The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are 50,650 directors of preschool and child care centers employed in the United States. Many of these directors also own their own small child care centers.
Child care centers are located all across the country. A person who buys an established day care facility often finds that most of the clients will come along with it. For those who start their own centers, word-of-mouth, a variety of offerings, and a good reputation will draw clients. Franchising is a viable option in this industry. Child care franchising operations are among the fastest growing centers. Primrose School Franchising Company and Kids 'R' Kids International are two of the child care companies offering franchises.
In some cases, people work from their homes, watching only their own children and some of the children from their neighborhoods; this is usually referred to as "family child care." Quality child care is a concern of most parents, regardless of economic standing. Single working mothers are often the hardest hit with child care expenses, and federal mandates requiring states to find work for welfare recipients means even more children need daytime care outside the home. Government programs and subsidies help to provide child care services for lower income families.
At your first opportunity, you should take part-time work at a child care center to gain firsthand experience. Contact child care centers, nursery schools, Head Start programs, and other preschool facilities to learn about job opportunities. Often there are many jobs for child care workers listed in the classified sections of newspapers. The turnover rate for child care workers is high because of the low wages and long hours. Some owners of child care centers are not actively involved with the day-to-day running of the business; parents, however, prefer to leave their children at a center where the owner takes an active interest in each child's well-being. Those considering buying an established daycare center should spend a few months getting to know the parents first in order to ease the ownership transition and develop good relationships.
As a child care center becomes better known in the community, and as it gains a reputation for providing quality child care, its owner may advance by expanding the business. With enough income, owners can hire staff members to help with child care, instruction, and administrative requirements. In addition to expanding offerings at one child care center, some owners choose to open more centers.
Read child care-related books and periodicals to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Professional associations often offer job listings at their Web sites. For example, the Association for Early Learning Leaders offers job listings at its Web site, https://ym.earlylearningleaders.org/networking/opening_search.asp. Other job-search sites include:
Land an entry-level job at a child care center to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.