Education and training requirements vary by state. Requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree.
Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a high school diploma, but some require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. These degree programs teach students about child development, strategies to teach young children, and how to observe and document children’s progress. Employers may prefer candidates who have a degree in early childhood education or at least some postsecondary education in early childhood education.
Some states require preschool and childcare center directors to have experience in early childhood education. The amount of necessary experience varies by state.
Some states and employers require preschool and childcare center directors to have nationally recognized certification. Most states require the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Requirements to earn the CDA include a high school diploma, experience in the field, and coursework.
Some states recognize the Child Care Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Child Care Association. Requirements to earn the CCP include a high school diploma, experience in the field, and continuing education courses.
Many states require childcare facilities to be licensed. To meet licensure requirements, the facility’s staff, including the director, must meet certain requirements: they must pass a background check, have the right immunizations, and meet a minimum training requirement.
Communication skills. Preschool and childcare center directors need to inform parents and colleagues about the progress of the children. They need good writing and speaking skills to convey this information effectively.
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.
People skills. Preschool and childcare center directors must be able to develop good relationships with parents, children, and colleagues.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition