Between 2017 and 2018, there were more than 1.5 million 3- and 4-year-old children enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs in the United States. During that same time, the top 10 largest for-profit childcare organizations in the U.S had capacity for more than 730,000 children. These numbers represent opportunities for teachers and educators who have a heart for working with the very young.
Some positions in early childhood education settings are available only to those with a master’s degree. In addition to working directly with students in the classroom, there are other paths to follow. These include curriculum development, childcare/preschool administration, leadership in pre-kindergarten programs like Head Start, leadership in a private preschool or childcare center, and home-based educator in programs such as Early Head Start.
Jobs for Graduates with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
A master’s degree in early childhood education will prepare you to find success in a position that matches your specific passions and career goals.
- Preschool teachers work with students, ages 3 to 5, in the classroom, preparing them for transition into kindergarten.
- A childcare director manages and supervises an entire childcare center.
- A director of curriculum development helps create and oversee the implementation of appropriate curriculum for children.
- Administrators like principals and assistant principals lead a school, either public or private, and oversee the daily management of academic and operational business.
- Head Start or Early Head Start, organizations which promote school readiness, hire graduates for teaching, supervisory, and administrative roles.
- Some graduates with an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education specialize in working with children who have special needs or children who are English language learners.
- Graduates can also go on to teach in post-secondary education, preparing others to work in the field of early childhood education.
The Financial Benefits of Having a Master’s Degree in Education
As a graduate, you may see a significant increase in your salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that even a starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is approximately 10% higher than a teacher with a bachelor’s degree.
The difference in compensation for classroom teachers and administrative roles is even greater. According to Study.com, preschool teachers in 2018 earned a mean annual wage of $34,410, but preschool and childcare center directors earned $47,940 as a median annual wage. Jobs in this category are expected to increase by 7% by 2028. Similar positions in individual and family services or in religious organizations had significantly higher mean annual wages.
Earning a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education Degree
Worcester State University offers a fully online program for those who wish to pursue the advanced degree of M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education.