Jobs with babies: 16 great career options to work with infants

Dec. 13, 2018
Jobs with babies: 16 great career options to work with infants
Image via Getty Images/Emma Kim

If you love infants and are looking for job options, we have great news for you: There are lots of well-paying and rewarding careers where you get to spend your time working with babies! But a desire to work with babies and a passion for the work alone won't guarantee success.

"Infants are beautiful but demanding little people who are very curious about the world," says Helen Adeosun, the founder and CEO of caregiver support site Care Academy. "You have to be patient and want to help babies grow at such a developmentally important time."

Jobs with babies require various levels of experience, training and degrees, but many people already have a good foundation to build upon.

"If you worked at summer camps or were your neighborhood's go-to babysitter, you already bring lots of relevant experience to the table," says career management expert Amanda Augustine, a spokesperson for the career resource site TheLadders.

First, think about what setting you'd like to work in.

"Some people prefer working in a school, while others prefer offices, hospitals or homes," says Mary Lorenz, of CareerBuilder.

Then consider how much time and money you'd like to invest in schooling and training. With some self-reflection and research, you should be able to find a career you truly love.

Here are 16 jobs working with babies.

1. Nanny

Nannies care for babies and children in their own home or in the family's home. Though most of their time is spent with babies and children, they may also prepare meals, do light housework and run errands.

Experience and/or schooling required: Most families will ask their nannies to take and pass a child and infant CPR class. Some families may prefer nannies with additional childcare training or several years of caregiving experience.

Average pay: Salary for a nanny will vary by location, schooling and experience, the number of children you watch and other factors. But the average weekly salary for a nanny in 2018 was $580 per week.

2. Child care center owner or worker

You can get lots of hands-on baby time by opening or working at a child care center.

Experience and/or schooling required: Education and training requirements depend on your state and employer. Research your state to find out what training and licensing requirements you will need to meet in order to own or work in a child care center.  

Average pay: Pay for a child care worker will vary by location and experience, but the average pay is just under $11 per hour for entry level. If you own your own child care center, your take home pay will depend upon how many children attend your center and how much you charge per child. If you own the child care center, you will also be responsible for paying your other workers, state fees and any other additional costs so you should factor those items into your budget.

3. Children's gym owner or teacher

A fun way to work with babies and kids is to open a children's gym or become an infant teacher at one of them. Businesses such as the Little Gym, My Gym and Gymboree Play & Music offer franchise opportunities.

Experience and/or schooling required: Each state has different educational and training requirements for owning or working in a children’s gym. If you are interested in opening your own gym, be sure to check with your state and local government offices for any licensing and training requirements.

Average pay: Depending on what you teach at a children’s gym, your salary could range from $9 to $12 per hour. If you decide to open your own children’s gym, your pay will depend upon how many children enroll and how much you charge per child. You will also be responsible for paying the staff, purchasing and maintaining equipment and for paying any required government fees.

4. Pediatrician

A pediatrician is a physician who cares for babies and children. Pediatricians perform wellness checks, diagnose and treat illnesses and more. They also provide newborn care after a baby's birth.

Experience and/or schooling required: Pediatricians must hold medical degrees. You will also need to complete a three-year residency or internship after earning your medical degree.

Average pay: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a pediatrician can expect to earn an average salary of $187,450 per year.

5. Pediatric nurse

A pediatric nurse is a nurse who works within the pediatric field of medical care whether that is in a general pediatrics office, a pediatric specialist’s office or in the children’s ward in a hospital. These nurses work with children from the time they’re born through their teenage years. Pediatric nurses can be registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or nursing assistants.

Experience and/or schooling required: RNs must have a bachelor's or associate's degree in nursing or complete an approved nursing program and be licensed. LPNs, who work under RNs, must complete a state-approved educational program and be licensed. Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved educational program and pass their state's competency exam. Most pediatric nurses will also complete a residency, internship or fellowship after they receive their license.

Average pay: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average salary for an RN is $70,000 per year, with nurses who specialize in a field such as pediatrics often making closer to $90,000 per year. An LPN will average a salary of $45,000 per year and a nursing assistant will bring home an average of $27,500 per year.

6. Pediatric nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner is an RN with additional advanced training who is qualified to serve as a primary and specialty health care provider in lieu of a pediatrician. Most work alongside a pediatrician, but some do maintain their own practices.

Experience and/or schooling required: Nurse practitioners are expected to complete their degrees to become an RN first. Following their RN degree, candidates must go on to complete a master’s degree in nursing in an accredited program. Most are also expected to complete one to two years of a nursing residency or internship.

Average pay: The average salary for a nurse practitioner will vary by location, but ranges anywhere from $90,000 to $115,000 per year.

7. Neonatal nurse

A neonatal nurse is an LPN or RN who cares for babies — many of them preemies — in a hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Experience and/or schooling required: A neonatal nurse must complete the training required for an RN or LPN and must also obtain a certification in Neonatal Resuscitation and/or Neonatal Intensive Care. Most nurses in this specialty will also be expected to complete one to three years of clinical on-the-job training.

Average pay: Average salary for this position can fall anywhere between $70,000 for RNs to $104,000 for NPs and is also dependent upon location.

8. Labor and delivery nurse

Labor and delivery nurses are RNs who help women during childbirth. They also monitor the mother and baby and provide postpartum care.

Experience and/or schooling required: Labor and delivery nurses must complete the requirements for an RN and complete on-the-job training in a Labor and Delivery clinical setting, such as a hospital. Some may choose to continue their training to become a nurse practitioner or a certified midwife.

Average pay: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average salary for an RN is $70,000 per year, with nurses who have training in a specialized field often making closer to $90,000 per year. A nurse practitioner will make closer to $100,000 per year and all nurse salaries are dependent upon the nursing needs in their area.

9. Doula

A doula supports an expectant mother during labor via aromatherapy, massage and more. Doulas work with the medical team to ensure the mother's wishes are met and they also help with newborn care.

Experience and/or schooling required: While a formal degree is not required to become a doula, most families will want their doula to have undergone specific training and to have received certification. Organizations like DONA International provide widely-accepted professional training for all types of doulas.

Average pay: The average pay for a doula depends on the type of services provided and on location. Birth doulas charge anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per birth (depending on location) and will charge for postpartum care by the hour.

10. Obstetrician

An obstetrician is a physician who cares for pregnant women and delivers babies.

Experience and/or schooling required: Obstetricians must hold medical degrees. They will also need to complete a three-year residency or internship after earning a medical degree.

Average pay: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, an obstetrician can expect to earn an average salary of $235,240 per year.

11. Midwife

Nurse-midwives and lay midwives care for pregnant women and deliver babies.

Experience and/or schooling required: Both nurse and lay midwives require specialized training in delivering babies, but a nurse midwife also needs nursing credentials. All midwives are expected to complete graduate-level programs that culminate in receiving CNM (certified nurse midwives) or CM (certified midwives) credentials.

Average pay: The salary earned by a midwife will vary by location and are higher for CNMs, but they average anywhere from $70,000 to $110,000 per year.

12. Lactation consultant

Lactation consultants help new mothers learn how to successfully breastfeed their babies. They help mothers increase their milk supply, help babies latch properly and will assist new mothers in tracking their babies weight gain and overall health.

Experience and/or schooling required: Lactation consultants must complete breastfeeding coursework and pass a certification exam. Most families will expect their lactation consultant to be a IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)-certified.

Average pay: Salaries for lactation consultants will vary by location and are also dependent upon whether you work in or outside of a hospital, but the average is $73,550 per year.

13. Infant massage therapist

An infant massage therapist helps premature babies develop their muscle strength and functionality.

Experience and/or schooling required: To become an infant massage therapist, you must complete an infant massage therapy program and become licensed. Two programs to try are Loving Touch and Liddle Kidz Foundation.

Average pay: Pay will vary by location, but the average salary earned by a certified infant massage therapist is around $20 per hour.

14. Pediatric physical therapist

A pediatric physical therapist helps babies and kids with disabilities, illnesses or injuries improve their movement and manage their pain via massage and manipulation.

Experience and/or schooling required: All states require physical therapists to obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and a state license.

Average pay: Salary for a pediatric physical therapist can vary depending upon if you are working out of a hospital or not, but the average salary is $85,400 per year.

15. Newborn and baby photographer

Many professional photographers specialize in photographing babies, which involves posing them and getting them to smile.

Experience and/or schooling required: While portrait photographers don't need specific degrees, many take classes to improve their technical skills.

Average pay: How much you make as a newborn and baby photographer depends on how many clients you book and how much you charge, but the average take home is $40,000.

16. Babysitter

Of course, the first job of many people who enjoy working with babies is a babysitting job. Babysitters are part-time caregivers, who may care for babies on a regular schedule or provide date-night or occasional care. For more, see our advice on writing a babysitter resume, setting out reasonable babysitter responsibilities, or to check out the competition, you can browse the profiles of other babysitters near you.

Experience and/or schooling required: No special degree or education is required for a babysitting job, but getting your infant and child CPR certification is always a good idea.

Average pay: Babysitting rates can vary by location, the number of children and by how much experience you have. Consult our Babysitting Rates Calculator to get an idea of how much babysitters in your area are charging.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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