Preschool Director Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a preschool director career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a preschool director is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Preschool Director Career

As a preschool director, you will be responsible for ensuring that a preschool program is running as it should. Read on for more pros and cons to help you decide if this career is right for you.

Pros of a Preschool Director Career
Faster-than-average job growth expected for preschool and childcare center directors (17% increase expected from 2012-2022)*
Could seek employment with only a high school diploma*
Multiple applicable degree options available*
Could earn professional credentials in the field**
Might be eligible for childcare discounts***

Cons of a Preschool Director Career
Employers might require a college degree***
Might need applicable experience****
Job prospects could be better for those who earn a college degree*
Employers could require professional certification****

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, ***CareerBuilder.com, ****Monster.com.

Job Description and Salary Info

Preschool directors might work in a childcare center or in a school setting. Preschool directors typically spend their time supervising other employees and making sure that all state regulations are being satisfied. They could also be responsible for the preschool program's budget. In addition to interacting with parents, preschool directors often communicate with preschool teachers to ensure that educational standards are being met. PayScale.com reported in July 2015 that most people employed as preschool directors earned about $23,000-$54,000. The median income was $37,240 per year.

Career Skills and Requirements

Education and Certification Requirements

Many employers require experience in the early childhood field in addition to a college degree. If you're interested in pursuing an associate degree program, you might consider an associate degree in child development. If you'd like to earn a bachelor's degree, you could complete a program in early childhood development or early childhood education.

In addition, employers might require that you have certification as a child development associate (CDA), which demonstrates your competency in a preschool education setting. You could earn such certification through the Council for Professional Recognition. Minimum requirements to become a CDA include that you have a high school diploma.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers are looking for a preschool director who demonstrates leadership, customer service and communication skills. In addition, you should have the stamina and energy required to work with young children. Below are some real job postings for a preschool director in May 2012:

  • A private preschool center in Texas is looking for an experienced preschool director who has, at minimum, an associate degree and at least two years of experience.
  • A childcare center in South Dakota is looking for a preschool director to also take on the role of a daycare director. The candidate should have at least three years of experience or a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or an applicable field.
  • A private academy in Maryland advertised for a preschool director with a bachelor's degree to oversee four preschool programs.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

Although not always required, making sure your associate or bachelor's degree focuses on early childhood education, child development or a related field might improve you job prospects. Pursuing a college degree in a field applicable to the early childhood field could help you learn how to teach children, manage childcare centers and gain knowledge of a young child's physical, emotional and cognitive development.

In addition to becoming certified as a CDA, you might consider earning the National Administrator Credential (NAC) offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA). Through the program, you can learn how to manage a childcare center.

Other Careers to Consider

Childcare Worker

If you're still interested in working with young children but becoming a preschool director isn't for you, you might consider a career as a childcare worker. You could qualify for employment in this field with only a high school diploma. As a childcare worker, you provide daily care for children and might also plan and implement basic educational lessons. You might also choose to be self-employed and provide care inside your home.

The BLS predicted a 20% job growth from 2010-2020; a growth that is considered faster than the average. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for childcare workers in May 2011 was close to $19,000.

Preschool Teacher

As a preschool teacher, you could still work in the preschool education field but you won't have the responsibilities of being a preschool director, such as supervising staff or being responsible for the budget. Instead, you provide education for children in a school or childcare setting in preparation for kindergarten. Although you might be able to seek an entry-level career in the field with only a high school diploma, job prospects are typically better for those with an associate degree. Furthermore, state requirements could include that you have some postsecondary education to become a preschool teacher.

According to the BLS, the median wage for preschool teachers was approximately $27,000 in May 2011. Just like the job growth for a preschool director, the job growth expected for preschool teachers from 2010-2020 is faster than average at 25%, as reported by the BLS.

Elementary School Teacher

Another alternative for those interested in working with young children is becoming an elementary school teacher. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was about $53,000, as reported in May 2011. The BLS also predicts a 17% job growth for kindergarten and elementary school teachers from 2010-2020, which is about average. Becoming an elementary school teacher requires a bachelor's degree. As an elementary school teacher, you educate young students while adhering to the state's education standards.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Concordia University Portland

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education
      • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
      • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: Methods & Curriculum
      • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: ESOL (K-Adult)
      • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: Adolescent Literacy
  • Philadelphia, PA

    Temple University

  • Online Programs Available
    4. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • New York, NY

    New York University

  • Athens, GA

    University of Georgia

  • Campus Locations:
    7. CDI College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Certificate in Early Childhood Education
      • Diploma in Early Childhood Education JEE.13 (Techniques D'ducation L'enfance - JEE.13)

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration

Which subject are you interested in?

Concordia University Portland

  • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership
  • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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CDI College

  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education JEE.13 (Techniques D'ducation L'enfance - JEE.13)

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