Meeting Local Need for Workers

The Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree in Early Childhood Education is a pathway to employment as a lead teacher or director in a preschool or early learning classroom.

Baccalaureate capacity in the Seattle area is very limited even though 25 percent of preschool teachers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Local, state and federal policy changes designed to professionalize the occupation are pushing up demand for baccalaureate-trained preschool teachers:

  • From 2015-2019, the new Seattle Preschool Program will create spots for 2,000 children in high quality early learning classrooms. All lead teachers will be required to hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • Washington state pledged to create over 10,000 spots in the state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Preschool (ECEAP) expansion by 2018-2019, and 70 percent of lead teachers will need a bachelor’s degree.
  • The national Head Start program established a goal that 50 percent of its teachers hold a bachelor’s degree. While this has already been satisfied in Washington state, more teachers will be needed to maintain this ratio as natural teacher turnover occurs.
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is implementing a new accreditation criterion by 2020. At that time daycare centers seeking NAEYC accreditation will be assessed as to whether or not 75 percent of their teachers hold a relevant bachelor’s degree. Please find details here.

Median hourly earnings for lead preschool teachers are currently $13.25. However, baccalaureate-trained teachers are expected to earn at rates comparable to kindergarten teachers ($26.04/hour). The city of Seattle's Pre-K for All initiative has elevated the goal of raising lead teacher salaries to this salary level, and the program's subsidies will enable childcare providers to raise wages. The city's $15 minimum wage policy will also put upward pressure on preschool wages and tuition.

Teachers who complete the Bachelor of Applied Science program will meet the bachelor’s degree requirement for employment in these early learning environments.