Preschool Director Salary Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Preschool Director Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $49,690

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best College Majors for Preschool Directors in 2023

Preschool Director Salary Overview

A preschool director is responsible for managing the daily operations of a preschool facility, ensuring that it meets the required standards of education and care for young children. This position requires a combination of leadership skills, administrative abilities, and a passion for early childhood education.

Average Salary

The average salary of a preschool director varies based on factors such as location, years of experience, and the size of the preschool facility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors was $48,210. However, it is important to note that salaries can range from around $30,000 to over $80,000 per year.

Factors Affecting Salary

Several factors can influence the salary of a preschool director:

  • Location:

    Salaries may vary significantly depending on the geographical location. For instance, urban areas tend to have higher living costs, which may result in higher salaries.
  • Experience:

    Preschool directors with more years of experience in the field often earn higher salaries. Experience allows them to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and ability to effectively manage a preschool facility.
  • Educational Background: Holding a bachelor's or master's degree in early childhood education or a related field may also positively impact a preschool director's salary.
  • Size of the Preschool Facility: Larger preschools typically have higher budgets, allowing them to offer more competitive salaries to their directors.

Salary Comparison by State

The salary for preschool directors can vary significantly from state to state. Factors such as demand, cost of living, and state funding for early childhood education can influence these differences. According to BLS data, the top-paying states for preschool and childcare center directors as of May 2020 were:

  • Washington, D.C.: $86,270
  • Connecticut: $70,690
  • New York: $69,820
  • New Jersey: $66,440
  • Massachusetts: $65,640

It is important to note that while these states offer higher salaries, the cost of living in these areas may also be higher.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for preschool and childcare center directors is expected to grow at a rate of 4% from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing demand for early childhood education and care services.

To learn more about becoming a preschool director and the qualifications required, you can visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Preschool Director Salary Breakdown by Sector/Industry

When considering a career as a Preschool Director, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the salary breakdown by sector or industry. The sector or industry in which you choose to work can significantly impact your earning potential and career growth. Here is a breakdown of the average salaries for Preschool Directors in various sectors: Public School Preschools: - Public school preschools typically offer stable employment with competitive salaries. - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors in elementary and secondary schools is $55,220. [1] - Public school Preschool Directors may also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Private School Preschools: - Private school preschools often provide more flexibility and smaller class sizes. - The average salary for Preschool Directors in private schools varies depending on the location and reputation of the institution. - According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a Preschool Director in a private school is around $45,000. [2]

Nonprofit Organizations:

- Nonprofit organizations that operate preschool programs focus on providing educational opportunities to underserved communities. - Salary ranges for Preschool Directors in nonprofit organizations can vary significantly based on factors such as organization size, funding, and location. - On average, Preschool Directors working for nonprofit organizations earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Childcare Centers: - Childcare centers can range from small family-owned businesses to large chains. - According to the BLS, the average annual wage for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors in childcare services is $49,340. [1] - Salaries in this sector can also vary based on factors such as the center's size, location, and whether it is part of a larger organization. Head Start Programs: - Head Start programs are federally funded initiatives that provide comprehensive early childhood education to low-income families. - Preschool Directors working in Head Start programs may have lower average salaries compared to other sectors but may enjoy additional benefits and job stability. - The salary for Head Start Preschool Directors can range from $35,000 to $45,000 per year. It is important to note that salaries may also be influenced by factors such as years of experience, level of education, geographic location, and additional certifications. As you progress in your career as a Preschool Director, you may have opportunities for salary growth through promotions or by pursuing advanced degrees in early childhood education or related fields. Keep in mind that these figures are average salaries and can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and the specific requirements of each position. It is always advisable to research and gather information from multiple sources before making any decisions regarding your career path.

References:

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics: Preschool and Childcare Center Directors [2] Payscale: Preschool Director Salary

Comparison to Similar Careers

When considering a career as a Preschool Director, it's important to understand how it compares to similar roles in the education sector. Here, we will take a closer look at the salary differences between Preschool Directors and other related positions: Preschool Teacher: - Preschool teachers work directly with young children, providing them with early education and care. - On average, preschool teachers earn a median annual salary of $30,520, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [source]. - Compared to preschool teachers, Preschool Directors typically earn higher salaries due to their additional administrative responsibilities. Childcare Center Director: - Childcare center directors oversee the daily operations of childcare facilities, ensuring compliance with regulations and providing a safe environment for children. - The BLS reports that childcare center directors earn a median annual salary of $48,210 [source]. - Preschool Directors often earn similar salaries to childcare center directors, as their roles share many similarities in terms of management and administrative duties. Elementary School Principal: - Elementary school principals are responsible for managing the overall operations of an elementary school, including curriculum development, staff supervision, and student discipline. - According to the BLS, elementary school principals earn a median annual salary of $98,490 [source]. - While Preschool Directors typically earn lower salaries than elementary school principals, they play a crucial role in early childhood education and have a more focused scope of responsibility. Early Childhood Education Administrator: - Early childhood education administrators oversee educational programs for children from birth to age five, ensuring quality instruction and compliance with regulations. - The BLS does not provide specific salary data for this role, but similar positions in education administration have a median annual salary of $96,400 [source]. - Preschool Directors can expect to earn comparable salaries to early childhood education administrators, as both positions require strong leadership and knowledge in early childhood education. It's important to note that salaries can vary based on factors such as years of experience, location, and the size of the organization. Additionally, benefits and opportunities for career advancement should also be considered when evaluating the overall compensation package of a Preschool Director role.

Understanding Job Benefits and Compensation Packages

As a Preschool Director, it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and compensation packages associated with the role. In this section, we will delve into the various aspects of job perks and remuneration that you can expect as a Preschool Director.

Salary

The salary for Preschool Directors can vary based on factors such as location, experience, qualifications, and the size of the institution. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Preschool and Childcare Center Directors was $48,210 as of May 2020. However, it's important to note that salaries can range from around $33,340 to over $97,730 per year, depending on these aforementioned factors.

Bonuses and Incentives

In addition to base salaries, Preschool Directors may be eligible for bonuses and incentives. These can be performance-based or linked to achieving certain goals or targets set by the school or organization. Such rewards can provide an extra boost to your overall compensation and serve as a motivation to excel in your role.

Health Insurance

Most educational institutions offer health insurance coverage as part of their benefits package. As a Preschool Director, you can expect access to comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans. These insurance options can provide peace of mind and financial protection for both you and your family.

Retirement Plans

Planning for retirement is crucial, and many schools provide retirement plans to help you secure your future. These plans typically include options such as a 401(k) or 403(b) account, allowing you to contribute a portion of your salary towards retirement savings. Some schools may also offer matching contributions, where the institution matches a certain percentage of your contributions.

Paid Time Off

Preschool Directors often enjoy paid time off benefits, which can include vacation days, sick leave, and holidays. The exact number of days may vary depending on the institution's policies and your tenure. Having paid time off allows you to take breaks and rejuvenate, ensuring a healthy work-life balance.

Professional Development Opportunities

Continuing education and professional development are essential for Preschool Directors to stay updated with the latest teaching methods and industry trends. Many schools offer funding or reimbursement for attending conferences, workshops, or pursuing advanced degrees. These opportunities not only enhance your skills but also contribute to your personal and professional growth.

Childcare Discounts

Working in a preschool environment often comes with the benefit of discounted or even free childcare for your own children. This can significantly alleviate the financial burden associated with childcare expenses and provide convenience and peace of mind. It's important to note that the specific benefits and compensation packages may vary between different institutions. We recommend reviewing the employee handbook or speaking with the school's human resources department to get detailed information about the perks associated with the Preschool Director position. By understanding the full range of benefits and compensation packages available, you can make informed decisions when considering career opportunities as a Preschool Director.

Salary Negotiation Strategies for Preschool Directors

When it comes to negotiating your salary as a preschool director, it's important to be prepared and strategic. Here are some valuable strategies to help you secure the best compensation package for your role:

Research industry standards and local factors

Before entering into salary negotiations, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the current industry standards for preschool directors. Research the average salaries for similar positions in your area to get a benchmark figure. Take into account local factors such as cost of living, demand for qualified professionals, and the reputation and resources of the preschool you will be working for. Use websites like Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale to gather relevant data.

Highlight your qualifications and achievements

During salary negotiations, emphasize your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments that make you an asset to the preschool. Showcase any advanced degrees, certifications, or specialized training you possess. Provide concrete examples of how your leadership skills have positively impacted the schools you've worked at previously.

Demonstrate your value proposition

Articulate how your skills and expertise will contribute to the success of the preschool. Outline your ability to drive enrollment, improve student outcomes, enhance staff development, and maintain high-quality programs. Showing your value proposition can make a strong case for a higher salary.

Be confident but realistic

Approach salary negotiations with confidence in your abilities and the value you bring to the position. However, it's important to be realistic and consider the market conditions and budget constraints of the preschool. Set a salary range based on your research, with an ideal figure that takes into account your qualifications and experience.

Consider non-monetary benefits

While negotiating salary, keep in mind that compensation extends beyond just the paycheck. Think about the overall benefits package that includes health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, professional development opportunities, and tuition reimbursement. These non-monetary perks can add significant value to your overall compensation.

Timing is crucial

Choose the right time to initiate salary discussions. It's advisable to wait until you have received an official job offer before starting negotiations. This demonstrates your interest in the position while ensuring that the preschool has already expressed their commitment to hiring you. Remember, salary negotiations are a two-way conversation. Be prepared to discuss your expectations and listen to the preschool's perspective as well. Aim for a win-win outcome that satisfies both parties. By following these salary negotiation strategies, you can position yourself for a higher salary as a preschool director while showcasing your value and professionalism.

Future Preschool Director Salary Trends

As the field of early childhood education continues to grow and evolve, the salary trends for preschool directors are expected to follow suit. Here are some key factors that may influence future preschool director salaries: Economic Factors: The overall state of the economy plays a significant role in determining salary trends across various industries, including early childhood education. As the economy improves, there is generally more funding available for preschool programs, which can lead to increased salaries for directors. Education and

Experience:

As the demand for high-quality early childhood education increases, there is a growing emphasis on hiring directors with advanced degrees and extensive experience in the field. Preschool directors who hold advanced degrees, such as a Master's in Early Childhood Education or a related field, may be able to command higher salaries due to their specialized knowledge and expertise. Increased Regulation: In recent years, there has been a push for increased regulation and oversight in the early childhood education sector. As more states and localities implement stricter licensing requirements for preschools, the role of the director becomes even more crucial. With increased responsibility comes the potential for higher salaries to attract qualified professionals. Demand for Quality Programs: Parents today have higher expectations when it comes to choosing a preschool for their children. They are looking for programs that offer a stimulating and nurturing environment, qualified teachers, and strong curriculum. To meet these demands, preschools need competent and skilled directors who can lead their programs effectively. As the demand for quality preschools continues to rise, the salaries for directors may also increase. Advancements in Technology: Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, and early childhood education is no exception. Preschool directors who stay abreast of technological advancements and can integrate them into their programs may have a competitive edge in the job market. This expertise can also be reflected in higher salaries as directors who can effectively utilize technology are seen as valuable assets to their institutions. Professional Development Opportunities: Ongoing professional development is crucial for preschool directors to stay updated with the latest research and best practices in early childhood education. Directors who actively seek out and engage in professional development opportunities may enhance their skills and knowledge, making them more marketable and potentially leading to salary advancements. It is important to note that preschool director salaries can vary significantly depending on factors such as geographic location, the size of the preschool, and the specific responsibilities of the role. To get a more accurate understanding of current and future salary trends, it is recommended to refer to reliable sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics or professional organizations like the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In conclusion, the future looks promising for preschool directors in terms of salary trends. As the importance of early childhood education continues to gain recognition, preschool directors who possess advanced qualifications, adapt to technological advancements, and demonstrate strong leadership skills are likely to be rewarded with competitive compensation packages. Staying informed about industry trends and engaging in professional development can help directors position themselves for success in this evolving field. For more information about career paths in early childhood education, visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) website.

Resources

As a preschool director, it is important to stay informed about the latest trends, regulations, and resources in the field. Here are some helpful resources that can assist you in your role as a preschool director and enhance your knowledge and skills: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): NAEYC is a leading organization in early childhood education. They provide resources, professional development opportunities, and advocacy for educators and directors. Visit their website at https://www.naeyc.org/. National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA): NACCRRA offers support to child care professionals, including preschool directors. They provide resources on licensing, quality improvement initiatives, and more. Explore their website at https://www.childcareaware.org/. National Head Start Association (NHSA): NHSA focuses on promoting early childhood education and providing comprehensive services to low-income families. Their website provides valuable resources for preschool directors working with Head Start programs. Check out their website at https://www.nhsa.org/. State Licensing Agencies: Each state has its own licensing requirements and regulations for preschools. Contact your state licensing agency or visit their website to access information specific to your state. This ensures compliance and helps you stay up-to-date on any changes or updates. Early Childhood Education Journals: Subscribing to reputable journals in the field can help you stay current with research, best practices, and emerging trends. Some widely recognized journals include "Early Childhood Research Quarterly" and "Journal of Early Childhood Education." Professional Conferences: Attending conferences related to early childhood education and leadership can be a great way to network with other professionals and gain insights from experts in the field. Look for conferences organized by organizations like NAEYC or state-level early childhood education associations. Online Communities and Forums: Joining online communities and forums dedicated to early childhood education allows you to connect with other preschool directors, share ideas, and seek advice. Websites like "Early Childhood Educators of Reddit" or "Preschool Professionals Community" on Facebook can be valuable resources. Remember, keeping yourself updated with the latest research, regulations, and best practices will enhance your skills as a preschool director. Utilize these resources to stay informed, grow professionally, and provide the best possible educational experience for the children in your care.

Conclusion

After analyzing the various factors that influence preschool director salaries, it is evident that this role comes with both significant responsibilities and rewarding compensation. As the individuals responsible for overseeing all aspects of a preschool program, directors play a vital role in ensuring the success of the institution. Here are some key takeaways regarding preschool director salaries:

Salary Range:

Preschool director salaries can vary based on factors such as location, experience, qualifications, and the size of the institution. On average, preschool directors earn around $48,000 to $65,000 per year. Location Matters: The geographical location of a preschool has a considerable impact on the director's salary. Areas with a higher cost of living or where demand for quality education is high tend to offer higher salaries. Metropolitan areas and urban centers often provide more competitive compensation packages. Experience and Education: Directors with more years of experience and advanced degrees can expect higher salaries. Obtaining a master's degree in early childhood education or a related field can significantly enhance career prospects and earning potential. Institution Size: Larger preschools usually have bigger budgets and resources, allowing them to offer higher salaries to their directors. However, smaller institutions may compensate directors with additional benefits such as flexible schedules or professional development opportunities.

Additional Benefits:

In addition to base salary, preschool directors may receive additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and professional development opportunities. These perks contribute to the overall value of the compensation package.

Career Advancement:

Preschool directors who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and achieve outstanding results may have opportunities for advancement within their organization or even move on to higher positions in the education sector. For more information about preschool director salaries, you can refer to reputable sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or educational associations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Understanding the factors that influence preschool director salaries can help individuals make informed decisions about their career path and negotiate better compensation packages. Whether you're considering becoming a preschool director or already in the role, staying informed about industry trends and salary expectations is essential for professional growth and financial success.
OccupationStateHourlyAnnually
Average Preschool Director Salary in ArizonaArizona$20.75$43,160
Average Preschool Director Salary in ArkansasArkansas$19.05$39,630
Average Preschool Director Salary in CaliforniaCalifornia$29.12$60,560
Average Preschool Director Salary in ColoradoColorado$27.1$56,360
Average Preschool Director Salary in ConnecticutConnecticut$27.69$57,600
Average Preschool Director Salary in DelawareDelaware$22.19$46,150
Average Preschool Director Salary in FloridaFlorida$22.54$46,880
Average Preschool Director Salary in GeorgiaGeorgia$24.9$51,790
Average Preschool Director Salary in HawaiiHawaii$28.17$58,590
Average Preschool Director Salary in IllinoisIllinois$23.26$48,370
Average Preschool Director Salary in IndianaIndiana$22$45,770
Average Preschool Director Salary in IowaIowa$18.65$38,790
Average Preschool Director Salary in KansasKansas$22.46$46,710
Average Preschool Director Salary in KentuckyKentucky$19.39$40,330
Average Preschool Director Salary in LouisianaLouisiana$27.34$56,860
Average Preschool Director Salary in MaineMaine$22.72$47,260
Average Preschool Director Salary in MarylandMaryland$24.03$49,980
Average Preschool Director Salary in MassachusettsMassachusetts$27.62$57,460
Average Preschool Director Salary in MichiganMichigan$21.97$45,690
Average Preschool Director Salary in MinnesotaMinnesota$27.94$58,110
Average Preschool Director Salary in MississippiMississippi$19.05$39,620
Average Preschool Director Salary in MissouriMissouri$20.72$43,100
Average Preschool Director Salary in MontanaMontana$21.48$44,680
Average Preschool Director Salary in NebraskaNebraska$26.3$54,700
Average Preschool Director Salary in NevadaNevada$22.23$46,230
Average Preschool Director Salary in New HampshireNew Hampshire$25.11$52,220
Average Preschool Director Salary in New JerseyNew Jersey$35.07$72,940
Average Preschool Director Salary in New MexicoNew Mexico$25.93$53,920
Average Preschool Director Salary in New YorkNew York$31.28$65,050
Average Preschool Director Salary in North CarolinaNorth Carolina$22.1$45,980
Average Preschool Director Salary in OhioOhio$23.11$48,060
Average Preschool Director Salary in OklahomaOklahoma$22.12$46,000
Average Preschool Director Salary in OregonOregon$22.16$46,080
Average Preschool Director Salary in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania$23.25$48,360
Average Preschool Director Salary in Rhode IslandRhode Island$24.56$51,090
Average Preschool Director Salary in South CarolinaSouth Carolina$22.7$47,220
Average Preschool Director Salary in South DakotaSouth Dakota$28.54$59,360
Average Preschool Director Salary in TennesseeTennessee$24.59$51,140
Average Preschool Director Salary in TexasTexas$23.25$48,370
Average Preschool Director Salary in UtahUtah$20.87$43,400
Average Preschool Director Salary in VermontVermont$23.5$48,880
Average Preschool Director Salary in VirginiaVirginia$22.94$47,720
Average Preschool Director Salary in West VirginiaWest Virginia$17.04$35,450
Average Preschool Director Salary in WisconsinWisconsin$20.9$43,460
Average Preschool Director Salary in WyomingWyoming$22.19$46,160

Projected Job Employment for Preschool Director:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening
2021203174,60080,8008%6400