North Carolina

Overall Policy Lever Score


Child care licensing minimally requires that directors have two years of experience working in early childhood and one year of experience performing administrative responsibilities. The director credential requires an associate degree and a minimum of 13 semester hours in early childhood education that includes coursework in early childhood administration, plus a portfolio. Coursework for the director credential is offered at 58 community college locations. Pre-K certification is available in principal licensure which requires a master’s degree. The QRIS, North Carolina Star Rated License, is a points-based system that builds on the foundation of licensing standards. A principal license is required for administrators of school-based state pre-K programs and a director credential with a bachelor’s degree is required for directors of community-based programs with state pre-K. Three early childhood leadership degree programs and three early childhood leadership academies are available.

Interesting Facts: North Carolina

  • The median age of child care directors in North Carolina is 47 years; 44% of the directors are people of color (2012 Workforce Study, Child Care Services Association).

  • The North Carolina Early Childhood Administration Credential has been earned by 75% of child care directors (2012 Workforce Study, Child Care Services Association).

  • The Leadership Matters Institute offered by Smart Start of Forsyth County uses the PAS to support directors in program improvement.