A childcare worker supervises infants, toddlers, and children in a safe environment. They may also manage teenagers who are unable to be left unsupervised or with special needs. There are also a variety of child care settings and age groups these workers can choose to work in. They could hold other titles, such as daycare workers, daycare teachers, caregivers, or assistant teachers.
Watch a video to learn what a childcare worker does:
How to Become a Childcare Worker
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the educational requirements to become a childcare worker vary drastically; however, many employers prefer individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent. Training specifications can also vary by setting or from state to state, so it is best to check with your local agencies. According to O*NET OnLine, almost 30% have earned an associate’s degree.
Even though educational requirements vary, most everyone requires you to pass background checks and have immunizations up-to-date. You may also be required to become first aid or CPR certified if you are not already. Your CPR/First Aid certificate can be earned through the American Heart Association or Red Cross. Some employers also even offer them in person annually once employed with them.
For states that require certification, there is a Child Development Associate (or CDA) 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.
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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 or childcare setting, watching over many children. Ultimately, it is their job to ensure that all children under their supervision are safe and provide an environment that is a caring, nurturing place for the child to be. These workers have a variety of duties, such as supervising children when they play, facilitate games, read stories, and lead learning activities.
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 the patience to educate the child to behave more appropriately. Childcare workers may also have school-age children before and after school or even the summer or holidays, not all parents have employment that allows them to be home. These childcare workers provide supervision, may help homework, or also take or pick up these children from afterschool activities or school programs.
At times childcare workers participate in summer or specialized programs as well. These programs can vary from field trips, academic/interest-based programs, or even consist of students with special needs. Many communities offer these types of plans to residents within their community.
Childcare workers can work in their own homes, in the childs’ home, childcare centers, or even schools. Schedules can vary, but more than often are part-time, but usually year-round. Hours can fluctuate pending on the parent’s needs; thus can be anytime throughout the day and include weekends and may even require overnights occasionally. Many state mandate limitations on the number of children one can care for, so you may want to check with your state’s regulations. Due to many households having both parents work, they will be plenty of opportunities for childcare works. According to the Bureau Labor Statistics, most prospects will be for childcare companies or private homes.
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.