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Become An Early Head Start Director

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Working As An Early Head Start 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

  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Early Head Start 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.

Duties

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 An Early Head Start 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).

Education

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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Early Head Start Director Career Paths

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Do you work as an Early Head Start Director?

Average Yearly Salary
$86,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$177,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Riverside Community Care
Highest Paying City
Rochester, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does an Early Head Start Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Early Head Start Director in the United States is $86,293 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $177,000.

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Top Skills for An Early Head Start Director

  1. Child Care
  2. Appropriate Curriculum
  3. Community Resources
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Facilitated ongoing communication between families and child care providers.
  • Provide developmentally appropriate curriculum to families, and develop age appropriate activities for families to do in the home.
  • Conducted and coordinated job placement workshops for fathers with community resources and agencies
  • Monitored all aspects of our program to ensure that families are receiving quality services in accordance to Head Start Performance Standards.
  • Design and deliver formal presentations for community outreach and public relations.

Early Head Start Director Demographics

Gender

Female

75.8%

Unknown

12.9%

Male

11.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

5.3%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

86.1%

French

5.6%

Burmese

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%
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Early Head Start Director Education

Schools

Ashford University

13.1%

University of Phoenix

13.1%

Walden University

9.8%

Erikson Institute

6.6%

Grand Canyon University

4.9%

Ball State University

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.1%

Temple University

4.1%

University of Kansas

4.1%

National Louis University

4.1%

Western Michigan University

4.1%

Bowling Green State University

3.3%

Rhode Island College

3.3%

Nova Southeastern University

3.3%

Lesley University

3.3%

Kaplan University

3.3%

Jackson State University

3.3%

Ohio University -

2.5%

University of North Dakota

2.5%

Western Washington University

2.5%
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Majors

Early Childhood Education

16.4%

Social Work

11.7%

Human Development

10.7%

Education

9.8%

Business

6.4%

Elementary Education

5.9%

Psychology

5.9%

Educational Leadership

4.9%

Human Services

4.7%

Special Education

4.5%

Management

3.3%

Sociology

2.9%

Counseling Psychology

1.8%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Nursing

1.6%

Mental Health Counseling

1.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.6%

School Counseling

1.4%

Public Administration

1.4%

Criminal Justice

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.7%

Masters

34.6%

Other

12.7%

Associate

7.3%

Certificate

3.8%

Doctorate

3.0%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.3%
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