Becoming a Daycare Provider: Job Description & Salary Information

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The mean annual wage for daycare providers is around $21,710. Is it worth the stress? Get the truth about job duties and career prospects to see if becoming a daycare provider is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Daycare Provider

Although employment for daycare providers is expected to grow faster than average, wages could be low and the work can be physically exhausting. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of becoming a daycare provider.

Pros of Becoming a Daycare Provider
Average job growth (employment for all childcare workers was predicted to increase by 14% from 2012-2022)*
Can be rewarding to help children learn social skills*
Both part-time and full-time positions are available*
Can enter the career with less than a high school diploma*
Work is available in various settings (childcare centers, homes, schools, churches and other organizations)*

Cons of Becoming a Daycare Provider
Salaries are often low, especially in informal settings and without postsecondary education*
Work can be physically exhausting (need for kneeling, carrying, bending and lifting)*
Jobs might be stressful, with responsibility for resolving conflicts among children**
Changing diapers of infants and toddlers may be required, which might be unappealing to some*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **O*NET OnLine.

Career Information

Job Duties

As a daycare provider or childcare worker, you could supervise and monitor children from infancy through school age. You might prepare meals, help children with hygiene and toilet training, change diapers, record progress, maintain schedules, direct play, prepare children for kindergarten and watch school aged youngsters before and after school or during the summer.

If you're employed by a childcare center, you might assist preschool teachers and assistants in teaching young learners. As a family childcare provider, you could take care of children in your own home. If you wanted to be a nanny, you'd go to a family's home to take care of the children; you might even live in their home. You'd sometimes drive the children to activities, appointments and school. A babysitter also goes to homes, but often works for many different families on an occasional basis.

Salary

According to the BLS in May 2014, the mean annual wage for childcare workers was approximately $21,710, or about $10.44 per hour. At that same time, most of these workers were employed in child daycare services industry, although the top paying industries were state government, psychiatric hospitals, scientific R&D services, business/computer training and bus transportation.

What Are the Requirements?

Education

Education and training requirements for daycare providers vary with state regulations, job settings and employer preferences. You might get started without a high school diploma, but many of these workers finish high school and earn some postsecondary credits in early childhood education or complete an associate's degree. Without any education after high school, some states require training for daycare providers.

Certifications and Licenses

The Council for Professional Recognition offers the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification, which is nationally recognized. To earn this certification, you'd need a high school diploma, coursework and experience in this field. The National Child Care Association offers the Child Care Professional designation (CCP), which is recognized by some states. Employers sometimes require first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certifications, too.

Many states require licensing for childcare centers and family daycare homes. All staff members must have complete records of immunizations, pass background checks and meet minimum training requirements.

What Do Employers Look for?

Job postings, families and children may often refer to daycare or childcare providers as 'teachers', even in positions where postsecondary education isn't required. Although some employers require college credits or a degree, experience in the field is often a requirement. Read the following excerpts taken from real job postings, in May 2012, to see what employers were seeking.

  • A church in Texas advertised for a part-time childcare center worker. In this position, you'd take care of children ranging from six weeks to fifth grade. Requirements included being 18 years or older, having a high school diploma or GED, passing a fingerprint and criminal history check, be Christian, able to lift at least 40 pounds, capable of managing a group of youngsters and genuinely love children. This employer also preferred a CDA or Child Development Certification (CDC) and previous experience with infants through age five.
  • A company in Pennsylvania sought part-time childcare workers to provide in-home care to children with emotional, developmental, or behavioral challenges and their siblings. A high school diploma or equivalent was required, along with some previous experience and a reliable car. The hours were flexible and training was provided.
  • An employment service was looking for a full-time, live-out nanny for a family in New York. You'd assist another nanny with the supervision, daily care and education of two children, in addition to some housekeeping and cooking duties. Occasional travel with the family was required. You'd need at least two years of nanny experience, excellent references, knowledge of first aid and CPR certification, cooking skills, availability for overtime, valid passport and the ability to work legally in the United States. Strong swimming skills and a valid driver's license were a plus.
  • An in-home care service in North Carolina advertised for a child caregiver/babysitter to care for infants through senior citizens. You'd work under the supervision of a registered nurse and follow a childcare plan developed by a nursing director or clinical team leader. In addition to planning and executing activities, you'd also assist in diapering and cleaning up after activities and meals. A high school diploma or GED was required, along with three years of documented experience, clear background check and drug screen, three excellent references, CPR certification and driver's license. Training in nursing or early childhood education and first aid certification were a plus.

How Can I Make My Skills Stand Out?

According to the BLS in 2010, workers with formal education will probably have the brightest job prospects. Along with formal education, you might also want to consider certifications like the CDA or the CCP. First aid and CPR training could also help you stand out. You'll probably want to have glowing references from any previous childcare positions, in addition.

Other Careers to Consider

Preschool Teacher

Maybe you'd like to earn a higher wage by getting an associate's degree. Working as a preschool teacher, you may have many of the same job duties as a daycare provider. However, more emphasis might be placed on educating children between the ages of three and five, explaining science, writing and reading in ways that they can grasp. The mean annual wage in May 2011, according to the BLS, was about $30,000.

Teacher Assistant

You might be rather turned off by the idea of changing diapers. If so, you should consider working with older children as a teacher assistant. You'd work under the supervision of a teacher and give students extra instruction and attention. You can sometimes get into this occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent, and the mean annual wage in May 2011 was around $25,000, according to the BLS.

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Kaplan University

  • MS in Human Services
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Penn Foster Career School

  • Career Diploma - Child Care Professional

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Human Services

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics
  • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders

What is your highest level of education?

Baker College Online

  • General Studies - Bachelor

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Argosy University

  • Human Services (MS)
  • Liberal Arts (BA)

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Northcentral University

  • PhD in Psychology - Gerontology
  • MS - Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology (MSPSYCAD)

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