ECE teacher reading book to toddlers

Early Childhood Teachers

  • Early Childhood Educator I, II, III6 
  • Lead Teacher, Teacher4;  
  • Teacher, Assistant Teacher7,8 

Job Overview: Within any center-based setting, teachers may hold a variety of positions. Beginning teachers are often called Assistant Teachers or Teaching Assistants, and work under the supervision of a more educated, experienced teacher. In larger programs, teachers with more education and experience may earn the title of Lead Teacher. This position entails more planning and supervision of other teachers, as well as center administrative responsibility.3 Teachers are responsible for planning and implementing learning experiences that advance the intellectual and physical development of children including: improving their readiness for school by developing their literacy skills, vocabulary, appreciation of books and increased problem-solving skills while maintaining a safe, healthy environment.8 

Places of Possible Employment:
 For-Profit, Non-profit and Public Early Care and Education Centers and Birth to Age 8 (Public school Pk – 3rd, Head Start, Early Head Start, University Settings, For Profit Child Care Centers, Nonprofit Child Care Centers) Family Child Care Homes, In-Home Settings (Nanny), Children’s Museums as Education Coordinators 

Minimum Requirements and Education:
Lead Teacher or Early Childhood Educator II and III
  • High School Diploma plus EDU 119 (Introduction to Early Childhood Education, NC Community College System)4
  • Possess an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education6
Assistant Teacher or Early Childhood Educator I
  • High School Diploma or hold an NCEEC Para-Professional certificate7,11
  • Possess an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education or be enrolled in a CDA or comparable credential program6,7

Salary Range
:  $26,660 – $54,780 per year 

Recommended Previous Experience:
 Camp counselor, informal or formal after-school provider, non-profit or church child care during services or events, gymnastics or dance instructor for young children, babysitting, volunteer in an early care and education setting, volunteer in children’s services in a library, staff in a children’s museum 

Professional Standards:
The NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies (listed below) and the NAEYC Code of Ethics are specific to the job of the Early Childhood Teacher.
  • Standard 1. Child Development and Learning in Context
  • Standard 2. Family Partnerships and Community Connections
  • Standard 3. Child Observation, Documentation, and Assessment
  • Standard 4. Developmentally, Culturally, and Linguistically Appropriate Teaching
  • Standard 5. Knowledge, Application, and Integration of Academic Discipline Content in the Early Childhood Curriculum
  • Standard 6. Professionalism as an Early Childhood Educator 5

Additional Resources:

Great Early Childhood Teacher Brochure

3 Child Care Services Association. (2018). Careers in early childhood a North Carolina directory, fifth edition. Retrieved from 

4 Division of Child Development and Early Education. (N.d.). North Carolina Minimum Requirements for Teachers. Retrieved from,%20Lead%20Teacher,%20Teacher,%20SA%20Group%20Leader,%20SA%20Program%20Coordinator.pdf 

5 Power to the Profession. (2020).  Professional standards and competencies for early childhood educators. Retrieved from 

6 Power to the Profession. (2020). Unifying framework for the early childhood education profession. Retrieved from 

7 National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018). Education requirements for center-based assistant teachers. Staff qualifications:  Steps for programs to consider. 

8 National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018). Education requirements for center-based preschool teachers. Staff qualifications: Steps for programs to consider. Retrieved from 

9 National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018). Education requirements for coaches. Staff qualifications: Steps for programs to consider. Retrieved from 

10National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2017). Designing family-friendly consumer education on child care. Retrieved from 

11 North Carolina Institute for Child Development Professionals. (2017). NC early care and education professional certification scale. Retrieved from 

©AWS - 2023 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514