From managing staff to creating educational programs and balancing budgets, the duties of a childcare center director are varied. The centers they oversee may be privately owned small businesses, nonprofit or government-run operations, franchise locations or on-site corporate facilities.
Childcare center directors also have responsibility for ensuring the safety of the children in their care, complying with licensing regulations, communicating with parents, and coordinating activities and events.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Childcare Center Directors
Employment of childcare center directors is forecast to grow by 7% nationally between 2014 and 2024, about the same as the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Demographic and educational factors are combining to drive the projected job growth: an increasing number of preschool-age youngsters, and a greater focus on the importance of early childhood learning.
The BLS reports that employment opportunities should be best for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree.
In May 2016, the median annual salary for childcare center directors was $45,790, according to the BLS. The top 10% earned more than $82,790.
A candidate’s level of experience and education will affect earning potential and job opportunities, as will variable market conditions across geographic areas.
Education and Training for Childcare Center Directors
A two-year associate’s degree is generally a minimum requirement for employment as a childcare center director, although employers may require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Given the diversity of a director’s responsibilities, which may include budgeting and staffing, it can be useful to complete coursework in business-related subjects.
In some instances, childcare workers may move into management roles after gaining on-the-job training and experience. Leadership and interpersonal skills are important attributes for a childcare center director.
Certification and professional development programs are available through organizations such as the National Child Care Association (NCCA) and the Council for Professional Recognition. In addition, in states where childcare facilities must be licensed, there usually are minimum training requirements for directors and other employees, who must also pass a background check.
Military Occupational Specializations
Each branch of the armed forces offers servicemembers opportunities to learn many of the skills associated with the civilian role of childcare center director. Such skills include personnel management, budgeting and staffing.
Also, a variety of military occupational specializations may encompass duties or responsibilities associated with civilian childcare roles. Those military titles include social worker in the Navy and pediatric nurse practitioner in the Air Force.