Overall Policy Lever Score


Child care licensing minimally requires directors to complete 30 clock hours of orientation training, have 4 years of experience in a group child care setting, and complete 24 clock hours of training annually. The director credential is organized in four tiers. To complete the director credential at the lowest tier (provisional), applicants must have 12 semester hours of coursework in early childhood education, 6 semester hours of coursework in leadership and management, and two years of experience as an administrator. Elementary principal licensure requires a master’s degree and pre-K certification is available. At the highest tier of the statewide QRIS, directors meet the requirements with a CDA and 7 years of experience in child care. School-based state pre-K programs require principal licensure; however community-based programs do not have administrator requirements. There is one early childhood leadership degree program and no early childhood leadership academies in the state.

Interesting Facts: Tennessee

  • Milligan College offers a bachelor’s degree in child and youth development with a concentration in early childhood administration.

  • There are more childhood center directors (820) than family child care providers (651) in Tennessee.

  • The average summary of a child care director in the state of Tennessee is $42,720.