First Class Pre-K Salary Parity


  • Pay Scales and Parity


In 2015, Alabama enacted a salary parity policy to ensure that First Class Pre-K teachers in all types of settings were paid the same as educators in comparable roles in public K-12 schools. This policy was introduced in part to address high levels of turnover among community-based early educators. This pay parityPay parity: Provides community-based early educators with wages (and sometimes benefits) comparable to those received by public-school educators with similar education and experience levels. policy applies to both lead and auxiliary (assistant) teachers in all settings. Alabama’s First Class pre-K program provides pre-K services for 4-year-old children in many types of settings, including public schools, community-based centers, Head Start programs, faith-based programs, and military programs. In addition to salary parity, this policy also provides First Class Pre-K teachers with one hour of daily planning time and seven paid planning days per year, which is equivalent to the planning time that similarly educated K-12 educators receive.


Gebhart, T., Carlson, J., Harris, P., & Epstein, D. (2020). Workforce Perceptions and Experiences with the Alabama Early Care and Education Salary Parity Policy, Child Trends.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2017). Alabama First Class Pre-K.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

The early education workforce is the foundation upon which all daily work and any expansion and quality improvement efforts rest. Research suggests that states and cities should invest in the workforce across all early education setting types, focusing on enhancing educators’ professional learning, compensation, and workplace conditions.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Alabama

Context matters. Visit the Alabama profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Alabama Profile Here
  • The state population is 5,074,296
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 65%
  • The rural percentage is 42.3%