The NC Model Salary Scale: NCICDP Compensation Toolkits & Trainings

Background: Efforts for increasing the compensation for the Early Childhood Education workforce has long been recognized as an important need in ensuring a high quality, educated and stable workforce for young children and families. The expectations of an Early Childhood Education professional is high and yet the wages are low. This creates barriers in attracting and retaining qualified teachers and results in staffing shortages and high teacher turnover for child care programs and families.

Historically we have seen that NC Early Childhood Educators earned low wages (Highest Lead Teacher Wage, $15/hr; beginning Lead Teacher Wage, $10.50) while teacher education levels have been increasing across all positions since 2015. In addition, NC Pre-K salary guidelines are based on parity with public schools, but are not required.

Building upon the previous work of the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals who had initially initiated wage-parity work and tying education and compensation in creating previous models, the NC Moving the Needle Team (a multi-state project of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center) developed a draft of a model salary scale for NC Early Childhood Education teachers based on specific principles. The principles included:

  • Wage parity with public school teachers (not compensation parity); the goal was to envision the ECE workforce being paid the same as K-12 educators with similar qualifications
  • 100% wage parity for teachers with B-K license as required by the public school system
  • Smaller percentage for an early childhood degree, but without a license
  • Voluntary use by ECE programs, serves as a tool
  • Equity between levels of wages, reward for education
  • Minimum of $15/hr. on the scale

UNC-Charlotte was funded to conduct a survey study to obtain feedback about the scale from the NC Early Childhood Education workforce. The survey targeted teachers, administrators, and organizations that support the workforce. From this survey, the model salary scale was further revised, refined and adjusted. In addition, documentation was created to provide guidance on the use of the scale. The final version of the NC Early Childhood Compensation Collaborative Model Salary Scale for Early Education Teachers (NC Model Salary Scale) was published in February 2021.

The NC Model Salary Scale sets recommended minimum standards for education levels and compensation. It is education or certification based and calls for wage parity for lead teachers with a BA/BS degree plus B-K License in early childhood programs with entry level public school teachers. Professional entry level education/certification for an Infant/Toddler or Preschool certificate has a starting salary of $11.79. The goals of the NC Model Salary Scale are to ensure a living wage and to utilize cost-sharing methods (i.e. cost shared between providers, parents, governmental bodies and other funders) to fund compensation efforts. To be clear, families are not the intended source of funding for programs to implement salary scales.

Shortly after the publication of the NC Model Salary Scale was published, the NC Institute for Child Development Professional’s (NCICDP) Compensation Workgroup began work on the development of Model Salary Scale Toolkits. The Toolkits were designed to provide compensation information and resources for child care center staff, family child care providers, technical assistance (TA) specialists working with early childhood education programs (both center based and home based) and Early Childhood higher education faculty and to assist them in implementation of a compensation salary scale.

NCICDP Model Salary Scale Toolkits & Training Resources

Click here to access the Toolkit Guidance and Resources for Early Childhood Center Based Programs (Coming soon)

Click here to access the Toolkit Guidance and Resources for Family Child Care Home Providers (Coming soon)

Click here to access the Toolkit Guidance and Resources for Higher Education Faculty/PD & TA Trainers Resources (Coming soon)

Click here to register for Level 1 Training on the Model Salary Scale Toolkit (Coming soon)

The purpose of level 1 training is to introduce participants to the newly developed salary scale toolkit. It will ensure participants are familiar with how to access the toolkit, how to navigate the toolkit, provide a basic overview of the content of the toolkit and the history of the model salary scale and toolkit development.  This training is provided in an online, asynchronous format. Note: Level 1 training is a basic introduction/overview of the Salary Scale Toolkit. This training is NOT intended to provide detailed instruction or support on the toolkit’s content/resources (see level 2 training).

Click here to register for Level 2 Training on the Model Salary Scale Toolkit (Coming soon)

The purpose of level 2 training is to more deeply explore the actual toolkit content and resources in its entirety to help participants move more towards application and implementation of a salary scale and utilization of the toolkit resources and/or to assist others in implementation of salary scale in a child care program. This training is provided in an online, synchronous format. Note: All participants enrolling in Level 2 training, must have previously successfully completed Level 1 training.


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