Child care center directors need at least a high school diploma, but many hold college degrees. In some states, they must meet licensing requirements and/or obtain professional certification. Due to increased demand for child care, jobs in this field are expected to continue to grow.
Child care center directors oversee the day-to-day operations of a child care center. Professionals in this career come from a variety of educational backgrounds, including high school graduates and those with an associate's or bachelor's degree. Licensing is typically necessary, with states mandating the specific requirements. Another commonly required credential is Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. Prior work in early childhood education is also essential in most states.
|Required Education||High school diploma; some positions require an associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||License and CDA often required; early childhood education experience usually necessary|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||7%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$45,670 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The job description of a child care center director is similar to that of any school administrator. However, child care center directors mainly oversee facilities that house younger children. They work in preschools, nursery schools, daycare centers, pre-kindergarten programs, group homes and, in some cases, school systems to oversee and coordinate child care and educational programs.
Child care center directors are responsible for setting the tone for the facility, managing the curriculum, overseeing physical facilities, hiring staff and managing the overall image of the center. They sometimes also ensure compliance with all local and federal laws governing child care, both in regard to the physical environment and the staff, and manage the financial affairs of the child care facility.
Center directors work with qualified center staff to develop an appropriate curriculum and ensure that it complies with state and federal requirements. In the case of specialized schools, such as Montessori schools, the center director ensures that the curriculum complies with the specific requirements of that designation.
Child care center directors make sure that the center's physical facilities comply with local, state and federal laws and are a safe and appropriate environment for children. Directors have knowledge of local, state and federal laws regarding safety requirements and inspection and certification procedures, and ensure that the center complies with those requirements. The center director also evaluates and purchases equipment and supplies for the center or approves requests to purchase materials and equipment.
Child care centers are generally staffed by teachers, teacher aides, assistants and other individuals; for example, larger centers might have administrative or custodial staffs. The center director manages this staff, developing job descriptions, interviewing candidates, maintaining staff development and education and, if necessary, managing disciplinary processes.
The director ensures that all staff meet the requirements for their jobs; for example, the director orders staff background checks and confirms that necessary licenses are valid. Child care directors are also responsible for maintaining their own qualifications; most states require child care center directors to complete continuing education courses each year, in addition to other requirements.
Parental Communication and Involvement
While for many parents, their child's teacher is the primary point of contact in the school, the director often serves as the 'face' of the school, managing communication with parents and the community. The director develops policies for the school and communicates the policies to parents. Directors also often meet with parents of prospective students to determine whether the school is a good fit for the family.
Child care center directors are responsible for the financial management of the center. This means that they develop budget, manage the accounting and oversee accounts payable and receivable. The director also develops the marketing plan for the center, developing public relations and advertising campaigns as necessary.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for child care center directors is expected to grow faster than average, at 7%, between 2014 and 2024. The BLS suggests that the growth in this field is attributable to the increase in state-sponsored early childhood education and a growing acceptance of the need for pre-kindergarten education. As more families send their young children to early childhood education programs, the demand for these services and qualified directors increases.
As of May 2015, the median annual wage for a preschool and child care center administrator was $45,670.
Child care center directors typically interact with families, communities, as well as teachers and students. They also may help to develop curriculum. Educational background varies, but licensing is typically required and as is work experience in early childhood education.