Data Snapshot

“I Could Not Afford to Continue”

Job Changes and Exits in Early Care and Education

Family child care (FCC) providers and child care center staff feel a deep sense of reward from their work with young children, but many of them experience job changes or leave the field entirely. 

This data snapshot highlights their job changes or exits and draws from the California Workforce Study. In examining the job paths of early care and education professionals from 2020 to 2023, we find that:

  • While many early educators remained at the same job role in 2020 and 2023, center-based educators sometimes changed sites.
  • Some early educators experienced job advancement within early care and education (ECE), including a few center teachers or assistants who became directors.
  • While we likely reached fewer members of the workforce who had left the field entirely, we found that many educators no longer working in direct care or supervision had taken other jobs in education or with young children.
  • Inadequate wages are the top driver for leaving jobs in ECE, and they are also the most important change that could lure workers back. Job demands and work environments, however, are also big factors.