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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.

  • 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

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) 
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 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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Early childhood educators and assistants
NOC code: 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 Jun 29, 2021 and Aug 05, 2021.

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.
Guide and assist children in the development of proper eating, dressing and toilet habits
Develop and implement child-care programs that support and promote the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of children
Lead activities by telling or reading stories, teaching songs and taking children to local points of interest
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Plan and maintain an environment that protects the health, security and well-being of children
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Assess the abilities, interests and needs of children and discuss progress or problems with parents and other staff members
Observe children for signs of potential learning or behavioural problems and prepare reports for parents, guardians or supervisor
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.

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

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 31, 2020

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 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.

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

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.

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 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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