How Do I Become a Director of a Daycare Center?

Research what it takes to become a director of a daycare center. Learn about education requirements, career outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Director of a Daycare?

As a director of a daycare, you'll oversee teachers, workers and volunteers while also improving educational services and health programs. Described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool and childcare center directors are responsible for not only hiring and training staff, but helping them communicate with families and resolve conflicts between children. They are to establish and enforce regulations and standards, design programs and manage budgets. While some centers are independently owned or a part of a franchise, others are supported by the federal government. The requirements and regulations for becoming a director of a daycare center vary widely from state to state, although earning a degree is a good first step. More details can be found in the table below.

Education Required High school diploma, but most states require an associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Early childhood education, child development, business management
Key Skills Leadership, organization, problem-solving, interpersonal, business
Licensure/Certification Licensure is required for the care of more than a few children; certification requirements vary by state
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* (for preschool and childcare center directors)
Median Salary (2015) $45,670 (for preschool and childcare center directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as the Director of a Daycare?

A director of a daycare center must be able to organize and supervise the day-to-day activities of a daycare facility. Once in the position, you will train and evaluate part-time personnel in the daycare program and be responsible for recruiting, hiring and training new employees. You'll provide direct supervision to daycare teachers' assistants who work within the program. Program planning, financial planning and facility maintenance are just a few of your management responsibilities.

What Education Should I Seek?

Degree programs that might prepare you for a position as a daycare director include those related to childhood development, business management or elementary education. Generally, a bachelor's degree program in child care management can prepare you for a career managing the care of small children. Your courses will likely teach you about communication, counseling, nutrition, program planning, organizational theory, childhood education, early human development, welfare services, human resources and basic health. Because state regulations vary, you should learn state rules and requirements regarding child care facilities before seeking any particular degree.

How Should I Obtain Licensure?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational directors at the daycare level must be at least 21 years old; if they're working at a public daycare, they typically must hold a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). If you plan to care for more than a few children, you must earn state licensure and have a criminal background check completed.

You can seek certification through a credentialing center. The Council for Professional Recognition provides a credential for a child development associate (www.cdacouncil.org). To be eligible for this exam, you must have 120 credit hours of schooling and 480 hours of experience. You must also turn in an observation report, parent surveys and a portfolio.

The National Child Care Association offers an administrator credential (www.nccanet.org). This credential is national and provides employers with proof that you know how to manage and maintain a child care facility.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers include kindergarten/elementary school, high school and special education teachers. Kindergarten/elementary and high school teachers are responsible for designing and executing lesson plans in basic subjects like math and English. High school teachers have the unique task of also preparing their pupils for college. Special education teachers instruct students with a range of disabilities; in addition to basic subjects, some topics like communication techniques may be included.

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