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
2015 Median Pay $45,670 per year
$21.96 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 64,000
Job Outlook, 2014-24 7% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 4,200

What Preschool and Childcare Center Directors Do

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

Work Environment

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

How to Become a Preschool or Childcare Center Director

A college degree and experience in early childhood education is typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. Some states or employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA).

Pay

The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $45,670 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Overall job opportunities for preschool and childcare center directors are expected to be favorable.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for preschool and childcare center directors.

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 supervise and lead staffs, oversee daily activities, design curriculums, and prepare 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 standards
  • Ensure instructional excellence
  • Assist staff in resolving conflicts between children
  • Aid staff in communicating with parents
  • 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, directors own the facilities, 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 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 64,000 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most preschool and childcare center directors were as follows:

Child day care services 51%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 18
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 12
Individual and family services 4

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.

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 that 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.

A college degree and experience in early childhood education is typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. Some states or employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA).

Education

Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. These degree programs teach students about child development, provide strategies for teaching young children, and discuss how to observe and document children’s progress. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree, or at least some postsecondary coursework, 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 experience required 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 cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

Some states and employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential. Most often, 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 is valid for 3 years and requires renewal.

Some states recognize the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Some of the requirements for obtaining the CCP are that the candidate 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. The CCP accreditation requires renewal every 2 years through the CCP maintenance process.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Preschool and childcare center directors manage childcare centers and need to be able to operate the business effectively.

Communication skills. Preschool and childcare center 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.

Pay About this section

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Median annual wages, May 2015

Management occupations

$98,560

Preschool and childcare center directors

$45,670

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $45,670 in May 2015. 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 $28,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,870.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for preschool and childcare center directors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $67,280
Individual and family services 48,590
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 47,650
Child day care services 42,310

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 that someone is always available.

Job Outlook About this section

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Preschool and childcare center directors

7%

Total, all occupations

7%

Management occupations

6%

 

Employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The number of children who are of preschool age is expected to increase, although their share of the overall population should remain constant. As a result, a greater number of working parents will continue to need help caring for their children.

In addition, a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education—specifically preschool—should increase demand for childcare centers. Early childhood education is widely recognized as important for a child’s intellectual and emotional development.

However, the increasing cost of childcare and the increasing number of stay-at-home parents may reduce demand in the child daycare services industry.

Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities for preschool and childcare center directors are expected to be favorable. Workers with formal postsecondary education, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, should have better job prospects than those with only a high school diploma. Those with a bachelor’s degree should have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for preschool and childcare center directors, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Education administrators, preschool and childcare center/program

11-9031 64,000 68,200 7 4,200 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

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 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Child care workers

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers provide care for children when parents and other family members are unavailable. They attend to 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 $20,320
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 $57,200
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 $54,550
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 $55,860
Preschool teachers

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 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 $28,570
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 $56,800
Teacher assistants

Teacher Assistants

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

Some college, no degree $24,900
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm (visited September 28, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

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Work Environment

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Pay

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State & Area Data

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Job Outlook

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Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.