Career Pathways Tool >> Working with Directors

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Program Manager

Program managers are found in a variety of early childhood settings. They may have responsibility for coordinating a single specialty area or a number of areas. This latter position is often referred to as upper-level management, while single area coordinators are often mid-level managers. Knowledge of child development, a specific area of early childhood, administrative skills, in some cases personnel, supervision and budgeting skills, and the ability to work with diverse populations of people and other organizations are important for administrators of early childhood programs.

Upper-level managers provide the organization with a vision by setting goals and priorities. They have the final responsibility of ensuring that timelines are met, records are maintained, reasonable budgets are created and managed appropriately, there is adequate staff, and that staff are given the proper guidance to keep the organization running smoothly. The administrator in this position is also the agency spokesperson responsible for representing the organization to the community. Examples of upper-level managers are: an executive director of a child care resource and referral organization, a director of a multi-site Head Start program, or the Chief of a public early childhood agency.

Mid-level managers are often called program or project coordinators. These coordinators have responsibility for managing a single specialty area such as the provider services component. Many of their duties are similar to upper-level managers except that they are responsible for a smaller area and may not determine or manage the budget. In addition, many of these coordinators have no staff members to assist them with program operation. This is particularly true in smaller, nongovernmental organizations. In that case the program coordinator must provide actual service delivery, as well as make sure that all of the administrative parts of the program are in place. Examples of mid-level managers are a provider services coordinator who works at a child care resource and referral agency, a coordinator of a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® scholarship program or a child care coordinator who works in a local department of social services.

Job possibilities at:

Child care resource and referral agencies

Professional associations

Public agencies

Nonprofit agencies

Recommended education:

Bachelor’s or graduate degree in Early Childhood Education/Child Development, Human Services or a related field

Bachelor’s or Graduate degree in Business Administration with a minimum of 18 credits in Early Childhood Education/Child Development

Typical salary range:

$27,730 – $119,980