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Preschool Education Director: Career Info and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a preschool education director. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and required credentials to find out if this is the career for you.

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Preschool education directors provide leadership of school programs and oversee daily activities. Many preschool education directors have classroom teaching and school administration experience. A bachelor's degree is typically required and a master's degree may help with career advancement.

Essential Information

A preschool education director generally oversees an entire preschool, ensuring that its day-to-day activities run smoothly and that it meets state and national regulations and standards. Education requirements can vary by institution, but at the minimum, a bachelor's degree in early childhood education is required, and a master's degree is useful. In addition, there are licensing requirements that vary by state.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degree
Other Requirements Licensing requirements vary by state, most require a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% (preschool and childcare center directors)*
Median Salary (2015) $45,670 (preschool and childcare center directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Preschool Education Directors

Most preschool education directors have worked their way up to their positions and already have many years of in-class teaching or administrative work under their belts. As the lone administrators of their schools, preschool education directors set educational standards, as well as conducting interviews and hiring teachers and administrative staff. They often work directly with government representatives and preschool board members, in addition to teachers and parents.

To succeed at their jobs, preschool education directors must be able to communicate well with others, express their opinions and vocalize policies and educational goals for their schools. Directors also must be knowledgeable about their school's financial situation and make sure their budgets and operations are aligned with governmental codes, policies and requirements.

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Preschool Education Director Education Requirements

Education requirements for preschool education directors vary, with most employers seeking candidates who have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. Topics of study in these programs, which generally prepare students to earn a prekindergarten or elementary-level teaching credential, might include child development, classroom management, children's literature, small group communication and mathematics for young children. Most programs also include an internship or student teaching experience.

On the master's level, aspiring preschool education directors might choose to pursue a program in education or curriculum and instruction with a specialization in early childhood education. Classes typically cover instructional theories, curriculum development, educational psychology, assessment methods and social development. Master's candidates usually must complete a research project, thesis or comprehensive exam.

Licensure and Certification Requirements for Preschool Education Directors

Licensing requirements vary by state, but most mandate that preschool education directors hold a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. This certification requires completion of at least 120 hours of coursework and a minimum of 480 hours working with children in a classroom or childcare setting.

Additionally, the National Child Care Association administers the voluntary National Administrator Credential (NAC). Applicants must complete 40 hours of training, which covers organizational development, program marketing, community relations, personnel and financial management, staff development and applicable laws. NAC recipients must renew their certification every two years by fulfilling 20 hours of administrative or business classes.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for education administrators in preschools and childcare centers was $45,670. Employment for these professionals was predicted to expand by 7% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS.

Preschool education directors oversee school activities and operations. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is typically required. Some states require preschool education directors to hold the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

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