What do Childcare Workers Do?
Childcare workers provide a valuable service to families as they help take care of children in private homes, businesses, schools, daycares, and designated childcare institutions. Childcare workers are needed to help feed, dress, bathe, and supervise children, and provide personal care and service to them while they are in their care. Childcare workers are expected to see a 14% growth increase in employment in the next few years, with over 50,000 projected job openings nationally.
Childcare Workers Skills and Abilities
When working in childcare, you must have great communication skills, be very patient, and also be very observant in order to watch children carefully and help keep them safe from harm. It is also important that childcare workers know how to creatively problem solve and to think critically in order to identify any issues that children may be having, and to help find solutions to problems that are unique to each child.
Childcare Workers Duties
The workday of a childcare employee is busy and varied. Childcare workers will need to perform many of these tasks each and every day:
- Plan and organize mealtimes, serve and help feed children, and clean up afterward
- Change diapers, clothing, or give baths as needed
- Maintain a safe play area by sanitizing equipment and toys, preventing access to unsafe areas, and supervising children at all times
- Provide developmentally enriching activities, such as reading books, singing songs, and playing age-appropriate games
- Teach appropriate behavior and administer discipline as needed
- Provide transportation for children to and from school, activities, and daycare facility
- Keep records of children’s mealtimes, behavior, activities, and payment schedules
Childcare Workers Tools and Technology
Working in childcare means you will be using tools such as strollers, car seats, playground equipment, and monitors each day. You will need to be familiar with the correct use of car seats and how to properly latch these seats into the car, as well as the right size and car seat positioning for each child’s age and weight. Strollers also need to be used correctly and folded and unfolded properly or else they can become a hazard. Childcare workers should also have plenty of educational and developmentally appropriate toys on hand, which would also be considered tools that are needed in this area of employment. Technology used by childcare workers includes scheduling software, educational programs, electronic mail, and word processing software to help create newsletters or memos for parents. You may also want to consider using financial software programs to help keep track of payments and tuition.
Education and Training for Childcare Workers
In order to work in childcare, you do not need an advanced degree, but you do need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Many individuals will gain the knowledge and skills they need for this position by working hands-on in the childcare environment and learning from mentors and other workers. You can also choose to further your education by attending courses offered in childcare as a provider or an assistant if you would like to improve your knowledge and basic job skills.
Childcare Workers Salary
Childcare workers can earn from $16,000 to $30,000 annually, but depending on your individual experience and location, that wage can vary widely. The median wage for childcare workers throughout the nation is about $23,000.
Childcare Workers Jobs By Geography
States with the highest growth for childcare workers are Georgia, Arizona, and Texas, in that order. However, childcare workers have the highest annual salary in New York, Massachusetts, and in the District of Columbia. Childcare workers are very much needed within the personal care and service industry, and if you hope you find employment in this industry, choosing a state that expects to see job growth is important.