Day Care Director Certification, Training and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a day care director. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Day care directors are the head administrators of preschools or centers that offer childcare before and after school. These professionals ensure their facility meets regulations, oversee activities and manage childcare workers. Day care directors must complete some postsecondary education, which may consist of some coursework or a full degree program. They must also have some work experience caring for children and meet state age requirements. Many of these professionals earn the Child Development Associate (ADA) certification, which helps them meet state licensure requirements.

Required Education Completion of relevant courses or postsecondary training program
Other Requirements Childcare work experience, state licensure, CDA designation and minimum age
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 17% (all preschool and childcare center directors)
Median Salary (2013)* $44,890 annually (all preschool and childcare center education administrators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Day Care Director Certification

Most states require day care directors to be licensed by the state and certified by a professional association. The Council for Professional Recognition offers the Child Development Associate (CDA) designation, which is a component of the licensing regulations in most states (

The Council reports that as recently as 2013 there were over 300,000 childcare providers in the United States with the CDA designation. Eligibility for the CDA program involves a minimal number of hours of childcare education and experience working in a licensed childcare facility.

Day Care Director Training

Education and training requirements for day care directors vary by state, but generally include a combination of coursework and experience prior to obtaining a license. Some day care directors transition out of teaching, which can fulfill many of the training requirements for administrators.

Most states require directors be at least 21 years-old with a minimum of a high school or equivalent diploma, successful completion of a training program or relevant college coursework, plus experience in a licensed child care facility. The level of experience required can be decreased for students who complete an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program in child development, early childhood education, education administration or other relevant areas.

Day Care Director Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for preschool and childcare center directors from 2012 to 2022 is expected to grow 17% ( The BLS also notes that growth in this field is due to the increase in the number of preschool-age children who need care. The median annual salary for preschool and childcare center administrators was $44,890 in May 2013, reported that BLS.

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