high school students.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers, earning an average salary of $59,780 per year and typically requiring a Bachelor’s degree in special education or a related field, work with students across all age groups, from preschool to high school, who have mental, emotional, physical, or learning disabilities. Their responsibilities vary based on each student’s capabilities and include assessing students’ skills, determining educational needs, discussing progress with parents and school staff, and planning activities tailored to students’ abilities.

These educators are crucial in advancing their students’ education and guiding their progression through different grades. A key aspect of their role is developing and updating Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs), which are comprehensive plans created in collaboration with parents, teachers, and administrators, tailored to each student’s unique needs. Effective creation and management of IEPs are essential for the success of a special education teacher, regardless of the student’s age.

Find Your Career in the Field of Early Childhood Education

Go on a fulfilling journey in early childhood education and make a profound impact on young lives. With a variety of roles ranging from preschool teaching to special education, there’s a place for your unique skills and passion. Whether you’re guiding the first educational steps of toddlers or shaping the futures of elementary students, each day brings a chance to nurture, inspire, and educate. Step into this rewarding field and be the difference in a child’s life.


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