You’ve decided you want to work at a day care — what a great career choice! Being an early childhood educator is an important and rewarding job, and — dare we say it? — fun, too. But you’re probably wondering, Where do I start?
It’s important to understand the demands and duties of the job before you dive in. You’ll need to be active during the day, able to lift kids and get down on the floor at playtime. You’ll also have to have a lot of patience and a keen ability to juggle several tasks — and children — at once.
You can call local day care centers or peruse job listings to get a sense of what’s needed to get hired. In general, though, you will need to:
If you’re ready to start the job hunt, here are tips:
You got the interview. Score! Now’s your chance to dazzle the day care director with your sparkling personality and skills. Nervous? Here are interview tips to help you land the gig:
Once you’ve got a job offer (hooray!), know whether it’s a good one. Do some research into the going rate for day care providers in your area to make sure the offer you’re getting is fair. In many cities, the day care field is fairly competitive, so chances are you’ll get offered a consistent rate to what others with your level of experience are getting. And if you're not, it's perfectly acceptable to put your pay negotiation chops to work.
Also, find out what benefits are included in your offer. Will you have a medical, dental and/or a vision plan? Are there any other perks? How many paid vacation, personal and sick days will there be? Will you be eligible for overtime? You might also ask how often employees tend to get raises and/or promotions. Even if pay isn’t negotiable, it may be possible to be considered for a raise sooner rather than later.
After accepting an offer, it’s time to get started on the job. Here’s what you need to succeed: