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Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators plan, organize and lead activities to help children develop intellectually, physically and emotionally. They work with infants, toddlers, preschool and school-aged children in a variety of settings.

  • Avg. Salary $34,691.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.20
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 21,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Educator, Instructor, Preschool Teacher, School Teacher, Teacher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Early Childhood Educators (4214.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Early Childhood Educators and Assistants (E217) 
  • 2011 NOC: Early childhood educators and assistants (4214) 
  • 2016 NOC: Early childhood educators and assistants (4214) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Early Childhood Educator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Early Childhood Educators

Interest in instructing and guiding children in the development of proper eating, dressing and personal hygiene; in leading children in activities by telling or reading stories, teaching songs, providing opportunities for creative expression through the mediums of art, dramatic play, music and physical fitness, and taking them to local points of interest


Interest in handling to prepare and demonstrate the use of craft materials and to demonstrate the use of simple musical instruments


Interest in compiling information to develop daily activities for children; may plan and organize activities for school and children in child care programs before and after regular school hours; may supervise and co-ordinate the activities of other early childhood educators and assistants

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 07, 2017

In general, early childhood educators:

  • design, implement and evaluate curriculum to meet children's social, physical, intellectual, creative, cultural, emotional and developmental needs and interests in a play-based environment
  • build children's social and interpersonal skills and positive self-concept by establishing routines and positive guidance policies that allow children to feel secure, comfortable and safe
  • establish and maintain professional communication with children's families and community agencies involved in children's development.

Early childhood programs are based on children's interests and learning needs, and include the use of individual, small and large group activities, indoor and outdoor play, learning centres, outings and field trips. Activities are varied frequently and are designed to accommodate individual children's unique abilities. For example, a typical day's schedule might include:

  • arrival and departure times
  • play experiences in a variety of areas (such as music, dramatic play, art, science, water and literacy)
  • snacks and meals
  • quiet rest time or nap time
  • outdoor play
  • a special guest, event or field trip.

A well-designed learning environment for infants, toddlers and preschoolers includes opportunities to develop independence, problem-solving, literacy, math and science skills through play experiences.

Out-of-school care programs include activities designed to complement the school program, provide recreational and artistic opportunities and meet the unique needs of children aged 6 to 12. Educators in these environments are responsible for providing a safe, secure, relaxing and fun place for children to go outside of school hours.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 07, 2017

The working conditions for early childhood educators vary widely. Small programs in approved family day homes may serve fewer than 6 children; other child care facilities may provide care for more than 80 children.

Hours also vary:

  • Most child care programs are open from 6 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, so early childhood educators work a changing shift within those hours. Where non-traditional programs are offered, hours of work may vary more.
  • Family child care providers generally work from 6 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday and also may work evenings and weekends.
  • Part-time programs or preschool programs may be offered during the morning or afternoon and run one to five days a week.
  • Out-of-school care programs may require staff to work split shifts or only before or after school, or full-time during school holiday periods. 
  • Family support programs often include evening hours.

To keep up with children in their care, early childhood educators must be able to move quickly. They also spend most of the day walking, bending, kneeling and sitting on the floor and routinely lift infants and children weighing up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 07, 2017

To promote positive attitudes and act as role models for the children in their care, early childhood educators must:

  • be playful and caring towards children
  • have initiative, persistence, and enthusiasm
  • have critical thinking skills
  • model respectful behavior and language
  • maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • be sensitive and grounded in ethical practice and decision making
  • use consistent, positive child guidance strategies
  • be able to observe, engage with and support children's play and learning
  • be able to communicate effectively and work closely with children, parents and colleagues
  • be able to solve problems with children and families.

They should enjoy dealing with people (especially children), taking a methodical approach to their work, taking responsibility for projects and supervising others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Educators in licensed child care centres, out-of-school care programs and preschools are required to have completed training in child development or training considered equivalent. An Educational Equivalencies Chart is available at

Employers prefer to hire individuals that also have:

  • valid First Aid certificate
  • valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate
  • completed a child intervention record check
  • completed a criminal record check, with a vulnerable sector search.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

Grant MacEwan University

Simon Fraser University

University nuhelot'ine thaiyots'i nistameyimakanak Blue Quills

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators work with infants, toddlers, and preschool and school-aged children in a variety of settings.


Under the Alberta Child Care Licensing Act [pdf] and the Child Care Licensing Regulation [pdf], staff working in licensed day care, out-of-school care, group family child care and preschool programs must have child care staff certification within 6 months of commencing employment and before having unsupervised access to children. Certification is also required as per the Alberta Family Day Home Standards [pdf] for staff working in approved family home agencies.

What You Need

There are 3 levels of certification: Child Development Assistant, Child Development Worker and Child Development Supervisor. The level of certification is based on the education completed (not work experience).

Child Development Assistant certification may be granted if the applicant has completed one of the following:

  • The Child Care Orientation Course sponsored by the Government of Alberta
  • CCS 3110, 3120, 3130, 3140 and 3150 offered through Alberta high schools
  • A 45-hour (3-credit) post-secondary course in child development
  • The Step Ahead Family Day Home Training or Family Child Care Training Program through an approved Alberta family day home agency registered with the Alberta Family Child Care Association (AFCCA).

Child Development Worker certification may be granted if the applicant has completed one of the following:

  • A 1-year early learning and child care certificate program offered by an Alberta post-secondary school
  • An approved educational equivalency. If the post-secondary education was completed outside of Canada, refer to the Certification Guide to determine if a language proficiency assessment will be required.

Child Development Supervisor certification may be granted if the applicant has completed one of the following:

  • A 2-year early learning and child care diploma program offered by an Alberta post-secondary school
  • An approved educational equivalency. If the post-secondary education was completed outside of Canada, refer to the Certification Guide to determine if a language proficiency assessment will be required.

For more information about the certification requirements, educational equivalencies and application process, see the Certification Guide on the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Early childhood educators who are certified, registered or licensed to work in a regulated child care setting elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Alberta regulator.

Contact Details

Child Care Staff Certification Office
Government of Alberta
6th Floor, Sterling Place
9940 - 106 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2N2

Call: 780-422-1119
Call toll-free (within Alberta): 1-800-661-9754
Fax: 780-427-1258

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Early childhood educators are employed in 

  • child care and day care centres
  • family day home agencies 
  • out-of-school care programs
  • preschools or playschools
  • recreational centres
  • kindergarten classrooms
  • early intervention programs
  • family support programs and resource centres
  • domestic violence shelters.

Experienced early childhood educators may advance to supervisory positions or start their own businesses, particularly if they have additional education.

Early childhood educators are part of a larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4214:  Early childhood educators and assistants. In Alberta, 91% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the E217: Early Childhood Educators and Assistants occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.5% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 763 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Most early childhood educators are paid hourly wages that vary tremendously throughout the province. Income and benefits generally depend on the size of the program, the nature of the employing organization, and the level of training the educator has completed. Accredited child care programs, and those working towards accreditation, can receive program and staff funding from the Government of Alberta, Child Care Accreditation Funding Program.  


Early childhood educators and assistants

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $30.37 $17.88 $15.40
Overall $15.00 $42.68 $20.20 $17.50
Top $16.00 $49.71 $23.09 $20.91

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 07, 2017

Alberta Family Child Care Association website:

Alberta Family Child Care Association (calgary and area) website:

Child Care Staff Certification website:

Play, Participation, Possibilities website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 03, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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