Salary For Preschool Director

If you are in the process of looking for a job as a preschool director – there are a few things you should be aware of. This article will tell you what the average salary is, where preschoo

In order to understand the salary for preschool directors, we first have to discuss what exactly preschool directors do. It is a demanding job, and there are many factors that make childcare jobs more or less challenging. Before diving in, I will start by saying that with rare exceptions, the requirements for a director of a daycare center are similar to those of a preschool.

Teaching preschool is, generally, a rewarding and fun job. The work is fulfilling, often comes with time off for breaks, and gives you the opportunity to encourage future generations. However, since salary is a primary factor for most potential careers, let’s take a look at the average preschool director salary in order to present the financial aspect of becoming a preschool director.

What is a preschool director?

A preschool director is the individual who is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of a private preschool. The director is responsible for all aspects of the business, including hiring staff, creating curriculum and policies, managing finances, and making sure that students are being educated in a safe environment.

Not all preschool directors are paid the same salary. The average preschool director salary ranges from $22,000 to $58,000 per year (or less), but this number depends on location and experience. If you’re looking to get into this career field as an entry-level employee, you’ll likely start out earning around $22,000 per year.

What does a preschool director do?

As the leader of your school’s day-to-day operations, you’ll be responsible for overseeing everything from curriculum development to budgeting and hiring new staff members. You’ll also be responsible for meeting with parents and communicating with them about their child’s progress at school. In addition to these duties, you may have some administrative responsibilities like filing paperwork or ordering supplies for classrooms or office space.

What is the average daycare director salary?

Daycare director salaries can range between $26,000 – $65,000, with the average total compensation falling between $38,000 – $40,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this places the average daycare director salary about $12,000 below the median wage for workers in the United States, which was $51,168 at the end of 2020. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that the employment of daycare directors will grow 1 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all jobs. Although this growth is limited, about 4,600 job openings for daycare directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

In several online databases, the average salaries reported for “Child Care Directors” job titles were higher than the average salaries reported for “Daycare Directors” job titles, with discrepancies ranging between $2,000 – $14,000 per year. While these roles are virtually identical in function, this data shows that centers that regard their work as “child care” rather than “daycare” may tend to skew towards higher compensation. If you’re an aspiring director, you may want to take this into consideration when evaluating jobs. 

What is the average daycare director salary based on geographic location?

The average salary of a childcare center director differs based on geographic location, ranging from $32,289 in low cost of living regions to $52,686 in high cost of living regions in the United States.

Region’s cost of livingAverage daycare director salary
High (based on data from CA and NY)$52,686
Medium (based on data from TX, CO, FL)$38,667
Low (based on data from TN, IA, KY)$32,289

Of the top 5 highest paying cities for daycare directors, 3 are located in California. The typical salaries in these 5 cities all top the national average. 

CityAverage daycare director salary
Los Angeles, CA$55,510
Seattle, WA$48,898
San Mateo, CA$43,200
Charlotte, NC$41,949
Berkeley, CA$41,690

the average daycare director salary based on experience level? 

An entry-level daycare director can expect to make an average of $32,840, while an experienced daycare director with more than 5 years of experience can expect to make closer to $39,805. Data also shows that the average compensation for daycare directors increases with years of experience—up to a point. 

Years of experienceAverage daycare director salary
Less than 1 year$32,840
1-4 years$35,409
5-9 years$39,805
10-19 years$39,604
20+ years$38,253

How many hours a week do daycare directors work? What is their pay per hour?

Most daycare directors work full time, clocking in 40 hours or more a week. Typically, childcare directors will work during their center’s open hours, which may include early mornings and late evenings if their centers offer before- and after-school care. 

Based on the average salary range of $38,000 – $40,000, the average hourly pay for daycare directors comes out to between $19.00 – $19.23 per hour. 

How do I increase my salary as a daycare director? 

The wide range of daycare director salaries indicates that there’s room for increased pay based on years of experience, location, qualifications, and other factors. 

Here are a few ways you can invest in your own professional development, advance your career, and potentially make a higher salary as a daycare director. 

    1. 1. Advance your education.

    The typical level of education that childcare directors need will vary from state to state, and also depend on whether a childcare center is privately or publicly funded. While some programs may require their directors to hold a bachelor’s degree, others may only require a high school diploma.
  2. study by Zippia found that 45% of daycare directors hold a bachelor’s degree, 24% hold a master’s degree, and 14% hold an associate degree. Of the daycare directors who pursued higher education, 14% majored in early childhood education, 11% in business, and 10% in nursing.
  4. If you’re just starting in your career or want to make a bigger investment in your education, consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher and majoring in early childhood education, business, or other related fields. Having a degree will give you a competitive edge and allow you to negotiate for a higher base salary. To learn more about degree programs that could be a great fit for you, check out NAEYC’s Early Childhood Higher Education Director.
  6. Many schools and training programs also offer continuing education courses that could benefit both new and experienced directors. These courses cover a breadth of ECE subjects, from operations and financial management to following licensing regulations and daycare manager responsibilities. One popular program that many directors have benefitted from is the Child Care Education Institute (CCEI), which offers trainings for both teachers and directors. 
  1. 2. Attain NAEYC accreditation at your daycare center. 

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Preschool+assistant+director Jobs

We’ve identified 10 cities where the typical salary for a Preschool+assistant+director job is above the national average. Topping the list is San Francisco, CA, with Fremont, CA and San Jose, CA close behind in the second and third positions. San Jose, CA beats the national average by $6,461 (17.5%), and San Francisco, CA furthers that trend with another $9,340 (25.3%) above the $36,980 average.

With these 10 cities having average salaries higher than the national average, the opportunities for economic advancement by changing locations as a Preschool+assistant+director appears to be exceedingly fruitful.

Finally, another factor to consider is the average salary for these top ten cities varies very little at 10% between San Francisco, CA and Barnstable Town, MA, reinforcing the limited potential for much wage advancement. The possibility of a lower cost of living may be the best factor to use when considering location and salary for a Preschool+assistant+director role.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Francisco, CA$46,321$3,860$891$22.27
Fremont, CA$45,106$3,759$867$21.69
San Jose, CA$43,442$3,620$835$20.89
Oakland, CA$43,001$3,583$827$20.67
Jackson, WY$42,985$3,582$827$20.67
Hayward, CA$42,181$3,515$811$20.28
Seattle, WA$41,970$3,498$807$20.18
Vallejo, CA$41,962$3,497$807$20.17
Sunnyvale, CA$41,863$3,489$805$20.13
Barnstable Town, MA$41,618$3,468$800$20.01

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