Childcare workers supervise infants, toddlers, and children in a safe environment. They may also supervise teenagers if they are unable to be left unsupervised. There are also a variety of settings and age groups these workers can choose from. They could hold other titles as well such as daycare worker (or daycare teacher), caregiver, or assistant teacher.
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How to Become a Childcare Worker
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the educational requirements to become a childcare worker vary by state. Many only require a high school diploma where some require a certification in early childhood education. Requirements may also vary by setting as well. According to O*NET OnLine, most workers hold a high school diploma, though almost 30% have earned an associate’s degree. Even though there may not be an educational requirement, you must pass background checks and keep their immunizations up-to-date. You may also be required to become first aid or CPR certified if you are not already.
For states that require certification, there is a Child Development Associate (link opens a new tab) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. To earn this credential, you must finish a blend of coursework, experience, and observation over three years. The National Association for Family Child Care (link opens a new tab) also offers an accreditation as well for those seeking to run a childcare service out of their home.
Job Description of a Childcare Worker
A childcare worker could work as a nanny and supervise just a few children that belong to a single family. Alternatively, they could find themselves working in a daycare type of setting and watching over many children at once. Ultimately, it is their job to ensure that all children under their supervision are safe and that the environment is a caring, nurturing place for the child to be. These workers provide a variety of duties such as supervising children when they play or playing games with them, reading to children, and leading activities that can help them learn.
Childcare workers may also determine when children should take naps, eat meals, and ensure they practice good hygiene. If a child misbehaves, they must also have patience to educate the child to behave more appropriately. They might also work with children in groups to work on their behavior skills as well and set up opportunities for children to share, be polite, and work together.
Childcare Worker Career Video Transcript
In addition to enjoying being around children, it takes patience, stamina and good communication skills to handle a childcare worker’s responsibilities. Childcare workers care for children as a service to parents and families. Childcare workers’ tasks depend on the age of the child. They provide for basic needs such as feeding, changing diapers, and instituting a regular sleep time for babies and toddlers, and also introduce concepts like sharing and playing games.
Childcare workers use storytelling, and hands-on activities to help prepare preschool-age children for kindergarten. School-age children may need help with homework, or rides to activities. Tasks also vary with work setting: Childcare center workers generally work full-time, in teams. They teach structured lessons, prepare activity schedules, and keep records of children’s progress. Family childcare providers work in their own homes to care for children during the parents’ work day. They must follow local regulations, set policies, and market their services.
Nannies work full-time for one family, and are in charge of children throughout the day, including preparing meals and coordinating activities. Some nannies live with the family. Babysitters typically work part-time for multiple families, as needed. Education and training requirements vary from no formal education to postsecondary education in early childhood education. Employers often prefer at least a high school education. Many states require childcare centers, including those in homes, to be licensed. Some employers require childcare workers to have a nationally-recognized credential from a childcare association.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Childcare Workers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 39-9011.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.