Child Care Workers
Child care workers hold about 1.2 million jobs in the United States. They are employed in child-care centers, preschools, public schools, and private homes. About 26 percent of these workers work in child care centers. Both the government and the private sector are working to provide for the enormous need for quality child care. Franchisers, like Primrose Schools Franchising Company and Kids 'R' Kids International, are also providing more employment opportunities.
Other child care workers are employed by private households, elementary and secondary schools, and religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations.
At your first opportunity, you should take part-time work at a child-care center, family child care business, or after school program to gain firsthand experience. Contact child-care centers, nursery schools, Head Start programs, and other preschool facilities to identify job opportunities. The U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services' Office of Child Care estimates that one-third of all child-care teachers leave their centers each year. Many positions are listed online at sites such as Indeed.com. Be careful to choose a child-care center where you are comfortable with their policies.
As child care workers gain experience, they receive salary increases and promotions to such positions as assistant director or preschool teacher. With additional experience and education, such as a degree in early childhood development, they may be able to advance into an administrative position (e.g., director of a center). Some experienced child care workers with advanced degrees become directors of Head Start programs and other government programs. If a child care worker has a head for business, he or she may choose to open a child-care facility. Some child care workers also decide to pursue a degree in education and become certified to teach kindergarten or elementary school.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Become certified by the Council for Professional Recognition and the National Child Care Association in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards set by your profession.
Talk with child care workers about their careers. Ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.