Published data show that workforce compensation varies based on role and the setting in which an Early Educator works.
According to the most recent workforce study, the average salary for a starting lead teacher was $9.00 hour in 2012 and $8.00 hour for assistant teacher working in center based programs in North Carolina.
Across North Carolina, workforce compensation for teachers beginning their careers remains low. From $7.50/hour for assistant teachers to a high of $10.00. And for lead teachers starting out, the hourly wage ranged across the state from a low of $8 to a high of $14/hour.
The same 2012 study found that licensed early care and education programs with NC prekindergarten classrooms have better compensation at all levels. The study notes that “by State mandate, NC Pre-K classrooms are required to maintain high quality as indicated by higher license levels. Along with this requirement, teachers who work in NC Pre-K classrooms must have at least a bachelor’s degree and Birth-Kindergarten teaching license and must be compensated comparably to licensed teachers in public schools.”
Head Start Staff
The average salary for a Head Start teacher in 2012 was $22,971. In 2009 the average salary was $23,561. (CLASP PIR Profiles).
Compensation in Head Start programs includes salary, bonuses, periodic payments, severance pay, the value of any vacation time, the value of a compensatory or paid leave benefit not excluded by subparagraph (B), and the fair market value of any employee perquisite or benefit not excluded by subparagraph (B) and excludes any Head Start agency expenditure for a health, medical, life insurance, disability, retirement, or any other employee welfare or pension benefit.
PreK Teacher Compensation
The minimum compensation for a PreKteacher with up to one year of experience working in a non-public school program was $26,260 – $26,680 and may include salary, salary plus health OR retirement benefits or salary plus health AND retirement benefits (based on 05-06 NCDPI Teacher Salary Schedule).
Public School Teacher (Licensed)
A licensed public school teacher in North Carolina, with up to one year of experience working is scheduled to earn $30,430 over a 10-month period (NCDPI).
Learn more! Click on A Focus on Compensation
To view current salaries, click on the links below. A directory of early childhood careers and education and compensation levels may be downloaded from here.
In North Carolina, the minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage.
Wage & Hour Law - Adhering to state and federal Wage and Hour Laws is critical for attracting and retaining early are and education and school age care professionals. Contact the NC Department of Labor (www.nclabor.com) and visit the link above for more information.
Wage & Hour Tip Sheets
Developed with help from the NC Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Bureau and the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
Workforce turnover rates for those working directly with young children vary based on program auspice (i.e. center, home, Head Start, etc.) and the types of supports provided. For example, those working in a regulated program and receiving a salary supplement through the Child Care WAGE$® Project has shown to reduce turnover.
Living Wage Calculator - In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. MIT developed this living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location. The original calculator was modeled after the Economic Policy Institute’s metropolitan living wage tool. Click here to access calculator.
Payroll Calculator - Intuit offers a free payroll calculator to crunch the numbers and show you how much to pay and what to deduct for taxes original calculator. Click here to access calculator.
Wage & Fringe Benefits Calculator - A Head Start wage and fringe benefits calculator may be found at this link. It offers background information, strategies for improving or enhancing organizational wage and fringe benefit compensation plans and policies, and sample forms and worksheets.
Early care and education programs may offer benefits to its employees. The 2012 workforce study noted previously found, that “working in sites with an NC Pre-K classroom increases the opportunity to receive full health insurance, parental leave, sick time and retirement.”
For Certified Early Educators
Certified early educators are provided access to a host of discounts and benefits through the EEC Rewards & Benefits portal.
Certified early educators can save on supplies, every day purchases, business services, professional development, entertainment venues, computers, cell phones and more. Click here to access EEC Rewards & Benefits details.
Vendors interested in providing an EEC Rewards should contact Debra Torrence at email@example.com.
Salary supplements are a critical workforce support that reduces turnover and supports increased education levels for early childhood teachers working in regulated programs. Salary supplements are needed statewide. Salary supplements through the Child Care WAGE$® Project provide increases based on education earned. The supplements in turn help committed teachers remain in the field and support hundreds of small businesses retain their educated teachers.
While salary supplements are a proven strategy that benefits our state, teachers, children, families and communities they are not available to all early childhood teachers due to limited funding allocated to this vital support.
Learn more about the Child Care WAGE$® Project and download materials here.
Health insurance resources and information about the Affordable Care Act can be found under the Health and Wellness website section.
Life insurance is a promise that an insurance company makes to you to pay a specific amount of money upon your death. It is a premium-paid benefit designed to make payment to designated beneficiary(ies) in the event of loss of life.
Learn more about life insurance by reviewing the attached overview and exploring the resources provided.
Planning for retirement is a task that is easy to put off until next month or next year. The older you are, the harder it is to find the time and the energy. Planning for retirement is especially important for women, who live on average four years longer than men and as a result need more income.
Learn about the facts and learn how to plan for the future in the Institute Guide to investing in your future!
Resources & Research