TABLE 8-2 Level of Formal Education and Training of Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce (percentage)

Program Type

Level of Education and/or Training

High School or Less

Associate’s Degree/Some College

B.A. or More

Child Development Associate

State License or Endorsement

Prekindergarten

13

14

73

23

57

Head Start

31

33

36

22

N/A

Center-based

30

41

30

18

44

Home-based (FCC)

56

32

11

3

7

NOTE: Prekindergarten data from Gilliam and Marchesseault (2005); Head Start data from Hamm (2006); center-based data (includes teachers and directors) and home-based data on formal education are from Herzenberg, Price, and Bradley (2005), center-based and family child care data on credentials from Saluja, Early, and Clifford (2002).

SOURCE: Kagan et al. (2008).

characterizes the field in terms of two categories: child care workers and preschool teachers. Child care workers are adults who primarily perform such duties as feeding, dressing, and overseeing the play of children, and preschool teachers provide a more educational experience for the children in their care. Using these definitions, child care workers were near the bottom of the compensation ladder, earning more than only 22 of the 820 occupations that were assessed by BLS in 2004—their earned incomes were within 5 percent of short-order cooks and parking lot attendants and considerably less than preschool teachers (Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2006).

While there is little dispute regarding the wide salary differences that exist among early childhood teachers, most observers suggest that compensation differs according to the particular type of program and its attendant required credentials. For example, preschool teachers who work in settings in which teacher certification is required command higher salaries and compensation packages than teachers who work in settings in which lower levels or no certification is required. Setting and its attendant requirements are not the only variable that influences compensation; it also varies by geographic region, with early childhood educators in southern states receiving the lowest levels of compensation (Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2006).

In addition to low wages, many ECE teachers do not receive health insurance benefits from their employers. Specifically, 28 percent of center-based early childhood educators received health insurance benefits from their employer between 2002 and 2004, and 21 percent of ECE teachers reported that they had no health insurance during this time (Herzenberg,



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement