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My ideal career is an:

Administrator/Director of Center-based Programs

Early care and education center administrators/directors have the challenging job of ensuring that center-based programs offer developmentally appropriate experiences for the children, are supportive of the needs of families, and operate with sound administrative and fiscal management. The job of a center administrator often requires both formal education and learned skills. Administrators/directors must be able to manage the program and lead the staff in offering stimulating, enriching and nurturing early learning experiences. In addition, the administrator/director must have the combined skills of a mentor, social worker, early childhood educator, nutritionist, accountant, human resources manager, secretary, and program administrator to operate a dynamic education and human service. An advanced degree in early childhood program administration can provide the variety of training necessary to master this position.

A child care administrator/director must ensure that:

1. The program maintains all of the required local, state and federal standards.

2. The teachers working with the young children are appropriately screened, educated, well-trained, and provide the children developmentally appropriate education, care and supervision.

3. Children are always properly supervised, even when the regular classroom teacher is unable to come to work.

4. The nutritional needs of the children are met, even when the cook is sick or parents have forgotten to pack a lunch.

5. The center has ample enrollment to sustain the budget.

6. Tuition or fees are established and collected.

7. Available resources to support operating expenses, increase professional development levels of staff, provide nutritious meals and subsidize tuition are continuously sought.

8. A healthy, safe and stimulating indoor and outdoor environment is provided and maintained.

9. Parents are able to become involved with the center and to communicate their needs and concerns.

10. Financial obligations of the center are met, including paying teachers and other staff a worthy wage and benefits.

11. The center is represented in the community through work with other community agencies.

If the center is very large, the administrator may have an assistant administrator/director to help meet some or all of these responsibilities. The position of administrator/director and assistant administrator/director can be found in centers operated by Head Start, places of faith, schools, mental health agencies, nonprofit corporations, or for profit providers. Some are part-time programs; others are open twelve hours a day or more. Some operate under state or federal regulations; others operate without any outside regulations. Some serve less than a dozen children while others serve hundreds in multiple sites. Some programs that operate full-time, year-round may only have part-time administrators/directors. These differences help determine what is expected of administrators/directors and what they can expect to earn.

Job possibilities at:

Child care centers

Private preschool programs

Head Start programs

Publicly funded prekindergarten programs

Recommended education:

Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education with coursework in administration

Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education/Child Development with coursework in administration

Graduate degree in Early Childhood Program Administration

Typical salary range:

$27,110 – $72,220