Early Childhood Researchers

Job Overview: Early Childhood Researchers are responsible for conducting research that pertains to child development, children and families; positive outcomes in home and school environments; the demographics, concerns, and needs of the ECE workforce; and how public policies impact various aspects of the early care and education system.1 ECE researchers need to be familiar with data collection tools and methods, manage data collection,conduct qualitative and quantitative data, analyze data,communicate efficiently and effectively for written and interpersonal communication, write reports to demonstrate the value of the research and effectively write grants to secure funding for research.1 

Places of Possible Employment:
2.Government and State Agencies
3.Non-Profit and for-profit research organizations

Minimum Requirements and Education:
Research Assistants: Graduate Degree in Child Development, Early Childhood Education, or related degree
Researchers: Ph.D. in Child Development, Early Childhood Education, or related degree 1:   

Salary Range
:  $32,540- $122,340 1 per year 

Recommended Previous Experience:
 Early Childhood Education teacher, Early Childhood Education director/administrator, Early Childhood TA or PD provider

Professional Standards:
In addition to NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies and the NAEYC Code of Ethics, these professional standards from NAEYC are specific to the job of an early childhood researcher: The NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies2 (listed below) are specific to the job of the Early Childhood Researcher:

1. Create research agendas that examine the connections between the standards and competencies and their impact on young children’s development and learning.
2. Identify key features of design, content, field experiences, assessments, and more, in professional preparation programs that effectively prepare candidates in the standards and competencies.
3. Inform the profession about new research on young children’s development, educator quality, and dimensions of effective teaching that will influence the next revision of the standards and competencies.

To maximize children’s development and learning, NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practices Position Statement3 (listed below) is specific for future research conducted by Researchers:

1. Identify which instructional strategies (and other characteristics of early childhood programs) work most effectively for which children under which circumstances.
2. Identify strategies by which educators can recognize and effectively address their implicit biases to provide more equitable learning opportunities for all children.
3. Develop assessment methodologies that fully capture the complexity and diversity of children’s development and learning in authentic, reliable, and valid ways that consider multiple aspects of children’s identities and reflect various cultural ways of learning.
4. Continue to explore various dimensions of young children’s development and learning, teaching quality, dimensions of effective teaching, and the ways in which these play out in different social and cultural contexts.
5. Identify areas of further knowledge needed to help monolingual and multilingual teachers understand how and why to adapt strategies and environments to meet the needs of children who are learning more than one language.

Additional Resources:

Child Care Services Association
UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
The National Institute for Early Education Research
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)
Start Early 
  1. Child Care Services Association. Careers in Early Childhood: A North Carolina Directory. https://www.childcareservices.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NC- ECE-Career-Directory-051419.pdf
  2. The National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2020). Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globallyshared/downloads/PDFs/resources/position-statements/standards_and_competencies_ps.pdf
  3. The National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2020). Developmentally Appropriate Practice: A Position Statement of the National Association for the education of Young Children. (Fourth Edition). https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/resources/position-statements/dap-statement_0.pdf
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