Early Childhood Education (ECE) vs Elementary Education: Career ROI

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Updated: March 25, 2024, Reading time: 6 minutes

If you have a strong desire to improve people’s lives on a daily basis, love working with children, and are passionate about teaching, you might be thinking about pursuing a career in education! If you especially love kids, there are two strong career options for you: Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education.

Comparing Early Childhood Education (ECE) vs Elementary Education

Elementary and Early Childhood Education programs contribute to the development of children both academically and in other aspects of their lives. Get to know more about each option’s features and decide the best fit for you!

Early Childhood Education Elementary Education
Average SalariesPreschool Teachers: $35,330Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers: $61,620
Job Outlook (2022-2032)3% (56,300 openings)1% (109,000 openings)
Key Features* Focuses on educating newborns and young children up to eight years old to prepare them for life both within and outside of the classroom.
* Explores different teaching techniques and utilizes play as a learning tool.
* Adopts play-based learning, such as role-playing, imaginative games and toys, to develop young children’s critical abilities.
* Reinforces the social, linguistic, and literacy abilities acquired by kids in elementary school
* Uses a structured curriculum that fosters their curiosity and retains their knowledge
* Builds students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

How Can You Get Started in Early Childhood Education?

How Can You Get Started in Early Childhood Education - Image

A child’s early years are marked by intense curiosity, quick development, and important life milestones. If you want to witness and contribute to these early stages, pursue an ECE and 

assist young learners in discovering the benefits of self-exploration and knowledge acquisition.

In these critical stages, ECE experts develop young brains, encouraging creativity and sparking an enduring love of learning.

An Associate in Early Childhood Education gets students acquainted with the basic tools, principles, and practices of the discipline.

A Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education is the typical entry-level requirement for careers as educators, mentors, administrators, advocates, and caretakers for children ages one to eight. Topics include Child Psychology, curriculum development, assessment techniques, and classroom management. 

A practicum or fieldwork component is common to bachelor’s programs in ECE. It enables students to obtain valuable real-world experience under the guidance of a qualified instructor. With an internship, ECE students become prepared for numerous job options!

Essential Skills of An Early Childhood Educator

Jobs for Early Childhood Education Degree Holders

Early Childhood Education leads to highly admired, influential, and important professions that pay well! These are some examples:

ECE Degree JobsAnnual Median Pay
Preschool Teachers$35,330
School and Career Counselors and Advisors$60,140
Childcare Workers$28,520
Special Education Teachers$62,950

Opportunities for Advancement in Early Childhood Education

A master’s degree in early childhood education is the best pathway to prepare for higher positions in the field. This will train students to become dynamic, compassionate, and creative teacher leaders. This higher degree will help students develop a deeper knowledge of children (birth to eight years old).

Graduates will be equipped to run ECE programs, serve as experts or consultants, and create curricula and instructional materials in formal and informal contexts. They will have a significant effect on the area of early childhood education.

The intended audience for this program is ECE professionals who want to advance their knowledge and abilities in instructing and learning from young children (0–8). The courses provided give students a foundation in real-world experience, empirical research, and theoretical views on teaching very young children.

Why Early Childhood Education could be for you:

Early Childhood Education isn’t for you if:

How Can You Get Started in Elementary Education?

How Can You Get Started in Elementary Education - Image

Another career option to take if you love teaching kids is to go for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. This is the best program for those who want to work as elementary school teachers.

Elementary Education allows students to link theory with teaching practice by offering significant fieldwork in primary school settings in addition to academics. The information and instructional techniques required to be successful in the classroom are the main focus of a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or BS in education.

Essential Skills of An Elementary Teacher

Jobs for Elementary Education Degree Holders

Elementary Education majors qualify for these occupations:

Elementary Education Degree JobsAnnual Median Pay
School Psychologists$87,550
Librarians and Library Media Specialists$61,660
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers$61,620
Social and Community Service Managers$74,240

Opportunities for Advancement in Elementary Education

Teaching kids is a tough career. Educators must incorporate instructional technology into their classes, provide fair and inclusive learning environments, and cater to the varied requirements of their students.

Teachers need to pursue further education and training after finishing an undergraduate degree in order to enhance their educational framework and focus on a certain subject.

A master’s degree in elementary education equips future teachers to work with pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade. In order to fulfill the needs of different learners, students investigate practice-based, evidence-based, and culturally inclusive techniques. 

Advanced fundamental, major-specific, and fieldwork coursework encompassing teaching strategies, curriculum design, and assessment techniques make up an elementary education master’s degree.

Get ready to go through courses such as classroom management, special education, child and adolescent development, and curriculum design when you enroll in this advanced degree.

Why Elementary Education could be for you:

Elementary Education isn’t for you if:

ECE vs Elementary Education - fact


Do you truly enjoy dealing with young children? Of the many types of Education degrees, ECE or Elementary Education could be best for you!

Both may sound the same to many,  but experts understand that one is distinct from the other in terms of principles and scope of practice. The decision will ultimately depend on your interests, your objectives, and your capacity for independent study!

Additional Information: