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Child care Worker

What is this job like?

Child care workers teach and care for children while their parents are away. They make sure children are safe. They might also help them play games, do art, and read books.

Child care workers need to be energetic, fun, and patient. They help kids gain new skills and learn how to get along with others.

Many child care workers are babysitters. They bathe, dress, and feed children; watch them while they play; and clean up after them. They might put kids to bed, read to them, and take them to activities. People who are in charge of babies make bottles and change diapers.

Nannies are babysitters who care for children for a long time. They might watch children all day, and they might work with the same family for years. Nannies often clean, cook, and do laundry, too. Some nannies travel to work, while others live with the children they watch.

Child care workers in schools and day care centers take care of groups of children. They greet young children as they arrive and help them find something fun to do. Child care workers plan daily activities before the children come. Each day usually includes playing, reading, arts and crafts, and rest time.

Child care workers also make snacks and nutritious meals. They make sure children are healthy and clean.

To help children learn, these workers play educational games. To teach language, they might tell stories, read books, or help kids act out stories. To teach math, they might help kids count blocks or cut out shapes. To teach science, they might mix colors when painting. They might also teach music and dance.

Some workers care for older children before and after school. These workers might help with homework, lead sports and other activities, and keep everyone safe. They might take children on field trips. Some workers also bring kids to and from school.

Child care workers spend most of their day with children. But they also meet with parents or guardians to talk about how their child is doing. Child care workers also write notes about what children do. It's important for child care workers to look for problems children may have and to tell their parents or guardians.

Watching children grow and learn can be fun. But the job also can be hard because workers have to run, clean, play outside, and lift up children.

It can also be hard to have patience. Workers need to care for children who have different needs and are sometimes upset. They should also be cheerful, always aware of what the kids are doing, and have a lot of energy.

The work hours of child care workers vary widely. Workers can decide to work in early morning or late evening. They can work full time or part time. Child care centers are open year round. Nannies who live with the children they watch usually work longer hours.

How do you get ready?

Most child care workers can get jobs right after graduating from high school. However, workers in day care centers and schools usually need to get a license from the State where they work. Some States make sure child care workers know about safety, and some make sure workers take college classes.

After getting a job, child care workers learn by watching experienced people. Many workers also take classes where they work.

Having a child care certificate or college classes makes it easier to get jobs. In school, they study early childhood education. They learn health and nutrition and study how children learn and grow.

It also helps to learn about music, art, drama, and storytelling. Child care workers with their own businesses also need to learn how to manage people and money.

After getting work experience, some child care workers can become supervisors or start their own day care centers. Some become preschool teachers in public and private schools. To get these jobs, people often need a bachelor's degree, which usually takes 4 years of college.

How many jobs are there?

There were about 1.3 million child care workers in 2008. Many worked in day care centers, and many others were babysitters or nannies who worked in people's houses. About 1 out of 3 was self-employed.What about the future?

There will be lots of jobs for child care workers, especially for people who have training or experience.

Jobs for child care workers are projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations between 2008 and 2018. That's because there will be more parents who work and more children to watch.

The number of jobs for child care workers depends somewhat on the number of government child care centers and on government programs that help people pay for child care.

How much does this job pay?

The average yearly wages of child care workers were $20,350 in May 2008. People who worked in elementary and high schools made more than those in day care centers.

People with certificates or college degrees often make more money than other people.

Are there other jobs like this?

Teacher assistants


Teachers—special education

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