The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

Daycare teachers play an integral part in the formative years of millions of children across the United States. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about daycare teachers and their salaries.

Table of Contents:

Average daycare teacher salary in the United States

Percentile Salary
10th percentile daycare teacher salary $29,505
25th percentile daycare teacher salary $32,601
50th percentile daycare teacher salary $36,001
70th percentile daycare teacher salary $41,001
90th percentile daycare teacher salary $45,553


For daycare teachers in the United States, the average daycare worker salaries can range between $13,000 - $50,000 with the median salary typically ranging between $32,500 and $40,900. 

While Indeed discloses the average base salary at $31,426, demonstrates that the national average is closer to $35,901 with the lower 10% making less than $30,000 and the top 10% making over $45,000. 

Daycare teachers around the country will find that this range fluctuates based on many factors. Factors influencing salary range include geographic location, years of experience, certifications, and education.

Daycare teacher salary with degree

The level of education influences the salary of a daycare teacher in the United States. However, using the list below, you can see that the difference isn’t too significant. 

According to, the difference in salary between a non-diploma daycare teacher and one with a Ph.D. is merely $1,269. The salary research website reports that  daycare teachers with a JD, MD, or Ph.D. equivalent degree listed as making their reported national average of $35,901.

  • No diploma/high school diploma: $34,632

  • Associate’s degree:$34,886

  • Bachelor’s degree: $35,292

  • Master’s degree/MBA: $35,546

  • JD, MD, PhD: $35,901

While there seems to be an insignificant difference in salary based on level of education, Glassdoor salaries for daycare teachers demonstrate that range is mostly determined based on years of experience. They list the average salary for a teacher with 0-1 years of experience as $30,296 while the average for 10+ years is over $36,000. 

Websites like and Glassdoor consider national averages; however, it is important to remember that the average changes from state to state.

Average salary for a daycare teacher by state

When comparing the average salary for a daycare teacher in the United States on Indeed, the island state of Hawaii comes out on top with $47,824. Washington, Massachusetts, and California follow on this list with average salaries 25% above the national average.

The five states with the lowest average salary are Oklahoma ($25,547), Alabama ($24,936), Louisiana ($23,829), West Virginia ($23,451), and lastly, Mississippi ($22,745).

  2. State

    Average salary


    Average salary















    New Hampshire




    New Jersey




    New Mexico




    New York




    North Carolina




    North Dakota




















    Rhode Island




    South Carolina




    South Dakota




























    West Virginia










Top-paying daycare employers

According to Glassdoor, the 10 top paying daycare employers range in paying their employees a salary between $38,000 - $51,000 — well above the national average. 

These companies include TDR, a consumer product manufacturing company, CNIC, a U.S. Navy shore installation management company, and Salesforce, the software development company.

Top-paying daycare employers








Maricopa County (Arizona)




NC Department of Health and Human Services


Boulder County


Rockefeller University




Top-paying cities

According to Indeed, San Jose, California, is the top-paying city for daycare teachers with an average salary of $46,627. Included on this list, you’ll also find Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. 

Top-paying cities for daycare teachers


San Jose, CA


Chicago, IL


Clearfield, UT


Philadelphia, PA


Murfreesboro, TN


Omaha, NE


St. Louis, MO


Louisville, KY


San Antonio, TX


Daycare teacher job description

A daycare teacher’s major responsibilities are to educate and look after young children. 

In addition to creating lesson plans, these professionals are tasked with engaging with the children and supporting their development through various activities.

Roles and responsibilities

The job description of a daycare teacher further breaks down into a few different roles and responsibilities. These include:

  • Preparing materials to be used for lessons and activities

  • Evaluating children’s performance and ensuring progress through assessments

  • Observing children’s interactions with one another

  • Overseeing the safety of students inside the classroom

  • Identifying learning/behavioral concerns and determining a course of action

Experience and qualifications

As previously mentioned, prior experience working with young children is paramount for daycare teachers. 

Additionally, the qualifications for this job include a degree in early childhood education and knowledge of child development and current  teaching methods. Daycare teachers also need strong communication, time management, and organizational skills.

Typical job benefits

As listed on Indeed, the most common benefits for daycare teachers include:

  • 401(k) and 401(k) matching

  • Health, dental, and vision insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Paid time off

  • Paid training

  • Parental leave

  • Retirement plan

  • Tuition reimbursement

While it is more difficult to negotiate for job benefits because many of them are predetermined company-wide, it is possible to negotiate for a higher salary.

When should you negotiate for a higher salary?

When applying for a job, you should always negotiate for a higher salary. If you are approaching the job with a degree, years of experience, and outstanding history of references, you’re in an ideal position to negotiate.

Most budgets have some wiggle room built-in, so many employers can pay more than what is written in the job description. Whether they are willing to pay more is based on their evaluation of you as a candidate.

For those still building your experience, the advice stands — always negotiate. You never know when the opportunity to ask for a raise will come, and the worst you can hear is “no.”

Keep the entire package — salary and benefits — in mind as you negotiate.

Daycare teacher career potential

The most recent reporting from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the job outlook for childcare workers at 8% for 2020-2030. This signifies that the daycare teaching profession is expected to increase steadily over the next decade — ensuring job security for thousands.

This is on par with the average across multiple industries and includes an increase of approximately 84,200 jobs.

While many of these new roles are for  daycare teachers, they also include the promoted positions available for this role. Promotions in this field come with higher responsibility and authority; previous instructors can become a trainer, a supervisor, or a director. 

Promotions usually come with a pay raise, and more responsibility in handling students, parents, and other teachers.

The future for most industries includes advanced technology and automation. While tech cannot replace the customized lesson plans and personal interaction children get from their teachers, it has eliminated many tedious tasks associated with daycare. Now, more than ever, teachers are able to take advantage of apps and programs that decrease paperwork and allot more time for communicating and interacting with students and their parents.

A successful childcare program will prioritize their employees' career development and growth. Conducting staff evaluations annually and having each staff member also complete a self evaluation creates a workplace culture that values feedback and professional development. 

A rewarding career

Daycare teachers are tasked with a big role of educating and looking after young children. While many consider teachers to be underpaid, especially in Mississippi and West Virginia, there are opportunities to achieve a higher salary. With states like Washington and Hawaii averaging 25% above the national average, daycare teachers can also negotiate with their credentials — degree, years of experience, and references.

Fortunately, the ability to make more as a daycare teacher increases in the future with career opportunities for growth and promotion. In short, it is possible to find a salary as a daycare teacher that is as rewarding as the career path itself.

Subscribe to the brightwheel blog