Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Summary

preschool and childcare center directors image
Preschool and childcare center directors lead staff, oversee daily activities, and prepare plans and budgets.
Quick Facts: Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
2012 Median Pay $43,950 per year
$21.13 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 63,800
Job Outlook, 2012-22 17% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 10,900

What Preschool and Childcare Center Directors Do

Preschool and childcare center directors direct and lead staffs, oversee daily activities, and prepare plans and budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program.

Work Environment

Preschool and childcare center directors work primarily in child day care services. They generally work full time.

How to Become a Preschool or Childcare Center Director

Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most states require these directors to have experience in early childhood education. Some states or employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized certification such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification.

Pay

The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $43,950 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Continued demand for preschool programs and childcare is expected to contribute to growth.

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about preschool and childcare center directors by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Preschool and Childcare Center Directors Do About this section

Preschool and childcare center directors
Preschool and childcare center directors assist staff with caring for and teaching children.

Preschool and childcare center directors direct and lead staffs, oversee daily activities, and prepare plans and budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their program.

Duties

Preschool and childcare center directors typically do the following:

  • Supervise preschool teachers and childcare workers
  • Hire and train new staff members
  • Provide training and professional development opportunities for staff
  • Establish policies and communicate them to staff and parents
  • Develop educational programs and set educational standards
  • Help staff resolve conflicts between children
  • Assist staff in communicating with parents
  • Meet with parents and staff to discuss students’ progress
  • Establish budgets and set fees for programs
  • 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, directors own the facilities, so they decide how to operate the facilities.

Other preschools and childcare centers are part of a national chain or franchise. The director of a chain or franchise must also 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 meets the educational requirements set by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Work Environment About this section

Preschool and childcare center directors
Most preschool and childcare center directors work in childcare facilities.

Preschool and childcare center directors held about 63,800 jobs in 2012.

The industries that employed the most preschool and childcare center directors in 2012 were as follows:

Child day care services54%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations17
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private12
Individual and family services4

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 or speak to preschool teachers or childcare workers.

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 also can be stressful.

Work Schedules

Preschool and childcare center directors generally work full time. When childcare centers are open, a director must always be on staff, so directors and assistant directors stagger their schedules to ensure someone is always available.

How to Become a Preschool or Childcare Center Director About this section

Preschool and childcare center directors
Preschool and childcare center directors need to be able to interact with children, staff, and parents.

Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most states require these directors to have experience in early childhood education. Some states or employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized certification such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification.

Education

Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a high school diploma, but some require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. These degree programs teach students about child development, strategies to teach young children, and how to observe and document children’s progress. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree in early childhood education, or at least some postsecondary education in early childhood education.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have experience in early childhood education. The amount of necessary experience varies by state.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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 CPR and First Aid.

Some states and employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized certification. Most often, states require the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA certification requires coursework, experience in the field, and being observed while working with children.

Some states recognize the Child Care Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Candidates for the CCP must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have experience in the field, take courses in early childhood education, and pass an exam.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Many preschool and childcare center directors own childcare centers and need to be able to manage their business effectively.

Communication skills. Preschool and childcare center directors need to inform parents and colleagues about the progress of the children. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information effectively.

Interpersonal skills. Preschool and childcare center directors must be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and co-workers.

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 students and staff. In addition, they must be able to multitask when multiple people or situations require their attention.

Pay About this section

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Median annual wages, May 2012

Management occupations

$93,910

Preschool and childcare center directors

$43,950

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $43,950 in May 2012. 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 $27,930, and the top 10 percent earned more than $84,340.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for preschool and childcare center directors in the top four industries in which these directors worked were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local,
and private
$68,410
Individual and family services47,500
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and
similar organizations
43,240
Child day care services40,880

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, so directors and assistant directors stagger their schedules to ensure someone is always available.

Job Outlook About this section

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Preschool and childcare center directors

17%

Total, all occupations

11%

Management occupations

7%

 

Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Working parents will continue to need help caring for their children. The number of children who are of preschool age is increasing, leading to a greater need for childcare and increasing the demand for preschool and childcare center directors.

In addition, there is a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education, specifically preschool. Early childhood education is widely recognized as important for a child’s intellectual and emotional development. As the number of preschool programs grows, the need for preschool and childcare center directors will increase as well.

Job Prospects

Workers with formal postsecondary education, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, should have better job prospects than those with a high school diploma. Those with a bachelor’s degree should have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for preschool and childcare center directors, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program

11-9031 63,800 74,700 17 10,900 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of preschool and childcare center directors.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Child care workers

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers care for children when parents and other family members are unavailable. They care for children’s basic needs, such as bathing and feeding. In addition, some help children prepare for kindergarten or help older children with homework.

High school diploma or equivalent $19,510
High school teachers

High School Teachers

High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor’s degree $55,050
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading.

Bachelor’s degree $53,090
Middle school teachers

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare them for the more difficult curriculum they will face in high school.

Bachelor’s degree $53,430
Preschool teachers

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children, usually ages 3 to 5, who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach reading, writing, science, and other subjects in a way that young children can understand.

Associate’s degree $27,130
Special education teachers

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

Bachelor’s degree $55,060
Teacher assistants

Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $23,640
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm (visited April 23, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014