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Early Childhood Education Major

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Early Childhood Education

12,787 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
3,466 Master's Degrees Annually
#2 in Popularity
$34,410 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Early Childhood Education Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many early childhood education graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 12,806
Associate’s Degree 7,234
Basic Certificate 5,329
Master’s Degree 3,466
Undergraduate Certificate 1,990
Graduate Certificate 215
Doctor’s Degree 16

What Early Childhood Education Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to child development and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Child development Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills for Child development Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to child development:

  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Abilities for Child development Majors

A major in child development will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

What Can You Do With a Early Childhood Education Major?

People with a child development degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education 8.0% $55,470
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education 10.5% $29,780

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education?

12,806 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
96% Percent Women
38% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 96% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of child development majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Child development Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 611
Black or African American 1,196
Hispanic or Latino 2,655
White 7,200
International Students 223
Other Races/Ethnicities 921

Geographic Diversity

Child development appeals to people across the globe. About 1.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Early Childhood Education Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $34,410 to $58,370 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to child development. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Early Childhood Education Major  ( 34410 to 58370 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some degrees associated with child development may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for child development careers below.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 14.8%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 5.3%
Some College Courses 6.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 47.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 9.5%
Master’s Degree 13.3%

Online Early Childhood Education Programs

In 2018-2019, 1,073 schools offered a child development program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 210 63
Certificate (1-2 years) 216 43
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 1
Associate’s Degree 473 95
Bachelor’s Degree 63 11
Post-Baccalaureate 210 63
Master’s Degree 233 57
Post-Master’s 15 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 10 2
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Early Childhood Education Worth It?

The median salary for a child development grad is $34,410 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to child development.

Major Number of Grads
Elementary Education 39,946
Secondary Education 9,585
Teacher Education 7,895
Teacher Development & Methodology 5,446
Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education & Teaching 3,330
Kindergarten/Preschool Education & Teaching 2,085
Adult & Continuing Education 1,222
Montessori Teacher Education 360


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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