Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center's program.
Preschool and childcare center directors typically do the following:
Some preschools and childcare centers are independently owned and operated. In these facilities, directors must follow the instructions and guidelines of the owner. Sometimes, the directors are the owners, so they decide how to operate them.
Other preschools and childcare centers are part of a national chain or franchise. The director of a chain or franchise also must ensure that the facility meets its parent organization's standards and regulations.
In addition, some preschools and childcare centers, such as Head Start programs, receive state and federal funding. Directors of these schools and centers must ensure that their programs, staff, and facilities meet state and federal guidelines. For example, they must ensure that the staff and facility adhere to the requirements set by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Preschool and childcare center directors hold about 61,800 jobs. The largest employers of preschool and childcare center directors are as follows:
|Child day care services||59%|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||17|
|Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private||10|
Although preschool and childcare center directors work in schools and childcare centers, they spend most of their day in an office. They also visit classrooms to check on students, speak to preschool teachers or childcare workers, and meet with parents.
Many preschool and childcare center directors find working in an early childhood educational environment rewarding, but they also have significant responsibilities. Coordinating and interacting with staff, parents, and children can be fast paced and stimulating, but can be stressful as well.
Preschool and childcare center directors generally work full time. When childcare centers are open, a director must always be on staff. The directors and assistant directors may stagger their schedules to ensure that someone is always available.
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A bachelor's degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA).
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor's degree, but educational requirements can vary by state. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree, or at least some postsecondary coursework, in early childhood education, which teaches students about child development, provides strategies for teaching young children, and shows how to observe and document children's progress.
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have several years of experience in early childhood education. The amount of experience required varies by state.
Many states require childcare centers, including those in private homes, to be licensed. To qualify for licensure, staff must pass a background check, have a complete record of immunizations, and meet a minimum training requirement. Some states require staff to have certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.
Some states and employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential. Some states require the CDA credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA credential requires coursework, experience in the field, and being observed while working with children. The credential needs to be renewed every 3 years.
Business skills. Preschool and childcare center directors manage childcare centers and need to be able to operate the business effectively.
Communication skills. Directors need to inform parents and staff about the progress of the children. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information successfully.
Interpersonal skills. Preschool and childcare center directors must be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and staff.
Leadership skills. Preschool and childcare center directors supervise staff, so they need good leadership skills to inspire staff to work diligently. They also must enforce rules and regulations.
Organizational skills. Directors need to maintain clear records about children and staff. In addition, they must be able to multitask when several people or situations require their attention.
The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors is $45,790. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,790.
The median annual wages for preschool and childcare center directors in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private||$66,170|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||47,820|
|Child day care services||43,230|
Preschool and childcare center directors generally work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week. When childcare centers are open, a director must always be on staff. The directors and assistant directors may stagger their schedules to ensure that someone is always available.
Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 11 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.
The number of children under the age of 5 is expected to increase, although their share of the overall population should remain constant. As a result, a greater number of working parents will need the help of childcare centers. However, the rising cost of childcare and the increasing number of stay-at-home parents may slow the growth rate of the child day care services industry.
The demand for preschools, and consequently the directors who manage them, should remain strong due to the fact that early childhood education is widely recognized as important for a child's intellectual and emotional development.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2016||Projected Employment, 2026||Change, 2016-26|
|Education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program||61,800||68,300||11||6,500|