What is Child Care WAGE$® Iowa?

Child Care WAGE$® Iowa (WAGE$) is a salary supplement program offered by Iowa AEYC. As with T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Iowa, WAGE$ is a licensed program of Child Care Services Association. WAGE$ offers salary supplements (also called stipends) to the early care and education workforce, based on the individual’s level of formal education and commitment to their program. Thanks to funds from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care WAGE$® Iowa is available in all 99 Iowa counties. 

Watch our video and read the WAGE$ Overview Booklet (PDF) to learn more.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Female caregiver building legos with young child

To be eligible to receive a WAGE$ stipend you must:

  • Work in an HHS regulated early care and education program that participates in the Iowa Quality Rating System (IQ4K/QRS) or is nationally accredited, and accepts Child Care Assistance (CCA)
  • Earn at or below $20/hour for teachers, child development home providers, assistant directors OR $25/hour for directors
  • Have one of the education levels listed in the supplement scale (see below), from regionally accredited schools
  • Work 20 hours or more per week at least six months in the same child care program and be employed there when a final confirmation has been completed

What are the award levels?

Below is the WAGE$ Supplement Scale, effective July 1, 2022:

LevelEducation RequirementAnnual Supplement (QRS/IQ4K 1-2)Annual Supplement

Master’s or Doctorate Degree plus or including 24 EC credits
Bachelor’s Degree with a Teaching License with an EC Endorsement

Master’s or Doctorate Degree plus or including 18 EC credits
Bachelor’s Degree plus or including 24 EC credits

Master’s or Doctorate Degree plus or including 9 EC credits
Bachelor’s Degree plus or including 15 EC credits



Associate Degree plus or including 24 EC credits
Master’s or Doctorate Degree (less than 9 EC credits)
Bachelor’s Degree (less than 15 EC credits)
90 credits toward a Bachelor’s Degree plus or including 24 EC credits

Associate Degree plus or including 12 EC credits
60 credits general education plus or including 18 EC credits


Early Childhood Community College Diploma
36 credits general education plus or including 12 EC credits
Associate Degree (less than 12 EC credits)
4*24 credits general education plus or including at least 6 EC credits$1,200$2,100
3*12 EC college credits (could be part of a CDA Credential™, Paraeducator, Apprenticeship, Community College EC Certificate, etc.)$750$1,300
2*Active Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™ (earned with less than 12 college credits)$525$900
1High School Diploma and training not for college creditN/AN/A

Supplement totals shown represent annual awards for full-time eligibility.

*Temporary levels of education. Early care and education providers at one of these levels must move to a higher level within two years to retain eligibility. Deadlines will be reestablished at each temporary level. 

The following notes apply to multiple levels throughout the scale:

  • EC credits are defined as college coursework focused children ages birth to five.
  • General education, such as English, Math and Science, is coursework earned toward a two or four year degree.

Contact Us Today!

Call 515-331-8000 to speak to a counseling specialist or email wages@iowaaeyc.org.

Ready to apply?

Apply online here. If you are unable to complete the online application, please contact wages@iowaaeyc.org for an alternate application.

Fill out your W9 (PDF) and submit with your WAGE$ application to save time later.

WAGE$ National Information

Learn more about the history of WAGE$ and the outcomes that have been seen at the national level:

Get involved

Make a difference by participating in advocacy events or recognizing an educator through our award nominations.

Support Iowa AEYC

Your donation supports training and professional development initiatives and connects early childhood educators to tools and resources.

Become a member

Connect with other early childhood educators in your area and take part in professional development opportunities.