To meet the licensing requirements for the preschool established by the state, the preschool director must meet certain educational guidelines. The rules vary by state, but in most instances, the director must have advanced training in early childhood education administration. Not only does she oversee the school’s curriculum, but she also ensures that the facilities are maintained, manages the budget and works closely with parents.
While smaller preschools might not require their director to have a four-year college degree, larger ones often do. Most schools require that the director complete coursework in child development, teaching strategies for young learners, evaluating young students, staff management and school administration. Many schools also require that their director have experience working as a preschool teacher. Some states and schools also require that the director hold a Child Development Associate certificate from the Council of Professional Recognition. This credentialing process requires the director to document time spent on the job preparing for the credential as well as successfully completing the necessary coursework.
The director is responsible for establishing policies to run the preschool, for appointing the appropriate staff members to carry out the directives and for explaining the policies to parents. Creating and maintaining a budget is a major responsibility for a preschool director. This includes setting fees for children to participate in the preschool’s programs. Making sure the preschool facilities are cleaned and maintained in accordance with state regulations is also part of the director’s daily duties. The school must be ready for health inspections at any time. The director oversees teaching staff and helps them with curriculum development. She also hires support staff, such as janitors, nurses and secretaries to ensure the smooth operation of the facility. Meeting with parents is another crucial component of the preschool director’s job. She gives periodic evaluations of each child’s progress, and deals with children having behavioral problems.
A preschool director needs good organizational skills to be able to accomplish all her assigned duties. Her planning abilities will help her as she prepares and monitors the school’s budget. She must have good oral and written communication skills to direct her staff. Those same communications skills are necessary as she works with parents and the community. The director must possess the leadership skills necessary to carry out the policies she establishes.
Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average salary of preschool directors was $42,960 in 2010. The demand for preschool directors will grow by 25 percent through 2020 – much faster than the average of all occupations. As the importance of early childhood education grows, the demand for preschools will remain high. Directors with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in early childhood education are in the highest demand.
2016 Salary Information for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
Preschool and childcare center directors earned a median annual salary of $45,790 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, preschool and childcare center directors earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,690, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $61,250, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 61,800 people were employed in the U.S. as preschool and childcare center directors.