If you enjoy working with children and being a strong, positive influence, consider a career in education or childcare.
However, as any established child care provider will attest, being a good parent, sibling, or ant/uncle doesn't mean you're suited to being a child care provider. Your temperament, organization, the physical environment you offer, ability to work well with all types of kids, adaptability, and patience are a few things you need to consider. Do you have experience working with youngsters for an extended time? You might try that first to double-check your interest.
Childcare workers nurture and care for children in nursery schools, preschools, private households and some before- and after-school programs. Because they spend so much time with them, childcare workers play an important part in a child's developmental skills. In some cases, children are specifically enrolled in a program in order to increase socialization or skills. In others, nannies or daycares are used in order to help working parents.
Child care workers must anticipate and prevent problems, deal with disruptive children, provide fair but firm discipline, and be enthusiastic and constantly alert. They must communicate effectively with the children and their parents, as well as with other teachers and child care workers. Workers should be mature, patient, understanding, and articulate and have energy and physical stamina. Skills in music, art, drama, and storytelling also are important. Self-employed child care workers must have business sense and management abilities.
For those who enjoy a challenge and want to really feel they make a difference in the world and the future, education and childcare fields can be some of the most rewarding available.
Useful experience includes:
The training for childcare jobs can vary widely, as each state has its own licensing requirements, ranging from a high school diploma all the way up to a college degree in child development or early-childhood education.
In most cases, requirements are minimal. Those who work with children should be effective communicators with a high degree of patience and enthusiasm.
Nannies gain many skills on the job, but may also attend short courses and workshops to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
CPR and First Aid Certifications are commonly a pre-requisite to working as a nanny and expected by families hiring nannies and babysitters.
Many upper class families require their nannies to come from a governess school such as the English Nanny and Governess School in Chagrin Falls, OH. Graduates of these schools are recognized leaders in the profession.
Another source of nanny training is the International Nanny Association (INA) who offers the INA Nanny Basic Skills Exam and the INA Nanny Credential Exam. The INA Nanny Credential Exam is a 90 question multiple choice timed exam that is available to be taken online. The exam is designed to test a nanny's practical knowledge of child care. A proctor must be secured by the exam candidate to administer the exam prior to testing. The exam addresses:
Because the exam is challenging, it is strongly recommended that anyone sitting for the exam has a minimum of 2000 hours of (the equivalent of 1 year, full-time) professional in-home child care experience. Those sitting for the exam must have a current certification in Infant/Child CPR and First Aid and photo identification. There is a charge for taking the exam, with a discount offered to INA members.
There are many types of child care--prospective child care providers need to determine what type they wish to focus on. Day nurseries primarily focus on infants through preschoolers; pre-schools are typically toddlers and children often must be potty-trained (ages 2-5); and out of school care is tailored to providing child care of school-aged kids on a before-school or after-school basis or during school breaks, such as staff development or holidays. Faith-based care options also abound.
The training and qualifications required of child care workers vary widely. Each State has its own licensing requirements that regulate caregiver training; these range from a high school diploma to community college courses to a college degree in child development or early childhood education. State requirements are generally higher for workers at child care centers than for family child care providers; child care workers in private settings who care for only a few children often are not regulated by States at all. Child care workers generally can obtain some form of employment with a high school diploma and little or no experience, but certain private firms and publicly funded programs have more demanding training and education requirements. Some employers prefer to hire child care workers who have earned a nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or the Certified Childcare Professional designation, have taken secondary or postsecondary courses in child development and early childhood education, or have work experience in a child care setting. Other employers require their own specialized training. An increasing number of employers require an associate degree in early childhood education.
$12,900 - $107,414
Education Level (minimum):
Growth Outlook (2002 - 2012):
21 - 35%
Seventeen percent of all child care workers are found in child day care services, and about 21 percent work for private households. The remainder worked primarily in local government educational services; nursing and residential care facilities; religious organizations; amusement and recreation industries; private educational services; civic and social organizations; individual and family services; and local government, excluding education and hospitals. Some child care programs are for-profit centers; some of these are affiliated with a local or national chain. Religious institutions, community agencies, school systems, and State and local governments operate nonprofit programs.
High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for child care workers. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Many child care workers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation temporarily to fulfill family responsibilities, to study, or for other reasons.
Employment of child care workers is projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The number of women in the labor force of childbearing age (widely considered to be ages 15 to 44) and the number of children under 5 years of age are both expected to rise over the next 10 years. Also, the proportion of children being cared for exclusively by parents or other relatives is likely to continue to decline, spurring demand for additional child care workers. Concern about the behavior of school-aged children during nonschool hours also should increase demand for before- and afterschool programs and child care workers to staff them.
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Emma, Los Angeles, CA