Head Start Teacher Salary: What You’ll Make and Why

Head Start teachers make around $23,118 to $86,356 on average in the US, depending on experience, location, skills, and other factors.

According to various salary aggregate websites, a Head Start teacher’s salary in the US ranges between $23,118 and $86,356, with an average salary of $47,532. As of June 2022, the base salaries for Head Start teachers are listed as follows:


Keep in mind: Salary aggregate websites typically rely on data submitted anonymously by individuals using their site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of data of either higher or lower than average salaries, which may affect the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is a Head Start Teacher? How to Become One

What influences a salary?

Head Start teachers are paid based on a number of factors, including education, experience, and location. Here, we’ll break down how each of these factors can impact your salary.

Years of experience

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. In general, the more years you spend working as a Head Start teacher, the more you can expect to earn. Here’s how experience can impact your Head Start teacher salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$31,808
Early career (1 to 4 years)$36,950
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$43,901
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$55,075
Late career (20+ years)$75,726

Where you live can also impact how much you can make as a Head Start teacher. Typically, working in a large metropolitan area correlates to a higher salary, as well as a higher cost of living.

Here is a list of some major cities with their corresponding average Head Start teacher salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CityAverage Salary
Baltimore, MD$64,776
New York City, NY$61,720
Houston, TX$58,014
San Francisco, CA$56,831
Boston, MA$54,750
Indianapolis, IN$38,221
Tampa Bay, FL$37,610
Milwaukee, WI$36,296
Charlotte, NC$35,997
Birmingham, AL$29,196

How does this compare to similar jobs?

Here’s how a Head Start teacher’s salary stacks up against similar jobs.

Related JobsAverage Salary
Preschool Teacher$27,473
Kindergarten Teacher$34,801
Elementary School Teacher$38,343
Middle School Teacher$45,444
High School Teacher$41,918
Special Education Teacher$52,770
Substitute Teacher$28,334
Daycare Provider$22,653

How to increase your Head Start teacher salary

Now that you have a better idea of what you could expect to earn as a Head Start teacher, let’s look at ways to boost your salary.

1. Strengthen your skills

Pursuing and improving in-demand skills could make you more competitive for promotions and higher-paying positions. These skills include:

  • Classroom Management: Understand how to create a positive and productive learning environment
  • Instructional Design: Plan and implement engaging and effective lesson plans
  • Assessment: Understand how to assess student learning using a variety of methods
  • Behavior Management: Learn how to effectively manage student behavior in the classroom
  • Early Childhood Education: Have a strong foundation in child development and early childhood education best practices
2. Maintain a consistent performance

Head Start teachers who maintain a consistent level of performance can expect to see their salaries increase over time. In addition to meeting the expectations of your program, aim to go above and beyond when possible. This could involve taking on extra assignments, or looking for ways to improve the quality of your teaching.

3. Grow your network

As a Head Start teacher, you likely have a lot of experience working with young children. Use that experience to your advantage by networking with other educators, both in and out of Head Start. These connections can help you learn about new job opportunities, and may even lead to a higher salary.

Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “National Compensation Survey,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

3. Payscale. “Teacher Assistant Hourly Pay,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

4. Ziprecruiter. “Head Start Teacher Annual Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

5. Indeed. “Indeed Salary Finder,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

6. “Head Start Teacher Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “Head Start Teacher Salaries,,18.htm.” Accessed June 2, 2022.


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