Child Care Manager: Employment Information and Requirements

Learn about a career as a child care manager or director. Find out the education and skills required, in addition to the salary possibilities and expected employment growth, to see if this job is for you.

Career Definition for a Child Care Manager

Child care managers supervise workers at daycare centers, preschools, and other places that provide child care services to parents. They also track the financial operations of the centers, help plan activities for the children, and hire new child care workers. Child care managers also supervise children and make sure they are safe and well-behaved.

Education Associate's or bachelor's degree, state license and/or certification
Job Skills Plan engaging activities, know how to appropriately discipline children, good communication skills, manage a budget, supervise employees
Median Salary (2015) $46,890 (for child care center or preschool directors)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 11% (for child care center or preschool directors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Child care managers are usually required to hold a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree as well as a state license, but it is possible for people with extensive child care experience to be hired as child care managers without holding a degree. People interested in entering the child care management field should take classes covering child psychology, developmental psychology, finance, and education theory.

A child care manager may earn certification as a Child Development Associate (CDA) or as a Child Care Professional (CCP), which both require professional education and work experience. Some employers and states require one of these certifications.

Skills Needed

Child care managers need to be able to plan engaging activities for children and should know how to appropriately discipline children if they misbehave. They must also have excellent oral and written communication skills, be able to supervise employees, and be capable of maintaining a budget.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of child care center or preschool directors to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026. Job outlook is partly due to the fact that there are many working parents and the increasing recognition that early childhood education is developmentally important. Child care center and preschool directors earned a median annual salary of $46,890, according to the BLS in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a child care manager include:

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Upon completion of a bachelor's degree that usually includes a teaching internship or student teaching assignment, aspiring kindergarten and elementary school teachers then must earn the state-issued license through a qualifying exam. Continuing education is required and varies among states. The BLS predicted 7% employment growth from 2016-2026, which was about as fast as the average for all occupations. The BLS reported annual median salaries of $57,160 for elementary school educators and $54,230 for kindergarten teachers in May 2017.

Preschool Teacher

Requirements for preschool teachers range from a high school diploma with a certification to a bachelor's degree, depending on the educational setting. Providing care and educational experiences for young children up to kindergarten age, the employment outlook from 2016-2026 for these teachers was faster than average at 10%, the BLS predicted. In May 2017, the BLS reported an annual median wage of $28,990 for preschool teachers.

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