COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open and continue to serve our students. Learn More about our health & safety plans.
If you enjoy the company of children and find fulfillment from working with them as they learn, advance, and grow, a position as a childcare worker may be ideal for your skills, talents, and personality. Childcare workers need a patient manner, high levels of organization and the ability to multitask. They should be detail-oriented as well as playful and creative. If you can organize a well-balanced meal as well as organize ball games and you're all smiles when you're surrounded by babies, toddlers and other young charges, consider looking for a career in childcare.
There are many different settings where you can find employment in this area. While you'll have plenty of daily challenges, this is also a highly rewarding career where you'll know that you're making an important difference.
Childcare workers tend to children in a variety of different settings. Their primary responsibilities are providing for their charges' basic needs, such as food, safety, and hygiene. However, the best childcare workers go above and beyond, offering educational games and enriching activities for those in their care.
The number of children that the caretaker takes care of and their ages will play a big role in defining the day-to-day activities required for their care. Smaller children require more routine care, such as feeding, changing and soothing. With older children, a childcare worker may assist with homework, organize outdoor games, or provide transportation to lessons and extracurricular.
This job can take many different forms, depending on the employer's needs. However, all childcare workers are expected to protect and nurture those in their care to the best of their ability.
The career outlook for childcare workers is average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities will increase about 7 percent over the 2016 to 2026 decade. This is the same as the average growth expected for all occupations over the same period. The demand for childcare is expected to remain steady in coming years, providing a stable range of employment opportunities for these professionals.
Childcare workers may work in a variety of different settings. Many are employed in childcare centers where they work with a structured curriculum and set of organizational rules and routines. Others are employed by schools, churches, and similar organizations that offer childcare services.
For the majority of the year, these types of childcare workers will interact only with younger children, as older children are typically in school. However, childcare workers may have older charges in a before or after school program. Over the summer, job opportunities are often available at camps, local recreation centers, and other facilities that provide care and supervision for older children while they're out of school for the summer.
Childcare workers may also be employed by individual families. These professionals typically work in the family's home, providing all-day care to younger children as well as before and after school assistance to older children. In this environment, the childcare worker may also assist with household duties such as laundry and dishes.
Some childcare workers elect to set up their own businesses. This gives them more freedom to choose their clients, set their own policies, and implement the schedules and routines with which they're most comfortable. However, a childcare provider who works out of his or her home must also take on the clerical and business management tasks that come with this job. They must maintain records, draft contracts, manage payments, obtain any necessary licensing, and file taxes associated with their business endeavors.
The educational requirements for childcare workers vary by employer as well as by state. In some places, this is an entry-level position with no minimal training required. However, you can greatly increase your employability in this field by pursuing a relevant diploma. The Early Childhood Care and Development diploma at Bryant & Stratton College takes one year to complete. This program covers child devlopmment, implementing educational care taking curricula, health, safety, nutrition, family and community interactions for example.
Certification in CPR and first aid is required for most positions in childcare. It's best to maintain active certification in these areas any time you're working with children. Additional credentials you might pursue include the Child Development Associate (CDA) from the Council for Professional Recognition to improve opportunities for employment.
An Early Childhood and Development diploma will prepare you for a variety of jobs. Some positions that you might want to look for if you're seeking employment in this area include:
If you're interested in a career outside of childcare, you could also pursue work as a community coordinator, home-based assistant, social services assistant, or social services director.
The Council for Professional Recognition has specific requirements for the Child Development Associate credentialing process in addition to the formal education components included in these programs. A career in the field of Early Childhood Education may involve meeting certain licensing, training and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. Bryant & Stratton College recommends all applicants check with the licensing agency in their state for specific requirements *. The Bryant & Stratton College Early Childhood Education programs involve an early childhood practice experience which may be completed within a live childcare environment. All applicants to either Early Childhood program should be aware that employers may consider numerous factors when determining eligibility or suitability for employment including, but not limited to, criminal background screening, U.S. citizenship, state residency, physical and psychological health, age and military discharge information. A criminal conviction and/or record of certain other conduct may prevent or hinder a student’s completion of their required practice experience or a graduate’s employment in the field of Early Childhood Education. The enrolling applicant has been apprised of these matters and enrolls in this program with full understanding of the same.
* Virginia residents should refer to licensure regulations for school personnel at the following government site: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/admincode/title8/agency20/chapter22/ . Teacher candidates will find additional information at the Virginia Department of Education at the following address: Virginia Department of Education, James Monroe Building, 101 N. 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23219. For more information please visit: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/
Please note that all statistical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects averages only. This information is not intended as a guarantee of employment or job opportunities. However, it can give a well-educated idea of what the landscape looks like for a profession in childcare.
For more insights into the early childhood care and development field, visit the degree insights section of our blog. Here, you'll find a wealth of information to help guide you in your search for the perfect career.