Author: Carrie Casey
A colleague asked me ,”Why should someone wanting to be a childcare Director in Texas choose Texas Director to help them?” It is a good question. One I had 20 or so answers to, but it all comes down to one thing: We will be there for you.
Kate and I started providing training and other services to Directors and teachers in 1998. That means it is possible that one of our new directors was enrolled at a center that we helped that first year. It blows my mind. We listened to our peers and found ways to help them get the information and services they needed. We created trainings based on what other Directors said they needed.
One thing centers needed was a way to get new Directors qualified to lead a program. There were a couple of training groups that offered classes for new Directors over the course of a week, in a hotel in one of the 5 large cities in Texas, once or twice a year. So if you lived in Lubbock, you had to take a week off from your center, drive to Dallas and stay in a hotel for that week. That was not what we wanted as Directors, so we created a 2 weekend class, which worked better for the folks we talked to.
After doing those for a few years, Kate started exploring online learning and took Texas Director to the internet. We were the first ones to offer online Director Credentialing. We have 100% online classes, and in person classes. Directors told us they needed different options, so we provided them.
Folks are telling us they need their new Directors to be qualified within the month. With our online and personalized courses, we have that handled. They are designed to be able to be completed within a week if you push hard or a month at a steady pace. Our Weekender course which combines online videos and in-person classwork is also designed to be finished in a month, but is only offered 6 times a year, currently.
Over the years other credentialing courses have come and gone. What do you do when the company who gave you your certificate goes out of business? For many folks, the answer has been to transfer your credential to Texas Director. We allow folks to test in and join our membership if their company disappeared or they aren’t happy with the service and training they received elsewhere. We will be here for you.
Some folks prefer the college route. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) issues Directors licenses to those who have related college experience or degrees. Is this the best option for you? Do you want material specific to running a child care center? There are not many college courses in that vein. You can find 20 classes that will help you run a classroom, which are great if you don’t have those skills but not many on center wide operations. If you come from the classroom, you will want information about marketing, staffing, communication, financial management, and business law.
Do you want to be a Director in less than a year? If you need 3 business classes and 3 child development classes, you are probably looking at at least a year of college before you are qualified, presuming you are also continuing to work. I will be 100% honest with you, DFPS often gives waivers for folks using this method to be come licensed, but I have a question for you:
Do you really want to be running a center without knowing the basics of child development, classroom management, being a boss, taxes, legal issues and marketing? Will that set you up for success? Will your professors be available after class for you to problem solve when things go sideways.
I like college. I have been a lot. I take all kinds of classes that looked interesting or could teach me something I needed/wanted to know more about. I have 2 degrees as does Kate. (Hers are more impressive than mine.) We hope you take college classes. I am just not sold on it being the best way to get your Director’s license.
The last way DFPS licenses new Directors is with a Child Development Associate (CDA) and 2 college courses in business management. The CDA is a wonderful, nationally recognized certificate showing proficiency as a classroom teacher. To earn it you must have learned a fair amount either through workshops or college courses. You have to have completed a 360 evaluation of your ongoing performance in the classroom and had an outside evaluator observe you working in your classroom. I’ve always strongly encourage my staff to work towards earning their CDA. If you are wanting to move from the classroom to the Director’s office, this may be a good option for you, but it has one big drawback. You have to renew your CDA periodically, which means you must be working in a classroom. As soon as your CDA lapses you are no longer a licensed Director. Is it in your center’s best interest to have the Director working as a classroom teacher while running the center?
We’ll Be There for You
We love working with and for Directors, both in getting them started and in growing with their business. No matter what happens, we are here to offer you support. We create training materials, handbooks, and customized plans based on what a Director needs.
When hurricanes hit the coast our directors called us and we worked with them to get their centers taken care of. When a center lost its lease unexpectedly we helped them find another location. When a Director was threatened with a law suit, we were there. When a Director wanted to open a second and then a third location we were there to help her. When a center was having unacceptable staff-turnover, we were there. When you need us, we will be there.