7 Jobs Working With Children That Pay Pretty Well

a teacher working with children in a classroom

A teacher helping students | Source: iStock

Kids may be our most precious resource, but the wages paid to people who devote their time to working with children don’t always reflect that. Childcare workers make an average of $22,310 per year, or just over $10 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The wages of people who work in day care centers are between 30% and 60% lower than those of kindergarten and elementary school teachers and “among the lowest of any major occupation,” according to The American Prospect.

A day care center worker isn’t the only job working with children that involves low pay. Coaches at elementary and secondary schools are paid about $35,000 per year. School bus drivers earn a little more than $30,000 per year. And then there are parents, who earn nothing for the hours they put in raising their offspring, though they spend an average of 7 to 14 hours per week on childcare, according to the Pew Research Center. If the typical mom was fairly compensated for all the work she does, including caring for the kids, she would earn somewhere between $65,522 to $143,102 a year, according to estimates from Insure.com and Salary.com. Dads would earn a salary of about $25,000 a year if they were paid for the work they do around the house, including helping with homework and coaching sports teams, Insure.com found.

Not every job working with children pays peanuts, though. For jobs requiring more education, and training, wages tend to be much higher than for lower-skill jobs. Here are seven jobs working with kids that pay more than $45,000 per year, on average.

All salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics unless otherwise noted.

1. Kindergarten or elementary school teacher

teacher reading to students

Teacher reading to students | Source: iStock

Kindergarten teachers earn an average of $54,510 per year. Elementary school teachers earn $57,730 on average. Most of those teachers work in elementary schools. Those who work for day care services, or religious organizations earn between $10,000 and $20,000 less per year.

2. Special education teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have unique needs, such as learning or physical disabilities. This group earns slightly more on average than other teachers – about $58,000 a year for special ed preschool and elementary school teachers. But the marginally higher wages aren’t enough to keep some in the classroom. The burnout rate for special education teachers is high, NPR reported in 2015, in part because of the high-pressure environment and additional paperwork that sucks up educators’ free time.

3. Pediatrician

When it comes to well-paying jobs working with children, you can’t do much better than a pediatrician. These doctors earn $183,180 on average. Other doctors who specialize in helping kids also earn hefty salaries. The typical starting salary for a pediatric oncologist is $175,000, while pediatric surgeons start out at $295,000 annually, according to a 2013-2014 survey by Profiles Physician Database.

4. School psychologist

School psychologists “apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally,” according to the National Association of School Psychologists. More than 90% work in public, private, or religious schools. Their average salary for school-based psychologists is $74,130 per year, according to the BLS.

5. Librarian

public library sign

Sign pointing to public library | Source: iStock

People who love reading and children may want to pursue a career as a librarian. Elementary school librarians earn an average of $56,360 per year, according to Library Journal. People working in public libraries earned less. Children’s services librarian earned $47,000 on average, while teen and youth services librarians made about $40,000 per year. Librarians who have a master’s degree in library science earn more than those who haven’t completed graduate school.

6. Speech-language pathologist

Speech-language pathologists treat and diagnose speech disorders. More than half of people in this field work in schools, according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, where they earn an average of $68,150 per year, according to the BLS. Speech-language pathologists who work in hospitals or other healthcare settings earn between $81,000 and $97,000 per year, on average.

7. Social worker

Social workers who work with children and families earn an average of $46,610 per year. Those who work in elementary and secondary schools have higher salaries, taking home $60,750 annually. Depending on where they work, social workers might help to place abused children in safe homes, work with teachers, students, and families to enable kids to succeed in school, or counsel traumatized children. Many social workers find their work fulfilling, but heavy workloads, difficult clients and cases, and relatively low salaries compared to similar professions are big causes of stress for many in this field, a study by the National Association of Social Workers found.

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