Overview of Online Child Care Director Certificate Programs
Education requirements for child care directors may vary by state and employer. For example, the state of Florida offers three different levels of a director credential that students must earn to be a child care director, while schools in states like Kentucky and Colorado offer certificate programs that include the coursework needed to meet state requirements for the position. Here, we will focus on these certificate programs, which are usually designed for students wishing to pursue a career in early childhood administration.
Some child care or early childhood director certificate programs are available online. These programs can usually be completed in 1-2 years and may allow students to take courses independent of the certificate program. Some of these certificate programs may help prepare students for their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, include standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and allow students to earn their certificate while earning their bachelor's degree in child and family studies or another related area.
Requirements for Online Child Care Director Certificates
Online child care director certificate programs can help further develop the leadership and management skills that are needed to oversee the ins and outs of a child care facility. Coursework can be completed 100% online, but some programs require students to complete hands-on learning opportunities at a child care center.
Students in child care director certificate programs may be required to complete 18 to 27 credits. Some of these courses include practicum experiences to provide students with hands-on learning. The length of courses may vary by program, but some programs offer accelerated, 8-week terms. Students should be sure to check their state's qualifications for the field to ensure that they choose a program that aptly prepares them to meet state-specific requirements. Often, these certificate programs meet state requirements in the home state of the school and some additional states.
Students in child development courses typically study the developmental theories and characteristics of children from infancy to about age 8 or 12. Some of these courses even include topics in development from conception but usually emphasize early childhood development. Students explore the social, physical, and cognitive growth of children during these life stages.
Courses in creative experiences/activities are designed to provide students with a wide range of ideas for fun, age appropriate activities for children of various ages. Students learn how to plan for these activities and incorporate different skills and techniques, all while considering children's ages and abilities. Students may explore activities in areas like art, literature, and music and examine how to further aid children's development and creativity.
Administration of Early Childhood Programs
Courses in administration aim to equip students with the managerial skills needed to oversee the daily functions of an early childhood program. These courses may cover topics in understanding state licensing and regulations, budgeting, program development, and more. Students may also discuss how to set goals for their organization and implementing effective programming.
Career Outcomes With a Child Care Director Certificate
A child care director certificate may be beneficial for child care workers, early childhood teachers, pre-K teachers, and other individuals who work with young children. However, many students with this certificate pursue careers as child care directors or other child care administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), preschool and child care center directors usually need a bachelor's degree and have some work experience, but education requirements vary. Many states or employers require licensure or other credentials, such as the CDA, which a certificate program may help prepare students for.
As of 2019, the BLS reported that preschool and child care center directors made a median annual salary of $48,210. The BLS also reported that these directors could see a job growth of 7% from 2018 to 2028. This job growth is faster than average and may be due in part to the increase of children under the age of 5 and parents' need for child care.
Students wishing to move into leadership positions in a child care facility may consider earning an online child care director certificate. These programs can usually be completed online in less than 1 year and may help students prepare for professional credentials in the field.