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Early Childhood Educator

Early childhood educators plan, organize, and initiate activities to help children develop and learn intellectually, physically, and emotionally. They work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children in a variety of settings. They also build relationships with parents and other professionals.

Also Known As

Co-learner, Educator

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Early Childhood Educators

2006 NOC: 4214.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated Mar 31, 2020

Early childhood educators plan, implement, and evaluate materials, activities, and settings for children. They strive to meet the social, physical, intellectual, creative, cultural, emotional, and developmental needs and interests of all children, including children with special needs. They encourage play-based learning rooted in children’s interests and foster their desire to learn. They establish routines and guidance for positive behaviour that:

  • Allows children to feel secure, comfortable, and safe
  • Builds children’s social and interpersonal skills and positive self-concept
  • Encourages co-learning, co-seeking, and problem-solving skills
  • Helps to establish the child’s self-image as a strong, capable citizen

They also:

  • Document attained skills through words and pictures for the children and their families
  • Establish and maintain professional communication with children’s families and community agencies involved in children’s development

Early learning and care programs are based on Alberta’s Early Learning and Care framework. The framework accounts for children’s interests and learning needs. Its goals relate to children’s emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being. It’s also meant to promote literacy, imagination, creativity, and social responsibility. Programs make use of individual, small- and large-group activities, indoor and outdoor play, learning centres, and outings. Activities, which vary throughout the program, are chosen to accommodate each child’s unique abilities. For example, a typical day’s schedule might include:

  • Arrival and departure
  • Play experiences in various areas, such as music, dramatic play, art, science, and literacy
  • Snacks and meals
  • Quiet rest time or nap time
  • Outdoor play
  • A special guest, event, or excursion
  • Communicating with children’s families
  • Observing, documenting, and expanding on children’s learning experiences

A well-designed learning environment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers makes learning tangible through play. It includes ways to develop physical, emotional, creative, social, and intellectual skills through play, materials, routines, and interactions with other children and adults.

Activities at out-of-school care programs often complement what is occurring at school. They offer activities and materials that meet the unique needs of children aged 6 to 12. The role of out-of-school educators is to provide a safe, secure, relaxing, and fun place for children to go, outside of school hours.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Working conditions for early childhood educators vary widely. Small programs in approved family day homes may serve up to 6 children. Other childcare facilities may provide care for more than 80 children. Individual class sizes vary, as the child to educator ratio is based on age in alignment with childcare licensing requirements. There may be multiple educators in a given room.

Hours also vary. Most childcare programs are open from 6 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Early childhood educators work a changing shift within those hours. Some programs may have different hours.

In comparison, childcare providers in family day homes generally work from 6 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. However, they also may work evenings and weekends.

In addition:

  • Part-time or preschool programs may be offered during the morning or afternoon and run 1 to 5 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 holidays
  • 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 spend most of the day walking, bending, kneeling, and sitting on the floor and routinely lift infants and children. They must stay calm and collected during stressful situations.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

  • Be playful, sensitive, and caring toward children
  • Take initiative and be enthusiastic
  • Be resilient, persistent, and emotionally stable
  • Use critical-thinking skills
  • Model respectful behaviour and language
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and be physically fit
  • Be grounded in ethical decision making and practice
  • Use consistent, positive strategies to guide children’s behaviour
  • Plan for, observe, engage with, and support children’s play and learning
  • Communicate and work respectfully with children, parents, and other professionals
  • Document interactions with children, parents, and other professionals clearly
  • Learn about each child and create curriculum based on that learning

Early childhood educators should enjoy taking a creative and open-minded approach to their work and building relationships with people, especially children. They should be at ease taking responsibility for projects and supervising others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Early childhood educators and assistants

2011 NOC: 4214

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Sep 23, 2022 and Oct 05, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Guide and assist children in the development of proper eating, dressing and toilet habits
Tasks: Develop and implement child-care programs that support and promote the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of children
Tasks: Lead activities by telling or reading stories, teaching songs and taking children to local points of interest
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Tasks: Observe children for signs of potential learning or behavioural problems and prepare reports for parents, guardians or supervisor
Tasks: Engage children in activities by telling stories, teaching songs and preparing crafts
Tasks: Plan and maintain an environment that protects the health, security and well-being of children
Construction Specialization: Team player
Tasks: Assess the abilities, interests and needs of children and discuss progress or problems with parents and other staff members
Work Setting: Child care centre
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary

Educators in licensed childcare centres, out-of-school care programs, and preschools must have completed education in early child development or equivalent education. An equivalencies chart is available on the Government of Alberta website.

Employers prefer to hire individuals with a:

  • First Aid certificate
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate
  • Child intervention record check
  • Criminal record check, with a vulnerable sector search

Early childhood educators need to understand child development and developmentally appropriate practices.

Related Education

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

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Calgary
Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton
Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Red Deer
Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Spruce Grove
CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North
CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre
University nuhelot'ine thaiyots'i nistameyimakanak Blue Quills

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Early Childhood Educator.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Early childhood educators work in:

  • Childcare and daycare centres
  • Family day homes
  • Out-of-school care programs
  • Preschools or playschools
  • Recreation 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. Additional education is a definite asset.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4214: Early childhood educators and assistants occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 693 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Most early childhood educators are paid hourly wages that vary widely throughout the province. Income and benefits depend on the size of the program, the nature of the employing organization, and the educator’s level of training. Accredited childcare programs, and those working toward accreditation, can receive program and staff funding through the Government of Alberta.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Early childhood educators and assistants

2016 NOC: 4214
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4214 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $21.62 $16.64 $15.73
Overall $15.50 $25.00 $18.59 $17.50
Top $16.20 $32.16 $21.97 $20.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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

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 31, 2020

Alberta Family Child Care Association website:

Child Care Staff Certification website:

Flight, Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework website:

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

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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