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Become A Center Director

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Working As A Center Director

  • Performing Administrative Activities
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $70,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Center Director Do

Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead staffs, oversee daily activities, design curriculums, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their program.


Preschool and childcare center directors typically do the following:

  • Supervise preschool teachers and childcare workers
  • Hire and train new staff members
  • Provide training and professional development opportunities for staff
  • Establish policies and communicate them to staff and parents
  • Develop educational programs and standards
  • Ensure instructional excellence
  • Assist staff in resolving conflicts between children
  • Aid staff in communicating with parents
  • Meet with parents and staff to discuss students’ progress
  • Prepare budgets and allocate  program funds
  • Ensure facilities are maintained and cleaned according to state regulations

Some preschools and childcare centers are independently owned and operated. In these facilities, directors must follow the instructions and guidelines of the owner. Sometimes, directors own the facilities, so they decide how to operate them.

Other preschools and childcare centers are part of a national chain or franchise. The director of a chain or franchise also must ensure that the facility meets its parent organization’s standards and regulations.

In addition, some preschools and childcare centers, such as Head Start programs, receive state and federal funding. Directors of these schools and centers must ensure that their programs, staff, and facilities meet state and federal guidelines. For example, they must ensure that the staff meets the educational requirements set by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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How To Become A Center Director

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.

Important Qualities

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.

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81,772 Center Director jobs

Duke University
Durham, NC
ASSOC DIR, CAREER SERVICES-Career Management Center

$94,580 Estimated

U.S. Marine Corps
Twentynine Palms, CA

$43,800 Estimated

Commander, Navy Installations
Bethesda, MD
Child Development Center Director

$44,480 Estimated

Jewish Community Center
Saint Paul, MN
Early Childhood Center Director

$70,000 Estimated

JCC Association
Saint Paul, MN
Early Childhood Center Director

$70,000 Estimated

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Boulder, CO
Director, Space Weather Prediction Center

$70,000 Estimated

The Learning Experience
Coral Springs, FL
Center Director

$70,000 Estimated

Code Ninjas
Peoria, IL
Center Director

$47,010 Estimated

Save The Children
Alexandria, LA
Center Director

$39,570 Estimated

Acelero Learning
Philadelphia, PA
Center Director

$54,270 Estimated

Acelero Learning
Milwaukee, WI
Center Director

$70,000 Estimated

Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL
Dir Center for Speciality Prog

$49,760 Estimated

Octapharma Plasma
Bakersfield, CA
Donor Center Director (New Center)

$51,560 Estimated

Mathnasium of Mooresville
Mooresville, NC
Center Director, Mathnasium Learning Center

$70,000 Estimated

Octapharma Plasma
North Riverside, IL
Donor Center Director (New Center)

$49,760 Estimated

Seasons Hospice Palliative Care
Newark, DE
Team Director - Inpatient Center

$70,000 Estimated

Johns Hopkins Medicine
Washington, DC
Director, Comprehensive Women's Center

$55,630 Estimated

Easter Seals
Baltimore, MD
Center Director - DCMD

$49,990 Estimated

Grey Staffing
Washington, DC
Imaging Center Director

$55,630 Estimated

University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN
Director, Student Success Center

$70,000 Estimated

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Real Center Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director, Simons Center for Geometry & Physics State University of New York at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY Jan 09, 2016 $330,000 -
Professor/Director of The Center for Cavt The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Oct 01, 2012 $300,000
Institute/Center Director-Management Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Dec 31, 2016 $219,231
Director, Center for Biometric Analysis The Jackson Laboratory Bar Harbor, ME Mar 10, 2016 $175,579
Delivery Center Director Capgemini America, Inc. Southfield, MI Mar 26, 2010 $171,587
Director, Center of Excellence for Abuse Liability Grunenthal USA, Inc. Bedminster, NJ Sep 12, 2010 $170,000
Director of Movement Disorder Center & Staff Neuro Lahey Clinic, Inc. Boston, MA Apr 02, 2010 $167,860
Director of Movement Disorder Center & Staff Neuro Lahey Clinic, Inc. Boston, MA Apr 14, 2010 $167,860
Director, Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean S The Fletcher School at Tufts University Medford, MA Oct 01, 2014 $155,000
Director, Center for History of Medicine and Public The New York Academy of Medicine New York, NY Apr 16, 2014 $150,075
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Top Skills for A Center Director


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Top Center Director Skills

  1. Child Care
  2. Procedures
  3. Appropriate Curriculum
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked with the Department of Children Services in providing child care for needy children.
  • Modified, adapted, expanded or otherwise changed plans/procedures for programs activities as developments required.
  • Work with qualified center staff to develop an appropriate curriculum and ensured that it complied with state and federal requirements.
  • Managed wellness facility at seasonal workshop and retreat center.
  • Carried out all daily operational management, financial management, community marketing,.

Top Center Director Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Center Director

  1. Kindercare Learning Center
  2. Sylvan Learning Center
  3. Concentra
  4. Knowledge Universe
  5. Childtime Learning Center
  6. The Learning Experience
  7. Els
  8. Kinder Care Learning Center
  9. Child Care
  10. YMCA
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