Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but educational requirements can vary by state. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree, or at least some postsecondary coursework, in early childhood education, which teaches students about child development, provides strategies for teaching young children, and shows how to observe and document children’s progress.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Many states require childcare centers, including those in private homes, to be licensed. To qualify for licensure, staff must pass a background check, have a complete record of immunizations, and meet a minimum training requirement. Some states require staff to have certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.
Median pay: How much do Preschool and Childcare Center Directors make?
$45,790 Annual Salary
$22.01 per hour

Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program.


Preschool and childcare center directors typically do the following:

  • Supervise preschool teachers and childcare workers
  • Hire and train new staff members
  • Provide professional development opportunities for staff
  • Establish policies and communicate them to staff and parents
  • Develop educational programs and standards
  • Ensure instructional excellence
  • Assist staff in communicating with parents and children
  • Meet with parents and staff to discuss students’ progress
  • Prepare budgets and allocate program funds
  • Ensure facilities are maintained and cleaned according to state regulations

Some preschools and childcare centers are independently owned and operated. In these facilities, directors must follow the instructions and guidelines of the owner. Sometimes, the directors are the owners, so they decide how to operate them.

Other preschools and childcare centers are part of a national chain or franchise. The director of a chain or franchise also must ensure that the facility meets its parent organization’s standards and regulations.

In addition, some preschools and childcare centers, such as Head Start programs, receive state and federal funding. Directors of these schools and centers must ensure that their programs, staff, and facilities meet state and federal guidelines. For example, they must ensure that the staff and facility adhere to the requirements set by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Careers for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

  • Childcare center administrators
  • Childcare center directors
  • Early Head Start directors
  • Head Start directors
  • Prekindergarten programs coordinators
  • Preschool directors

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