Interactive Wage Calculator

Created as part of the Balancing the Scales report, a collaboration between ECIC’s Child Care Innovation Fund and TalentFirst, this interactive calculator can generate equitable and competitive wages for any early educator based on their location, role, and qualifications. The calculator leverages the systemwide, unifying wage scale proposed within the ‘Balancing the Scales’ report to bring early childhood educator wages on par with comparable jobs requiring similar skills and credentials.

  1. Select County: Click on any blue county on the map to see proposed wages for that county. You can scroll with your mouse to zoom in or out of the map, or click and drag to move around the map.
  2. Select Job Title: Use the filter on the right-hand side titled “Select Job Title” to see the proposed wage for a Lead Teacher, Assistant Teacher, Aide/Floater, or Substitute. The calculator will default to show wages for a Lead Teacher.
  3. Select Education Level: Use the filter on the right-hand side titled “Select Education Level” to see the proposed wage associated with any education level, from a high school diploma through a Doctoral Degree. The calculator will default to show wages for a Child Development Associate (CDA).
  4. Select Years of Experience: Use the drop-down menu on the right-hand side titled “Select Years of Experience” to see the proposed wage associated with any experience level, from 0 to 20 years. The calculator will default to show wages for 0 years of experience.
  5. Select Age of Children Served: Use the filter on the right-hand side titled “Select Age of Children Served” to select if the educator is teaching infant-toddler-aged children or preschool-aged children. The calculator will default to show the proposed wage for teachers of infant-toddler aged children.

Note: The counties of Jackson and Oakland are not covered by any ECIC childcare planning region and are excluded from the wage scale.

The proposed wage scale benchmarks ECE wages against comparable K-12 roles by setting the Lead Teacher wage on par with the starting salary of a K-12 teacher in the given geography (adjusted for the standard school schedule), which serves as the base wage for the systemwide wage scale. The base wage for an Assistant Teacher and Substitute stands 25% below the base wage of a Lead Teacher, while the base wage for an Aide/Floater is 50% less than a Lead Teacher. This scaling reflects the accumulation of responsibility, knowledge, and experience that occurs as one transgresses along the ECE career pathway from Aide to Lead Teacher.

The systemwide wage scale is agnostic to setting (school-based, center-based, family or group childcare home). Thus, wages are based on the specific role, professional level/education, and experience an individual has — irrespective of the setting in which they are employed. The base wages shown below increase by 10% for each professional/educational level an individual has obtained above a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. This method encourages progression, which is strongly linked to quality, and helps account for the fact that licensing requirements vary across settings for these ECE roles.

ECE professionals supervising infant- and toddler-aged children will receive a 10% increase from the base wage associated with that role supervising preschool-aged children. This wage bump reflects the intense level of supervision required for infants and toddlers compared to preschoolers, a notion which is further reinforced by the provider-to-child ratios set by the state — which become less restrictive as children age.

To account for longevity, early educators should receive a 2.5% increase for each year of employment. This reflects the average step increase offered to K-12 educators and is equal to the average rate of inflation forecasted in the state over the next 10 years — ensuring wages rise at a rate equal to the cost of living.