There are several schools that offer undergraduate certificates in child care management. Depending on the school, these programs can consist of 12 to 30 credits, and credits may be applied toward an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Early Childhood Education. They provide an introduction to child development and facility management. In addition, the coursework can help prepare individuals who finish to pass professional certification exams in the field.
Undergraduate Certificate in Child Care Management
The coursework in an undergraduate certificate program in child care management is divided between studies of child care facility administration and the growth and development of children ages 0 to 8. In addition to lecture-based coursework, programs usually require students to complete child observation experiences in local facilities. The credits earned in one of these programs can be applied toward an associate's degree in early childhood education and toward the 120 hours of professional training needed to take the Childhood Development Associate (CDA) exam, which is the most popular certification in the field.
Depending of the length of the program, students may take courses in some of the following topics:
- Child growth and development
- Childcare management
- Child guidance
- Designing day care environments
- Working with parents
- Child supervision
- Health, safety and nutrition
- Small business operations
- Microcomputer applications
Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education
Students may earn an undergraduate certificate in child care management as part of a two-year associate's degree program, or they may enroll in one after completing the certificate program. Either way, they can expect to take additional courses in child supervision and day care facility management. Upon completion, graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate of Science (AS). The credits they earn can be applied to meet the 120-hour minimum education requirement to take the CDA exam when they finish.
Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education
Like associate's degree programs, bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education include general education courses and classes related to day care management. However, because programs last four years instead of two, students have the opportunity to delve deeper into the field of childcare management. When they finish, graduates will have met the minimum educational requirement to apply for the CDA credential. The following are some of the more advance topics that students can take in a bachelor's degree program:
- Curriculum development
- Early childhood literacy
- Early childhood math and science
- Cultural diversity
- Exceptional / special needs children
- Children's literature
- Movement and music
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the mean annual salary for a childcare worker was $22,310 in 2015, with managers generally earning a higher salary than their employees. The BLS also projected that job opportunities for childcare workers would grow 5% between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
After finishing an undergraduate certificate or degree program, aspiring day care managers may seek a professional certification such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) or Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential. The CDA requires 120 hours of formal education before students can apply, as well as 480 hours of child care experience within three years of applying. The CCP requires at least 180 hours spent in a post-secondary education program for childcare, as well as 720 hours of work experience within the previous five years. Candidates must also submit a professional development portfolio and endorsement letters, and they must pass a practical and a written exam. One or both of these credentials may be required in order to reach a management level in the day care industry. To maintain certification, daycare managers must periodically earn continuing education credits.
Overall, undergraduates who want to become day care managers can earn an undergraduate certificate and/or degree in child care managers. This education can help them meet the educational prerequisites for professional certification in the field.