Early Childhood Education Jobs in California

Quick Degree Finder
Sponsored Schools

California’s high cost of living along with the state’s longstanding commitment to education combine to make early childhood educators here some of the best paid in the nation. For example, special education teachers in kindergarten and elementary school settings boast the highest, annual salary in the country, and both kindergarten teachers and child social workers in the Golden State are ranked fifth in the nation for pay.

Sponsored School

Grand Canyon University - BS in Early Childhood or Early Childhood Special Education and MEd in Early Childhood Education

Capella University - Online Master's in Early Childhood Education

Rasmussen College, School of Education - Online 9-month ECE Certificate, Online Bachelor’s in ECE Leadership

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College - Online M.Ed. in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling

USC Rossier Online offers emerging and experienced education leaders multiple online graduate degree programs.

California Salary Rankings

Salaries for early childhood educators in California are higher than the national average in all occupational categories, except for those working in preschool settings.

#1

in the US for Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School

#7

in the US for Childcare Workers

#5

in the US for Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education

#10

in the US for Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education

#12

in the US for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare

#34

in the US for Special Education Teachers, Preschool

Early Childhood Jobs in California

For some of the more specialized roles, like special education teachers in kindergarten and elementary school settings, the pay is significantly more than the national average. Not surprisingly, the state also ranks near or at the top for many occupations in terms of employment level, including a first-place spot for the number of childcare workers, education administrators, preschool teachers, and school social workers employed here.

Occupation Total Employed Median Annual Salary % of US Median
Childcare Workers 60,460 $28,630 check116%
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education 52,950 $37,850 check110%
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 31,290 $59,500 check120%
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education 11,580 $69,690 check119%
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 15,230 $80,370 check127%
Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare 7,500 $56,650 check105%
Special Education Teachers, Preschool 1,470 $47,870 eks78%
eks = Salary below nat’l. avg.     check = Salary above nat’l. avg.

Childcare Workers – Preschool teachers here number 60,460, the most of any state in the nation. These professionals earn an average salary of $28,630, or about $4,000 more than the national average.

Child, Family, and School Social Workers – There are 31,290 child, family, and school social workers employed in California, also the highest number of any state. The state average annual salary for this occupation is $59,500, or about $10,000 more than the national average.

Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education – The total number of kindergarten teachers in California is 11,580, placing the state second in the nation for this category behind only Texas. The average salary for kindergarten teachers here is $69,690, or about $11,000 more than the national average.

Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education – California’s preschool teachers earn an average annual salary of $37,850, or about $3,000 more than the national average. The total number of specialists working in this field is 52,950, the highest of any state in the nation.

Special Education Teachers – Kindergarten and Elementary School – Special education teachers in kindergarten and elementary school settings total 15,230, earning the state the second-place spot behind only New York. These professionals earn an average annual salary of $80,370, or about $17,000 more than the national average.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare – Earning it the top spot in the nation, California is home to 7,500 people employed in education administration in preschool and childcare settings. This occupation comes with an average salary of $56,650, or about $3,000 more than the national average.

Special Education Teachers, Preschool – The number of special education teachers in California working in preschool settings total 1,470, ranking it third in the nationbehind only New York and Minnesota. The average salary for these professionals is $47,870, making it the only profession in early childhood learning in California to fall below the national average.

City-Level Job Stats

As expected, many metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of California boast some of the highest employment levels and salaries nationwide.

For example, kindergarten teachers in Modesto earn the highest average salary in the nation, while special education teachers at the kindergarten and elementary school levels in Fresno are ranked second in the nation for pay.

The Sunshine State’s Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Anaheim metropolitan region is home to the second highest number of education administrators in preschool and childcare center settings, as well as the highest number of childcare workers, and school social workers.

Preschool Teachers

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – 17,040 teachers with an average salary of $38,190
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA – 10,280 teachers with an average salary of $43,460
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA – 2,780 teachers with an average salary of $32,150
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marco, CA – 4,300 teachers with an average salary of $35,480
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA – 2,990 teachers with an average salary of $32,800
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa-Clara, CA – 5,480 teachers with an average salary of $39,290
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA – 1,130 teachers with an average salary of $33,690
  • Fresno, CA – 1,220 teachers with an average salary of $34,810
  • Stockton, CA – 710 teachers with an average salary of $31,960
  • Bakersfield-Delano, CA – 780 teachers with an average salary of $32,130
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA – 770 teachers with an average salary of $36,370
  • Modesto, CA – 490 teachers with an average salary of $45,310
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA – 270 teachers with an average salary of $39,660
  • Salinas, CA – 580 teachers with an average salary of $34,610
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – 230 teachers with an average salary of $37,240
  • Merced, CA – 150 teachers with an average salary of $40,750
  • El Centro, CA – 420 teachers with an average salary of $45,490
  • Redding, CA – 300 teachers with an average salary of $27,440
  • Chico, CA – 380 teachers with an average salary of $32,330
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA – 280 teachers with an average salary of $32,220
  • Madera-Chowchilla, CA – 160 teachers with an average salary of $30,920
  • Napa, CA – average salary of $37,900

Kindergarten Teachers

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – 3,540 teachers with an average salary of $70,310
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA – 1,630 teachers with an average salary of $62,310
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA – 1,160 teachers with an average salary of $71,830
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marco, CA – 490 teachers with an average salary of $66,720
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA – 630 teachers with an average salary of $79,590
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa-Clara, CA – 780 teachers with an average salary of $69,460
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA – 180 teachers with an average salary of $53,190
  • Fresno, CA – 310 teachers with an average salary of $69,730
  • Stockton, CA – 320 teachers with an average salary of $72,160
  • Bakersfield-Delano, CA – 360 teachers with an average salary of $75,680
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA – 200 teachers with an average salary of $73,840
  • Modesto, CA – 120 teachers with an average salary of $98,930
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA 270 teachers with an average salary of $76,460
  • Salinas, CA – average salary of $55,940
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – average salary of $75,570
  • Merced, CA 170 – average salary of $74,400
  • El Centro, CA – average salary of $62,780
  • Chico, CA – average slary of $51,090
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA – average salary of $40,220

Special Education Teachers – Preschool

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – average salary of $42,380
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marco, CA – average salary of $45,700

Special Education Teachers – Kindergarten and Elementary School

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – 5,370 teachers with an average salary of $84,920
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA – 1,320 teachers with an average salary of $73,260
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA – 2,240 teachers with an average salary of $81,960
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marco, CA – 1,050 teachers with an average salary of $74,870
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA – 820 teachers with an average salary of $72,090
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa-Clara, CA – 600 teachers with an average salary of $83,030
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA – 230 teachers with an average salary of $66,680
  • Fresno, CA – 810 teachers with an average salary of $91,680
  • Stockton, CA – 420 teachers with an average salary of $73,620
  • Bakersfield-Delano, CA – 410 teachers with an average salary of $69,650
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA – 180 teachers with an average salary of $76,630
  • Modesto, CA – 200 teachers with an average salary of $77,400
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – average salary of $77,410
  • Merced, CA 50 teachers with an average salary of $79,700
  • El Centro, CA – average salary of $81,170
  • Chico, CA – average salary of $35,500
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA – 70 teachers with an average salary of $66,420

Education Administrators – Preschool and Childcare

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – 2,350 administrators with an average salary of $53,990
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA – 1,700 administrators with an average salary of $60,580
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA – 420 administrators with an average salary of $52,720
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marco, CA – 450 administrators with an average salary of $69,150
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA – 410 administrators with an average salary of $50,520
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa-Clara, CA – 720 administrators with an average salary of $62,640
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA -120 administrators with an average salary of $54,900
  • Fresno, CA – 180 administrators with an average salary of $65,550
  • Stockton, CA – average salary of $43,320
  • Bakersfield-Delano, CA – 80 administrators with an average salary of $48,020
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA – 160 administrators with an average salary of $47,880
  • Modesto, CA – 40 administrators with an average salary of $53,180
  • Salinas, CA – 60 administrators with an average salary of $63,000
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – 80 administrators with an average salary of $47,840
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA – 80 administrators with an average salary of $45,450

 

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [salary data accessed April 2019] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#25-0000

BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and average earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Back to top