Child Care Workers
Child care workers take care of and teach children that have not yet enrolled in kindergarten. They also oversee older children before and after school. Child care workers may have a significant role in the development of the children they oversee. Under a director's supervision child care aides attend to the safety, health and nutrition of infants and children. They also look for signs of developmental or emotional problems with the children they oversee.
Some of the sample job titles are instructional aide, child care aide, nursery aide, nannies, child caregiver, child care provider, childcare specialist, preschool aide and daycare aide.
Child care workers help to develop a child's curiosity, speech, social abilities, self-esteem and physical skills with play activities, experimentation and by answering questions. They help children develop via small groups and one-on-one assistance. Childcare specialists also have an important role in preparing children for school. Many child care aides suggest techniques to parents for stimulating their child's learning at home.
The three major job groups for the occupation are family child care providers, who take care of children in the providers' homes; private household workers who oversee children in the children's homes and child care workers that are employed at child day care centers such as Early Head Start, Head Start, and full-day and part-day preschool.
- Support children's social and emotional development
- Make sure children are properly behaving
- Ensure children are safe
- Arrange for play activities
- Sanitize play equipment and toys
- Change diapers of infants and toddlers
- Help prepare and serve meals
- Ensure that school age children complete their homework
- Ensure that supplies are ready for activities
- Discipline children if necessary
Many workers at day care centers find taking care of children and watching them develop and learn new skills to be very rewarding. The job, at times, can be emotionally and physically tiring. Day care center workers experience a higher than average number of work-related illnesses or injuries.
A child care worker needs to be skilled at dealing with disruptive children. They should also be enthusiastic while on the job. Child care specialists also need to be effective at communicating with children. Child care workers need to be patient, understanding and mature. Physical stamina is also important for the occupation.
Childcare workers may work in their own homes, the children's homes or at various types of day care centers. Child day care centers are typically open all year long and are open before and after the typical work hours of parents. Some day care centers employ part-time and full-time childcare workers. Public and private preschool programs typically are open during the basic school year and employ full-time and part-time employees.
Between 2008 and 2018 employment of child care workers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to increase by 11 percent which is about as fast as average for all occupations. High replacement needs may provide good job opportunities for child care workers.
In 2008, approximately 33 percent of child care workers were self-employed and the majority of them were family child care providers. About 19 percent were employed by child day care services.
The wages depend on the type of day care setting and the educational background of the child care worker. In 2008, the average hourly wage for child care workers was $9.12. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $13.98 per hour.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Every state has its own licensing requirements that regulates caregiver training. The requirements range from less than a high school diploma to requiring a national Child Development Associate credential, to requiring community college classes or a college degree in early childhood education or child development. The states usually have higher requirements for people working at child care centers than for family child care providers. Those that take care of just a few children in private settings are often not regulated by the states.
Usually childcare workers that have less than a high school diploma can acquire some type of child care work. Some employers seek applicants that completed secondary or postsecondary child development and early childhood education classes.
Some employers look for candidates that have acquired a nationally recognized Child Development Associate credential or the Child Care Professional designation. These credentials require child care experience and coursework such as college classes and employer provided seminars. An increasing number of employers are seeking candidates that have earned an associate degree in early childhood education.
In many states, child care centers, including those operated in private homes that take care of more than just a few children are required to be licensed. In order to acquire a license, childcare centers may require their child care workers to receive immunizations, meet minimum training requirements and pass a background check.
- National Child Care Information Center
- National Childcare Association
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
The major employers are day care centers, elementary schools, preschools, non-profit organizations, families and company provided daycare centers.
Schools for Child Care Workers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.