How to Open a Day Care Center in Texas

by Michelle Diane

Small children have long been your joy and your passion; the burning desire to make their lives better, more exciting and wondrous led you to obtain your bachelor's degree. You worked in the university's child care center all through school, because of the natural fit with your intent to teach elementary school. Now, graduation is a scant few weeks away. Your plan to begin your career in your home state of Texas is unchanged, but teaching in the public schools is unattractive and you wonder how to open your own day care center.

Contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to schedule a date to attend a mandatory pre-application training. Marissa Gonzales of DFPS recommends attending the Day Care Center Application class before you begin your search for a location. The agency will help overcome potential zoning and code obstacles and ensure you choose a location DFPS inspectors can approve.

Decide whether to lease or buy a building to house your day care center and find a reputable real estate agent. Look for someone with a strong reputation and history in commercial real estate. The Texas Real Estate Commission is an excellent place to begin your search.

Count the cost. Determine that you have the funds necessary to open and operate your day care center while you build your reputation and clientele. The Small Business Administration provides the resources you need to develop a solid business plan.

Secure your location and ensure it meets all code and zoning standards. Furnish and stock your day care center.

Complete the paperwork in the package you received at your DFPS pre-application training. You are required to provide policy and procedures documentation, a building evacuation plan and proof of liability insurance. There are permit application and background check fees that to be paid when you submit your day care center application.

Schedule an opening inspection with DFPS. Pay exacting attention to state standards; make sure your center meets them all. Take particular care to ensure you have an abundance of age-appropriate activities for the children. If there are no discrepancies, you receive a six-month license and the go-ahead to open your day care center in Texas.


  • Texas requires day care center director/administrator applicants to pass a credentials test. Applicants may be required to attend 40 hours of credentialing courses.
  • Consider gaining accreditation through the National Association for the Education of the Young Child.


  • Don't cut corners. Doing so will only delay getting your licence and reduce the quality of your center.

About the Author

Based in Arlington, Texas, Michelle Diane has been writing business articles for six years. Her work has appeared in newspapers nationwide and on diverse digital outlets including Bounty, Breathe Again Magazine and LexisNexis. She is a University of Texas graduate and a presidential member of the National Society of Leadership.

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