Daycare Management Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
Learn about careers in daycare management. Get job descriptions, salary and education requirement information. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a career in daycare management.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of a Career in Daycare Management

Daycare managers play an important role in the social, emotional, physical and educational development of children, as do preschool teachers and kindergarten and elementary school teachers.

By working in a stimulating atmosphere of cooperation with parents and other professionals, you can help young people become viable members of society. Opportunities in all three occupations are expected to grow at least as fast as, if not faster than, the national average over the foreseeable future.

Drawbacks in all three careers include the stress of working with very young children, coordinating schedules and sometimes facing confrontations with parents. Here's a quick comparison of these careers:

Daycare Manager Preschool Teacher Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
Career Overview A daycare manager supervises all aspects of programs, activities and operations of a daycare center. Preschool teachers explain subjects like reading, science and writing to young people who have not yet entered kindergarten. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers provide basic instruction in various school subjects that can prepare young people for ensuing education.
Education Requirements High school diploma or associate's degree Associate's degree (bachelor's degree for public schools) Bachelor's degree (some states require public teachers to eventually earn master's degrees)
Program Length Two years for an associate's degree Two years for an associate's degree, four years for a bachelor's degree Four years
Certification and Licensing Certification often preferred; state teaching certification required for public schools Certification required in some states State teaching certification required for public schools
Experience Required Experience in early childhood education sometimes required by state Work experience in child care center may be required by state Public school teachers must have student teaching experience
Job Outlook for 2012-2022 Faster than average (17%)* Faster than average (17%)* As fast as average (12%)*
Mean Salary (2014) $52,190* $32,040* $53,480 (kindergarten), $56,830 (elementary)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Daycare Manager

A daycare manager is the glue that holds the operation of a daycare center together. Duties include establishing the center's policies and procedures and determining program fees. Besides hiring, supervising and training staff, the manager helps design programs, oversees program delivery and helps resolve any communication conflicts between staff, children and parents.

Requirements

Each state determines the education requirements of daycare directors or managers. Education requirements can range from a high school diploma to a college degree. The BLS reported that in states where a college degree is required, individuals should major in early childhood education or a similar field. Some majors in this field have a management focus, and you can learn about child development and teaching methods as well as business fundamentals. Depending on the program, you may also gain practical training in a daycare facility.

States may insist you have a specified amount of work experience in a childcare center setting, and you typically have to pass a background check before you can work in one. Additionally, some states require daycare managers to have certification. With a certain amount of education and experience, you may qualify for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition, which most states recognize. In addition, the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) offers the Child Care Professional (CCP) certification, which is also recognized in some states. CCP certification requires a high school diploma and 720 hours of experience in a licensed daycare facility with children 0-6 years of age. The certification is valid for two years and is renewable by completing 20 hours of continuing education units (CEU).

Below are examples of what employers were looking for in November 2012:

  • A family development center in Kentucky was seeking a full-time daycare director. Candidates needed to be seasoned daycare directors or teachers with considerable administrative and leadership experience and/or have a diploma or degree in early childhood education. CPR and First Aid certifications were mandatory.
  • An Indiana daycare center was looking for a full-time executive director with a bachelor's degree in the human services field or an associate's degree in early childhood education. A qualified candidate also needed at least five years of supervisory and preschool teaching experience and three years of administrative and grant writing experience.
  • A center for women and children located in Texas needed an assistant director for its daycare program. Requirements included a bachelor's degree, state teaching certification in early childhood education and five years of early childhood teaching experience.

Standing Out

The more qualifying experience you can accumulate, the better your chances may be for securing a position. Paid or unpaid volunteer work in a daycare setting can work to your advantage. Whether or not your situation requires certification, you might be wise to earn it for flexibility and in testimony to your commitment to the job. Likewise, CPR and First Aid certifications can be a plus, and more opportunities may open if you earn an associate's or bachelor's degree. You may also benefit from earning the National Administrator Credential from the NECPA. This requires taking a 45-hour class about managing childcare facilities. To keep the NAC valid, 20 hours of continuing education is required every two years.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers are responsible for planting and sowing the initial seeds of mental, social, developmental and physical skills in children around ages 3-5. In the process of preparing daily and long-term activities, preschool teachers may use computers, games, art, music, films, books, storytelling and discussion to help children develop individually and in groups. As a preschool teacher, you must observe children closely and watch for warning signs of developmental difficulties so they can be addressed properly.

Requirements

Depending on the state and work setting, you may qualify to become a preschool teacher with only a high school diploma. However, the Head Start program requires its preschool teachers to have associate's degrees in early childhood education, and by 2013, at least half of all Head Start preschool teachers will need bachelor's degrees. Additionally, if you're looking for a preschool teaching job in a public school system, you need a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a similar field and appropriate state teaching licensure. No matter if your facility is public or private, you may be required by the state or your employer to hold CDA or CCP certification. States and/or employers may require preschool teachers to have prior teaching or childcare experience. You should also expect to complete a background check.

Here are some requirements from preschool teacher openings in November 2012:

  • A childcare learning center in Illinois was advertising for a part-time preschool teacher with a high school diploma, one year of experience in a childcare facility and either CDA certification or 12 college credits in early childhood education.
  • A facility in California was seeking a full-time preschool teacher with an associate's or bachelor's degree that included at least 24 credits in early childhood education. Considerable qualifying work experience and First Aid and CPR certification were also required. Bilingual candidates were preferred.
  • A Michigan public school system wanted to hire two full-time preschool teachers with bachelor's degrees and state teaching certification in early childhood education.

Standing Out

The BLS reported that preschool teachers with college degrees, especially bachelor's degrees, may have a competitive edge over candidates without degrees. Whether required or not, obtaining the CDA and/or CCP designations can help verify proficiency in early childhood education.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

The responsibilities of kindergarten and elementary school teachers are quite broad. They oversee the social, emotional and physical development of students; they also introduce students to the basics of math, science, language and the arts. Teachers at this level use different pedagogical methods to impart concepts, such as problem solving, interpersonal cooperation and logical thinking. Working alone or in teams comprised of other teachers, these professionals may specialize in certain subject areas. They also communicate with parents in order to effectively reinforce developmental and learning achievements.

Requirements

As reported by the BLS, all kindergarten and elementary school teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree in elementary education. In an elementary education program, you can expect to take classes in psychology, sociology, literacy, math and art. Depending on your state, you may also have to major in a subject, such as English or science, and then complete a teacher education program. Regardless of how your major is formatted, some sort of student teaching experience is included in all programs that prepare students for teaching positions. This is a common requirement for state teaching certification, which is necessary for all public school teachers.

Kindergarten teachers are typically certified to teach grades K-3, while certification for elementary school teachers generally spans K-6. Some states may require you to earn a master's degree after you've been certified. Most states require teachers to pass background checks.

Here are some examples of what employers were seeking in November 2012:

  • A network of private schools in Ohio advertised for a kindergarten teacher with a bachelor's degree in elementary education or the equivalent, though an advanced degree was preferred. Candidates needed 1-2 years of teaching experience and state certification in pre-kindergarten through third grade.
  • A New Jersey private school looked for an elementary school teacher to teach fifth grade students. Candidates were to have at least three years of teaching experience and a master's degree.
  • A school in Arizona wanted to hire a full-time elementary school teacher with a bachelor's degree and at least three years of teaching experience. Candidates needed appropriate state teaching certification, and they also needed to meet the No Child Left Behind Act's Highly Qualified Teacher requirements.

Standing Out

An advanced degree can work to your advantage, especially if you eventually want to move into administration. If you're bilingual, you may have a leg up on your competition, particularly in areas that are ethnically diverse. The BLS stated that teachers who earn certification in English as a second language (ESL), as well as special education, can help set themselves apart. While many states have more than enough qualified kindergarten and elementary school teachers, those who are also qualified to teach ESL and special education are harder to find.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Human Services
      • MS in Human Services - Family and Community Services
      • MS in Human Services - Organizational and Social Services
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Human Services/Child and Family Welfare
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Adult Gerontology Practitioner Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Museum Studies
      • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Psychology - Gerontology
    Master's
      • MS - Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology (MSPSYCAD)
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Sacred Heart University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Social Work - Clinical Specialization
      • Master of Social Work - Community Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. in Human Services - Human Services Counseling
      • M.A. in Human Services - Addictions Counseling
      • M.A. in Human Services - Biblical Counseling
      • M.A. in Human Services - Christian Counseling
      • M.A. in Human Services - Conflict & Mediation Ministry
      • M.A. in Human Services - Criminal Justice & Ministry
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - HR Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Human Services (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Liberal Arts (BA)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Central Christian College of Kansas

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Liberal Studies
    Associate's
      • AA: Liberal Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • General Studies, A.A.

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MS in Human Services
  • Bachelor: Human Services/Child and Family Welfare
  • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Museum Studies
  • Master of Liberal Arts

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Psychology - Gerontology
  • MS - Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology (MSPSYCAD)

What is your highest level of education?

Sacred Heart University

  • Master of Social Work - Clinical Specialization
  • Master of Social Work - Community Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • M.A. in Human Services - Human Services Counseling
  • M.A. in Human Services - Addictions Counseling
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - HR Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

Argosy University

  • Human Services (MS)
  • Liberal Arts (BA)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Central Christian College of Kansas

  • Associate of Arts

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Liberal Studies
  • AA: Liberal Arts

What is your highest level of education completed?