The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Child and Family Studies: Family Studies: M.S.


Child and Family Studies


School of Education

First Advisor

Glen Palm

Second Advisor

Kathleen Ofstedal

Third Advisor

Mick Mayhew

Keywords and Subject Headings

Early Childhood, Workforce Wages, Working Conditions, Center-based teachers, Education


The purpose of this study was to determine the wages and benefits that Minnesota center-based early childhood teachers received during 2007. The study utilized a questionnaire that was distributed to a random sample of licensed, center-based child care programs in Minnesota. Five hundred programs were randomly selected and surveyed with a response of247 programs (48.4%). The results were compared to the results of a similar study completed in 1996.

Results of the study indicated that a large percentage of the teachers (45%) still received less than $10.00 per hour for their work. Only 5% of the teachers earned $18.00-$20.00 per hour or more. The majority of teachers (60%) had been employed in their present positions for less than 3 years compared to 3 7% in the 1996 study. The results indicated that 44% of child care teachers told their directors that the most common reason they left their positions was that they were dissatisfied with the pay they had received; an increase of 5% from 1996. Again, many teachers (3 7%) reported they left their positions to work in a different field or to work in a public school setting (32%).

The education level of child care teachers showed notable changes in comparison to the 1996 sample, with the number of teachers in the workforce having some type Bachelor's degree or higher decreasing from 72% in 1996 to 45% in 2007. The study documented a 31 % decrease in the number of teachers with a Master's degree when compared to the 1996 study. Child care teachers with a 2-year degree increased by 18% from the original study. Directors indicated that 65% of their programs still did not offer any type of health insurance coverage. A significant increase in the working conditions of child care teachers was indicated in the certain benefit areas as more than 60% of the programs indicated they offered paid sick days, paid vacations, paid holidays, free parking, compensation for attending staff meetings after hours, and telephone access for staff.


Sincere appreciation is given to my colleagues and family for the support and encouragement they gave to me as I worked to achieve my goal of obtaining a Master's degree.

Special thanks to the members of my thesis committee: Dr. Mick Mayhew, Dr. Kathy Ofstedal, and Dr. Glen Palm. I could not have completed this undertaking without all of the time and expertise you have offered me. And thanks to Margaret Boyer, Director of the Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals, for your willingness to again collaborate this study.

To my parents, thank you for your encouragement to just "buy the shoes," your financial assistance, and consistent assurance that I could and would complete this project.

To my husband, Shane, my deepest thanks for the technological assistance you provided and for your patience, encouragement, and understanding.

To my children, my sincere appreciation for demonstrating that life is short and for not giving me the time enough to even sweat the small stuff. You have made this journey so worth it.