Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets.

Work Environment: Preschool and childcare center directors work primarily in child daycare services. They generally work full time.

How to Become One: A bachelor's degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, educational requirements vary. Additionally, some employers require these directors to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

Salary: The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors is $47,310.

Job Outlook: Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of preschool and childcare center directors with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a preschool or childcare center director with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Preschool Director Jobs

  • Preschool Director - School Opening 2023! - Learn and Play Montessori School - Fremont, CA

    As the Preschool Center Director , you will have the opportunity to establish and set the tone and culture of your school. You will inspire teachers to implement high-quality Montessori + STEM ...

  • Preschool Director - IMMEDIATE HIRING! - Building Kidz of Sunnyvale in Lakewood Village - Milpitas, CA

    We are hiring a Full-Time Preschool Director who inspires teachers to create high-quality classroom programs and builds strong partnerships with the families to create a nurturing, fun, and ...

  • Preschool Director - Little Sprouts Language Immersion Preschool LLC - Los Angeles, CA

    A Child Care Director runs all aspects of a childcare facility from setting up the security system to creating the budget. Besides being detail-orientated and organized, they need to keep up with ...

See all Preschool Director jobs

Top 3 Childcare Director Jobs

  • Childcare Center Director - Children In Need of Services New Mexico - Los Angeles, CA

    Children in Need of Services, Inc. is seeking to hire a Childcare Center Director for one of its high-quality childcare centers. CHINS is a non-profit organization that has provided support services ...

  • Childcare Center Assistant Director - AHA! Recruiting Experts - Vancouver, WA

    Through support that transcends childcare alone, SWLC provides the sense of security, peace, and ... WHAT YOU WILL DO AS THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR * Monitor staff: child ratios * Assist families and ...

  • Director of Church & Community Engagement - Childcare Worldwide - Christian Career Center - Lynden, WA

    ... Childcare Worldwide to make an impact in the lives of children around the world. The Director of Church & Community Engagement will be responsible for: * Identifying and qualifying new prospects for ...

See all Childcare Director jobs

What Preschool and Childcare Center Directors Do[About this section] [To Top]

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.

Duties of Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Preschool and childcare center directors typically do the following:

  • Supervise preschool teachers and childcare workers
  • Hire and train new staff members
  • Provide professional development opportunities for staff
  • Establish policies and communicate them to staff and parents
  • Develop educational programs and standards
  • Ensure instructional excellence
  • Assist staff in communicating with parents and children
  • Meet with parents and staff to discuss students' progress
  • Prepare budgets and allocate program funds
  • Ensure facilities are maintained and cleaned according to state regulations

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.

Work Environment for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors[About this section] [To Top]

Preschool and childcare center directors hold about 74,600 jobs. The largest employers of preschool and childcare center directors are as follows:

Child day care services 67%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 11%
Self-employed workers 8%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 6%

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.

Preschool and childcare center directors may find working in an early childhood educational environment rewarding, but they also have significant responsibilities. Coordinating and interacting with staff, parents, and children may be fast paced and stimulating but also stressful.

Preschool and Childcare Center Director Work Schedules

Most preschool and childcare center directors work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They are on the job while the childcare center is open and may work early in the morning and late in the evening, particularly in centers that provide before- and after-school care. In large facilities, the director and assistant directors may stagger their schedules to ensure that someone is always onsite.

How to Become a Preschool or Childcare Center Director[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors near you!

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).

Education for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

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.

Important Qualities for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

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.

Preschool and Childcare Center Director Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors is $47,310. 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 $31,200, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,350.

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 $62,320
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations $50,000
Child day care services $46,890

Most preschool and childcare center directors work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They are on the job while the childcare center is open and may work early in the morning and late in the evening, particularly in centers that provide before- and after-school care. In large facilities, the director and assistant directors may stagger their schedules to ensure that someone is always onsite.

Job Outlook for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 6,400 openings for preschool and childcare center directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020 and is likely to occur early in the projections decade.

Early childhood education is widely recognized as important for a child’s intellectual and emotional development. Projected increases in the population group that includes children under 5 years of age will contribute to a demand for childcare. Working parents are expected to continue to rely on childcare centers and the services they provide. However, the rising cost of childcare is expected to limit the demand for these workers over the projections decade.

Employment projections data for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program 74,600 80,800 8 6,200


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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