The Child Care Job Guide: Child Care Job Options
Find the right type of child care job for you
Through ups and downs in the economy, one type of career that is both rewarding and somewhat recession resistant is child care. Child care job options include being a nanny, au pair, babysitter, mother's helper, day care worker, or nursery school teacher. If you love children, the job can be immensely satisfying -- although sometimes exhausting, too! It helps to have lots of energy, warmth, and patience.
Child Care Provider Definitions
- Nanny A nanny cares for the children in one family, typically on a full-time or near-full-time basis. She can live with the family or not, and may have household responsibilities as well as child care duties. If she lives with the family, she receives a salary in addition to room and board. If she is a live-out nanny, she receives a higher salary, to compensate for the lack of room and board.
- Au pair An au pair is a college student who lives with a family and helps with child care and housework related to the child. In return for the child care and housework, the au pair receives room and board and an agreed-upon allowance. Au pairs are between 18 and 26 years old and are regulated by the U.S. Department of State. In addition to caring for children, they must also be enrolled in a post-secondary institution. Most are foreign students, but some are not.
- Babysitter Babysitters generally work watching one or more children for hourly rates. If they do anything extra, they usually receive more pay. A babysitter can either have a regular schedule, such as every Wednesday from 5 to 10, or work for one assignment at a time.
- Daycare worker Daycare workers work in child care centers or family daycare homes and care for several children at a time. They usually monitor play time, teach social skills, and do some pre-kindergarten readiness instruction with the children. For babies and toddlers, they are also responsible for feeding and diaper changing.
- Nursery school or preschool teachers Nursery school teachers work with children ages 3 to 5 and help them with social skills, cognitive development through play and crafts, and some pre-kindergarten readiness.
- Mother's helper A mother's helper is a "babysitter in training." The goal is generally to make the mom's life a little easier while the mom is still in the house or leaves for brief periods of time. The mother's helper will assist with housework, run errands, or play with the kids while the mom cooks dinner or works from home.
Training and Education
- Nanny Nannies usually have some child care experience but are not necessarily required to have a college degree. The specific requirements will depend on each family's preferences.
- Daycare directors and nursery school teachers These professionals usually need a college degree and some early childhood course work. Some centers require Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials, and some states require additional training and certification.
- Daycare workers and nursery school aides These workers often only need a high school education and some may not need that.
- College Students College students can be a great resource as child care providers. Some college students, such as those majoring in Nursing and Education, may be taking courses that specialize in child care. Also, most college students have flexible schedules allowing them to work during the day when they are not in class. Care.com has a special section of our website dedicated to College Caregivers to help you find a college babysitter, tutor or even a summer nanny at local colleges near you!
- Babysitter There is no set requirement to being a babysitter except to be good with children. Babysitters can be any age, from teens to retired workers.
For all child care professions, it is a good idea to be trained in CPR and First Aid. Local American Red Cross chapters run training courses in these areas, and many offer babysitting training courses for teens.
- Child care jobs can be either part- or full-time. Work in a child care facility usually comes with limited benefits. Babysitting usually does not include any benefits. Nanny jobs often do come with health benefits.
- Conditions vary, depending on what the home or facility is like, as well as the employer, child and family.
- For nannies, families' requirements for the number of hours to be worked can be high -- often exceeding a normal 40-hour week. It is important to understand the time demands of a family before agreeing to work for them.
- When working with children, it is helpful to have energy and be in relatively good shape so that you can play with, lift, and bend down to help them.
- There is generally a lot of demand for child care employees, but pay levels are relatively low compared with other careers -- so it's important that child care providers love their jobs!
- If you love being with children, a child care job can be very satisfying, as you get to help kids develop skills, flourish and grow.
As you research job options, you'll want to assess how much to charge. Different cities may also have different pay rates, so an Orlando Babysitter may be paid a different amount than a Denver Babysitter. To find out what to the average cost is for babysitters in your area, check out Care.com Babysitting Pay Rate Calculator. We suggest making a Babysitter Pay Calculator Widget and adding it to your blog as well as including it in messages to potential child care providers so they know what the rate is in your area.
If you are interested in child care jobs, creating a profile on Care.com is a great way to let potential employers find you.
If you are interested in posting a job, enroll at Care.com today and find the child care provider that is right for you and your family!
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