Child Care WAGE$ National

Child Care WAGE$ National

Compensation matters…for an undervalued early childhood workforce

“If compensation is an indicator of the value we place on work in this country, then the early childhood field, comprised of 97% women, is one of the most undervalued in our society. In this country, a woman who is 18 years or older with a high school diploma and who is working full time earns an average salary of $28,657. Yet, with an average salary of $18,820, an early childhood teacher earns only 65% of that. Clearly, the early childhood workforce deserves compensation that is commensurate with the work they do.


– T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Technical Assistance and Quality Assurance Center National Annual Program Report

“WAGE$ has helped me keep my home and have funds for my children. It has helped me to make it everyday. Thank you for saving my home, giving us food and keeping me from being homeless. Thank you from the top and bottom of my heart.”

Early childhood teacher and WAGE$ recipient

Child Care WAGE$® provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid teachers, directors and family child care providers working with children ages birth to five.

To help stem the tide of turnover and increase teacher continuity Child Care WAGE$® provides regular salary supplements to early childhood educators based on education achieved and the continuity of care they provide. And while a salary supplement helps keep educated and motivated teachers in classrooms, WAGE$ is more than just a check. WAGE$ also serves to equalize the playing field by successfully reaching the diversity of the field.


  • Recognizes the challenges and diversity of the workforce
  • Links incremental educational accomplishments and continuity of care with compensation incentives
  • Provides children with more stable relationships with better educated teachers, because the supplement increases earnings and rewards teacher education and continuity of care
  • Is available to teachers, directors and family child care providers working in regulated settings

Child Care WAGE$® Overview

Learn more by watching the Child Care WAGE$® 101 Webinar.

Child Care WAGE$® 2013-14 National Highlights

  • $11.5 million invested in WAGE$ salary supplements
  • 6,220 supplement recipients
  • $897 average six-month supplement
  • 11% average annual turnover rate
  • 2,409 early education programs with supplement recipients
  • 99% women
  • 41% WAGE$ participants with education below AS/AAS ECE submitted additional coursework
  • 32% WAGE$ participants with education below AS/AAS ECE moved up a level on the supplement scale
  • 113,434 children benefiting

Replicating the Child Care WAGE$® Project in your state

In addition to operating in North Carolina, the Child Care WAGE$® Project is licensed for replication in other states. To learn more about starting a Child Care WAGE$® Project in your state, click here.