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How Much Do Daycare Directors Get Paid?

by Aurelio Locsin, studioD

Daycare directors oversee facilities that take care of children, primarily in preschool or earlier, when parents are busy or working. When working for a national franchise, they must make sure their branches meet the standards set by headquarters. For independent centers, directors follow the owner’s wishes, or decide on standards if they themselves are the owners. Compensation varies by employer and location.


Daycare directors earn a mean $51,290 per year, with an annual range from below $27,720 to above $85,550. Their pay is lower than the average for all management occupations, which is $107,410 yearly. But it is higher than the $45,230 mean salary for all occupations in the country. They maintain ultimate responsibility for the safety and education of children. To develop programs, policies and standards, they meet with parents and staff. They also hire and train daycare staff, and help resolve customer service and educational issues.


The biggest employers of daycare directors are child daycare services, where 32,610 professionals average $45,100 per year. The highest wages are in colleges, universities and professional schools, at a mean $98,400 yearly. Employers have varying requirements for directors, some of which are mandated by the state. A high school diploma is the minimum qualification, although some positions demand an associates or bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education. Experience is a common factor. Some states and employers mandate certification, such as the Child Development Associate designation offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. This credential requires a high school diploma, experience and post-secondary classes.


Employment for directors follows the population, with 7,320 jobs located in the most populous state of California. Pay here averages $55,910. Other high-employment states are New York, Texas, Illinois and Ohio. The best-paying employers are in New York State, averaging $67,360 annually. In cities, the most jobs are in the highest-population metro area of New York City, with 2,900 positions. The mean compensation is a yearly $72,130. Other areas with high employment are Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. The best paying employers are in Tampa, Florida, where salaries run a mean $93,830 per year.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for daycare directors are expected to increase by 25 percent from 2010 to 2020. This compares to the 14 percent growth projected for all jobs in all industries. Population growth is behind the demand. In addition, more parents are working and have less time to devote to their children. The best opportunities will go to those with bachelor’s degrees. Helpful skills for the profession include leadership for providing goals and strategies, communication skills for informing staff and parents of children’s progress, and people skills for interacting with children, workers and families.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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