Early Childhood Educators and Assistants

Occupation:Early Childhood Educators and Assistants
Category:Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

About the job

Nature of work:

Early childhood educators plan, organize and implement programs for children between the ages of infancy and 12 years. Early childhood educator assistants provide care for infants and preschool- to school-age children under the guidance of early childhood educators. They are employed in regulated child-care centres, family home day care agencies, pre-primary programs, early intervention programs, family resource centres, and other settings where early childhood education services are provided. Supervisors of early childhood educators and assistants are included in this group.

Job duties:
Early childhood educators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Plan, implement, and assess developmentally appropriate indoor and outdoor learning environments for young children.
  • Using an in-depth knowledge of child development, design programs based on the observed needs of children.
  • Establish and carry out a daily routine that incorporates child-directed activity, care routines and transition times.
  • Assist children to express themselves by listening and responding with questions or comments that extend conversations.
  • Use a variety of teaching techniques that include modelling, observing, questioning, demonstrating and reinforcing.
  • Use knowledge of child development and developmentally appropriate strategies to guide children’s behaviour.
  • Plan and carry out experiences that foster an understanding of a variety of cultures and value systems.
  • Provide play materials and experiences that promote diversity and acceptance in interactions and attitudes.
  • Participate in short and long term program planning and evaluation.
Early childhood educator assistants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Support early childhood educators in carrying out programs that promote the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of children.
  • Engage children in activities by telling stories, singing and preparing activities.
  • Prepare snacks and arrange rooms or furniture for lunch and rest periods.
  • Assist with proper eating, dressing and toilet habits.
  • Discuss observations on children with early childhood educators or supervisors.
  • Maintain daycare equipment and assist in housekeeping and cooking duties.
  • Attend staff meetings.
  • May assist early childhood educators or supervisors in keeping records.
Sample job titles:
  • childcare staff
  • daycare director
  • daycare teacher
  • daycare worker
  • early childhood assistant
  • early childhood education worker
  • early childhood educator (E.C.E.)
  • early childhood educator assistant
  • nursery school teacher
  • preschool helper

For these jobs, you should have an interest in child development and enjoy working with children. Good health and physical stamina are needed. You must be patient, imaginative, resourceful, and have the ability to work cooperatively with a team. The ability to communicate ideas in a clear, concise, and pleasant manner is also necessary.

Job requirements:
Early childhood educators:
  • Completion of a two-year college program in early childhood education or a bachelor's degree in child development is required.
  • Licensing by the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development is required for work in regulated child care in Nova Scotia.
Early childhood educator assistants:
  • Completion of secondary school is required.
  • Completion of an early childhood education assistant certificate program or post-secondary courses in early childhood education may be required.
Other considerations:

Self-employment and part-time work are both relatively common for this group. Experience in child care is required for early childhood educator assistants. Progression to senior positions, such as daycare supervisor, is possible with several years of experience or with experience and advanced ECE qualification levels.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Early Childhood Educators and Assistants most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 46% of Early Childhood Educators and Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $29,141. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Early Childhood Educators and Assistants3,160Strong growth625Low
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $14.66
Maximum: $20.89
Minimum: $3,119
Median: $20,817
Maximum: $35,707
Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services55,420Moderate growth4,880Low
Minimum: $14.00
Median: $26.88
Maximum: $46.15
Minimum: $5,616
Median: $44,335
Maximum: $92,599
Early Childhood Educators and AssistantsCompared to: Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
Percent employed full-time74%79%
Percent self-employed10%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentEarly Childhood Educators and AssistantsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton10%$12,75313%$32,974
Annapolis Valley12%$13,90213%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeEarly Childhood Educators and AssistantsCompared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% Employed% Employed
Median Age3844
GenderEarly Childhood Educators and AssistantsCompared to: Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% Employed% Employed
EducationEarly Childhood Educators and AssistantsCompared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school4.9%$35,2282.8%$11,346
High school19.0%$33,20414.3%$25,801
Trades certificate4.4%$36,4764.2%$35,678
College certificate or diploma47.6%$36,79421.5%$28,183
University certificate or diploma3.8%$43,4282.6%$35,967
Bachelor's degree18.0%$42,36129.2%$43,533
University advanced certificate or diploma1.0%$40,7193.4%$47,801
Master's degreeN/A$46,95617.2%$35,978
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.2%$83,456
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Early Childhood Educator
Special Requirements:The Day Care Regulations identify training qualifications for this job in Nova Scotia. A license to practice (classification) is a legal requirement to work in a licensed child care centre, family home day care agency or pre-primary program.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Education & Early Childhood Development - Early Years Branch
PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
Useful contacts:
St. John Ambulance - NS, PEI
72 Highfield Park Drive
Dartmouth, NS B3A 4X2
Tel: (902) 463-5646
Fax: (902) 469-9609

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Child development
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This program engages students in practical training and theoretical explorations in child and youth work, early childhood education, as well as early intervention and inclusive development.
See all institutions providing this program+
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
Program Name:Early childhood education and teaching
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This program prepares students to work with young children ranging in age from birth to 12 years, in a variety of early learning and childcare settings.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education Society
6208 Quinpool Road, 2nd Floor
Halifax, NS B3L 1A3
(902) 423-7114
Island Career Academy
721 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2H4
(902) 564-6112
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Jane Norman College (Truro)
60 Lorne Street, Suite 1
Truro, NS B2N 3K3
(902) 893-3342
Nova Scotia Community College - Online Learning
Unit 37, 115 Chain Lake Drive
Halifax, NS B3S 1B3
(877) 491-6774
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.