A college degree and experience in early childhood education is typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. Some states or employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA).
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education. These degree programs teach students about child development, provide strategies for teaching young children, and discuss how to observe and document children's progress. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree, or at least some postsecondary coursework, in early childhood education.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have experience in early childhood education. The amount of experience required varies by state.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
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.
Some states and employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have a nationally recognized credential. Most often, states require the CDA credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA credential requires coursework, experience in the field, and being observed while working with children. The credential is valid for 3 years and requires renewal.
Some states recognize the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Some of the requirements for obtaining the CCP are that the candidate must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have experience in the field, take courses in early childhood education, and pass an exam. The CCP accreditation requires renewal every 2 years through the CCP maintenance process.
Business skills. Preschool and childcare center directors manage childcare centers and need to be able to operate the business effectively.
Communication skills. Preschool and childcare center directors need to inform parents and staff about the progress of the children. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information successfully.
Interpersonal skills. Preschool and childcare center directors must be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and staff.
Leadership skills. Preschool and childcare center directors supervise staff, so they need good leadership skills to inspire staff to work diligently. They also must enforce rules and regulations.
Organizational skills. Directors need to maintain clear records about children and staff. In addition, they must be able to multitask when several people or situations require their attention.