The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

The Complete Guide to Daycare Teacher Salaries

Our guide covers everything you need to know about daycare teacher salaries including the average annual salary and top-paying cities and states.

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. However, daycare teacher salaries can vary widely based on location and level of experience. Whether you're an aspiring daycare teacher or simply interested in learning more about this rewarding profession, we've got you covered.

In this article, we'll discuss the average daycare teacher salary range, as well as the typical job responsibilities and exciting opportunities to advance your career.

Table of Contents:

Average daycare teacher salary in the United States

For daycare teachers in the United States, the average salary range typically falls between $34,500 and $43,700 per year. The average daycare worker salary is around $28,520 per year with the range falling between $21,000 and $39,000 per year.


Average annual salary

10% percentile


25% percentile


50% (median) percentile


75% percentile


90% percentile


Source:, September 25, 2023

While data from Indeed (as of October 2023) shows the average annual base salary of around $35,000 per year in the United States, data (as of September 2023) shows that the national average is closer to $38,500 with the lower 10% making just above $31,000 and the top 10% making over $49,000. 

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.

Average 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 around $1,400. 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 $38,501.

  • No diploma/high school diploma: $37,120

  • Associate’s degree: $37,397

  • Bachelor’s degree: $37,838

  • Master’s degree/MBA: $38,114

  • JD, MD, PhD: $38,501

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 approximately $35,000 while the average for 7-9 years is over $38,000 (with data updated as of September 27, 2023). 

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, it is clear that daycare teachers can earn more depending on where they are located. States like Washington, California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota often have average salaries 25% or greater compared to the national average.

States with salaries lower than the national average include Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.


Average salary


Average salary















New Hampshire




New Jersey




New Mexico




New York


District of Columbia


North Carolina




North Dakota




















Rhode Island




South Carolina




South Dakota




























West Virginia














Source: Indeed, October, 2023

Top-paying industries for daycare teachers

According to Glassdoor data, the top four paying industries for daycare teachers in the United States are government and public administration, management and consulting, education, and nonprofit and NGO.

Top paying industries

Total pay

Total pay insights

Government and public administration


19% higher than other industries

Management and consulting


10% higher than other industries



1% lower than other industries

Nonprofit and NGO


3% lower than other industries

Source: Glassdoor, September, 2023

Top paying cities for daycare teachers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (data as of May 2022), the top paying metropolitan areas in the United States for preschool and daycare teachers include Madera, CA, San Jose, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, and Santa Clara, CA.

Top paying metropolitan areas for daycare teachers


Madera, CA


San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA


Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ


San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA


Ocean City, NJ


Binghamton, NY


Salinas, CA


Odessa, TX


Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ


Modesto, CA


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022

Daycare teacher job description

Early childhood educators play a vital role in shaping the lives of young children during their formative years. They are instrumental in helping children build their foundational physical, cognitive, and social-emotional skills that will carry them throughout their lives.

Roles and responsibilities

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

  • Creating lesson plans and preparing materials for activities

  • Evaluating children’s performance and ensuring progress through regular assessments

  • Overseeing the safety of children inside the classroom

  • Communicating with families
  • Identifying learning and behavioral concerns and determining a course of action

Experience and qualifications

While the exact experience and education qualifications vary by location and program, prior experience working with young children is essential for daycare teachers. 

Additionally, qualifications often 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

  • Childcare
  • Flexible schedule
  • Life insurance

  • Paid time off

  • Paid training

  • Parental leave

  • Professional development assistance

  • 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, 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 a 2% decline for 2022-2032. Despite this decline in employment, there are about 153,100 job openings for childcare workers projected each year, on average, over the next decade.

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; for example, educators or childcare workers can become trainers, supervisors, or directors.

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 administration. Now, more than ever, teachers are able to take advantage of tools like brightwheel and allot more time for teaching and interacting with children.

A rewarding career

Daycare teachers are tasked with the very important role of educating and looking after young children. While data shows that salaries can vary widely based on things like location, level of experience, and each specific childcare program, there are still many opportunities to achieve a higher salary.

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

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

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