If you’re planning to work in childcare, you’d be happy to know that it is certainly a very rewarding career. It comes with numerous benefits and with a little bit of patience and effort, you can make a successful career out of it.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the number of workers in daycare will likely spike by 90% through 2020. This could be due to the growing number of women getting back to work after birthing and the steady growth in the number of daycare institutions and kindergartens.
That said, there are a number of different jobs available in childcare and each role has different responsibilities, educational requirements, and remuneration levels. This article will serve as a guide to take you through the various job profiles present within the child daycare sector. Let’s start with the basics first.
Childcare Workers: Who Are They?
Childcare workers look after the children and cater to their basic needs while their parents are at work. They help in establishing and enforcing routines or schedules, overseeing play, and assisting with cleaning, dressing, etc. They may help older kids with homework or assist young children to prepare for kindergarten.
Some of the main responsibilities of a daycare worker include:
- Supervising and monitoring the children’s safety.
- Helping children maintain good hygiene.
- Preparing and organizing snacks and mealtimes for kids.
- Changing the diapers of toddlers and infants.
- Developing routines and schedules to ensure the kids have enough playtime, physical activity, and rest.
- Implementing a curriculum or organizing activities that enable kids to understand and discover their interests.
- Watching for signs of developmental or emotional problems and making the guardians or parents of the issues.
- Keeping records of children’s passion, routines, and progress.
As a childcare provider, you may also read or play with toddlers and babies to instruct basic concepts. For instance, you can teach them about sharing and taking turns by letting them play with other kids.
Childcare Worker Roles:
The duties of a daycare director involve ensuring the safety of the children and making sure the childcare facility is operating smoothly. They oversee daily programs and inspect the childcare educators and other staff to ensure that they care for the children appropriately and remain compliant with safety and health regulations.
Aside from supervising and training the staff within the facility, they are also responsible for preparing budgets. That said, connecting with the guardians or parents to discuss their child’s progress is the daycare director’s most important responsibility.
Daycare directors tend to have a childhood education degree. Some centers or employers may even require you to have 5 to 10 years of work experience or to get certification for running a childcare facility. To secure the role of a daycare director, your education, experience, and credentials will play a major role.
As for their salary, daycare directors made an average median wage of $23.18 an hour in 2019, translating to a total of $48,210 a year, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Child daycares require administrators to supervise business management, budgets, and finances. Their duties vary but generally, it involves communicating with parents and making sure their requirements are met, admitting their kids to the institution, and coming up with policies to ensure the childcare center is operating at its best.
Administrators also oversee the pre-school teachers and childcare workers and see to it that the staff meets state standards for training and education. Some states require administrators to run background checks on the facility’s staff.
The eligibility criteria for daycare administrators vary by center and state. For instance, some employers and states will require you to have an early childhood education degree, while a high school diploma suffices for some. There are also cases where a specific amount of work experience is required in some states. For instance, in California, you may practice as a daycare administrator if you have teaching experience for 2 years.
In terms of salary, you may expect to make an average median salary of $46.8k a year in the US. Also, administrators working for top-tier childcare programs make about $35.14 an hour and up to $73,086 annually.
Preschool teachers offer care for young children, typically around the ages of 3 to 5. Services vary from basic daycare services to academic instruction and enrichment activities. They prepare kids for kindergarten by helping them follow a routine and teaching social skills.
Primarily, they use stories and play to help the children develop. Additional duties of preschool teachers involve keeping kids safe, ordering supplies, planning snacks, attending meetings, and liaising with guardians.
Most preschool teachers work for private daycare centers, while a small percentage of them are working in schools, both public and private. To be a Head Start teacher, a high school diploma along with a certification in pre-childhood education is the minimum requirement.
Additionally, by law, fifty percent of preschool teachers require a degree in childhood education or any related subject. In terms of wage, the latest study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the median wage for preschool teachers is $16.66 an hour and $34,650 annually.
If you’re to take the role as a childcare assistant, you will have the option to work in multiple settings, including private houses and full-service daycare facilities. Primarily, you’ll have to assist primary caregivers and preschool teachers.
You also need to ensure that every kid under your care receives personal attention and care and is in a comfortable and safe environment. While you will mostly work with kids around the ages of 0-3 years, there are some settings where you will need to supervise older children too.
When caring for infants and young kids, you must make sure the equipment such as car seats, swings, and cribs are all in good condition and that every child is always safe. Most of the time, your work will involve changing diapers, feeding, and comforting the children. Other responsibilities include providing stimulation, socialization, and entertainment play activities.
As for qualifications, most states require you to possess a degree in childcare education and other related certification. In terms of salary, the BLS suggests that teacher’s assistants made $27,920 per year in 2019.
Early Childhood Educators
This is another fulfilling job in childcare. Early childhood educators are responsible for providing early education and care to infants and young kids between the ages of 0 and 5.
You can work in different settings, including private households, schools, community centers, childcare facilities, and kindergartens. Contrary to popular belief, your role as an early childhood teacher isn’t just to play with children.
Rather, you’re responsible for preparing structured learning schedules and routines for the kids, stimulating their growing minds, inspiring them, and monitoring everything from meal times to free play.
You will have to create different activities that will help the kids grow both intellectually and socially. In addition to that, you must create a learning environment that inspires exploration, curiosity, and problem-solving in children.
Like most childcare roles, you’ll need a degree or a certification in childcare education. In terms of wage, you can expect to make an average salary of $13.52 an hour, estimating to about $28,100 per annum.
Au pairs are childcare workers who live with a family or guardian and takes care of their children. As an au pair, you will be catering to the kids’ basic needs and even tutor them. In some cases, you may even be responsible for cleaning and cooking.
The working hours of an au pair depend on the employer’s requirements. In exchange for your time, you get a small amount of salary, followed by food and accommodation. Traditionally, this job is primarily taken up by young employees who wish to travel overseas. For instance, most childcare workers in Australia take up this role and explore the world.
Talented au pairs with good work experience are in high demand and can easily find work anywhere in the world. Additionally, based on the arrangements you make with the host family, you can expect to get a minimum weekly pocket money of $195.75.
Babysitters offer temporary childcare services depending on the family’s requirements. Most families keep a list of trusted babysitters they can contact to supervise and care for their child for some hours, especially when they are running errands, at work, or attending social events.
While the family may leave some instructions concerning the kid’s eating and sleeping schedule, you will have to ensure the children’s safety and engage them in stimulating activities. You may expect to do some cleaning chores as well.
Nannies, on the other hand, are quite similar to babysitters in terms of responsibilities. For instance, you may be required to perform housework, do laundry, clean, and even take kids to activities or appointments.
That said, they are more involved in the kids’ lives and usually spend more hours with them, unlike babysitters. Also, they are more qualified and experienced than au pairs or babysitters. Plus, they make more remuneration. Nannies make about $19.14 an hour on average.
Every job roles mentioned in this article are quite important in the childcare industry. Choosing a career in this industry can be quite fun and fulfilling.
Now that you know about the different roles available in childcare, remember that to really make it in this industry, you must be patient, willing to learn constantly, and most importantly, love kids.