Position & Salary Comparisons

To view current salary ranges by position, click  NC Careers in Early Childhood Guide, Third Edition, published by Child Care Services Association.

Workforce Study Data

Published data show that workforce compensation varies based on role and the setting in which an Early Educator works.

According to the 2015 workforce study reports that starting teachers earned a median $10 .00 per hour.

The study notes, “The situation for assistant teachers, with a median starting wage in 2015 of $9.00 per hour, represents a 6.1% increase in buying power during this same time period. Median highest paid teacher wages rose from $11.92 per hour (adjusted) in 2011 to $12.50 in 2015. Median highest assistant teacher wages declined slightly from a 2011 figure of $10.06 per hour (adjusted) to $10.00 in 2015.”

2014 Institute Sample Salary Schedules


Assistant Teacher

Master Mentor Teacher

Head Start Salary Schedule

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.

NC PreK Salary Schedule

The minimum compensation for a NC PreK teacher 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

Minimum Wage

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 ( 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

Labor Resources


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

Salary Supplements

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

Health insurance resources and information about the Affordable Care Act can be found under the Health and Wellness website section.

Life Insurance

Learn more about life insurance by reviewing the attached overview and exploring the resources provided.


Learn about the facts and learn how to plan for the future in the Institute Guide to investing in your future!

Resources & Research



©AWS - 2010 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514