Becoming a Child Care Administrator
Child care administrators provide managerial support to child care centers or preschools and may supervise support staff as well as oversee and develop an educational curriculum. It is the responsibility of child care administrators to ensure that the school meets state and federal guidelines as well as standards set by the owner of the facility. Child care administrators must create or enforce the policies of the child care center and communicate those policies effectively to both staff and parents. These administrators may be called upon for patience and tact when dealing with difficult employees, parents, or youngsters.
|Degree Level||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Early childhood education|
|Licensure and Certification||Most states require both the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification and a license from the state|
|Experience||Specifics vary by state, but typically 2 years of experience in an early childhood setting|
|Key Skills||Active listening, speaking, critical thinking, writing, reading comprehension, social perceptiveness, time management|
|Salary (2015)||$45,670 (annual median wage for all preschool or child care center administrators)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online
Step 1: Take Classes
The first step towards becoming a child care administrator is to take classes in early childhood education. While educational requirements for this profession vary nationwide, many states require an associate's or bachelor's degree with at least some coursework in early childhood education. Degree programs in early childhood education provide applicants with knowledge in child development and effective teaching strategies for children from birth through third grade, as well as mastery of professional standards required by accrediting agencies. Individuals who take classes in early childhood education also learn about appropriate methods of documenting children's development.
Consider completing a bachelor's degree. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. Applicants who have a degree in an area other than early childhood education may be required to have additional experience working in the field as a teacher. Some schools offer post-graduate or graduate certificate courses in education leadership for those with a degree in another field. Programs such as these may give applicants the educational knowledge and skills needed to continue on to gain professional certification.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Adult Development and Aging
- Child Care Management
- Child Care Services
- Child Development
- Community Organization and Advocacy
- Family and Community Services
- Family Systems
- Human Development and Family Studies
- Social Work
- Youth Services
Step 2: Receive Training
The second step towards becoming a child care administrator is to receive on-the-job training. Many state licensure boards require that child care administrators have at least two years of experience in the field working directly with children. This can be accomplished in a variety of educational environments, including public and private elementary schools, child care centers, churches, and other charitable organizations. Additionally, some educational programs may offer internships for those working toward a post-graduate degree in child care administration.
Get an internship. One effective way of getting experience is to participate in an internship as part of a degree program in early childhood education. A student taking part in an internship will typically spend one year immersed in a classroom setting, performing all the duties of a regular teacher, under the guidance and supervision of an experienced professional.
Step 3: Get Certified
The third step towards becoming a child care administrator is to earn certification. Most states require those working as child care administrators to be licensed, though licensure stipulations vary by state. Some states may require that the job applicant earn a graduate-level degree, receive on-the-job training, and pass an examination. It is best to contact the state board to find out specific licensure requirements. Most states also require that lead teachers and other child care professionals receive CDA certification. To fulfill this requirement, teachers must undergo 120 hours of training before being observed in a professional setting by a CDA advisor. The process will be complete after a verification visit with a representative from the Council for Professional Recognition.
Step 4: Seek Further Certification
The fourth step towards becoming a child care administrator is to seek additional certification. The National Child Care Association offers a National Administration Credential (NAC) for child care center management. This 40-hour course offers additional instruction on the typical administrative duties of a child care director. Although optional, completion of an accredited program may assist in fulfilling state licensure requirements, enhance a job applicant's marketability, and provide greater opportunity for advancement within the field.
The steps towards becoming a child care administrator include taking classes in early childhood education, receiving on-the-job training, earning certification, and seeking additional certification.