Child Care Worker Job Description

Childcare workers take care of children when their parents are at work or otherwise unavailable. They make sure that the children’s basic needs are met by supervising, feeding, teaching, bathing, and playing with them.

In many cases, childcare workers help prepare children for kindergarten by teaching them basic reading, writing, and mathematical concepts. They also put a lot of emphasis on social development by teaching children to share and play well with others.

When working with school age children, childcare workers may help them with their homework or other school activities.

There are many types of childcare workers, and their responsibilities vary depending on the type of work that they do. Here are some brief descriptions of different types of childcare workers:

Nannies work in the homes of the parents that employ them to watch their children. Most often, they only work for a single family at a time. Their responsibilities go far beyond those of other childcare workers, as they are often responsible for driving children to school or other activities. Some nannies live with the families that employ them.

Family childcare providers are people who run daycare centers out of their home. Most market their services to the public, but many care only for the children of their friends and family. Regardless, a lot of work is involved in running your own childcare center. Buying groceries, cleaning the house each day, and managing finances are just a few of the challenges that face people who do this.

Childcare center workers are the most common type of childcare worker. These are the people who work in daycare centers and preschools.

Work Environment and Schedule

For childcare workers, the work environment varies greatly depending on where they are employed. They most commonly work in day care centers, private homes, churches, and elementary schools.

Because children aren’t always cooperative and may get into their fair share of trouble, this can be a stressful occupation that requires a great deal of patience.

This can be a physically exhausting occupation as well. Carrying children, bending down to play, and trying to keep up with the energy level of young kids can be tough.

The working schedule for childcare workers also varies depending on where they work. Day care centers (including those at churches) are usually only open from Monday through Friday, though the hours can be slightly irregular. They normally open early in the morning, and remain open until the middle of the evening. Normally, they have at least two shifts of workers to cover the entire schedule.

Nannies are normally expected to work on nights, weekends, or at any time needed. However, they often receive more time off than daycare workers in other environments.

Most childcare workers work full time, but more than one third work part time. Whatever your scheduling needs are, chances are good that you can find a job in childcare that fits your schedule.

How to Become a Childcare Worker

A minimum of a high school diploma is required to work as a childcare worker, but many employers prefer to hire candidates who have taken some college level courses in early childhood education. Many community colleges offer classes that you could take to fulfill the requirement.

In some states, you must have a national certification in order to be employed as a childcare worker. Most states recognize the Child Development Associate certification, while others require the Child Care Professional certification. Both certifications require a high school diploma, coursework, and experience in the childcare field.

Many employers also require childcare workers to be certified in CPR or first aid. There are plenty of opportunities to get certifications. Check here to find CPR classes and here for first aid classes near you.

In addition to the certification requirements, you will have to pass a background check and be up to date with your immunizations to be hired.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 1,282,300 child care workers in the United States, with 66,580 new child care worker job openings created each year.

Child Care Worker jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Child Care Worker Salaries

Overall Salaries

Child Care Worker salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most child care workers make between $17,500 – $24,000 per year, or $8.43 – $11.51 per hour.

Updated: 05/04/2017

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