Minimal training and educational requirements make child day care a relatively easy field to enter. Although some child day care workers have had specialized training and have obtained an associate or bachelor's degree or even more education, most of the employers in this field require only a high school diploma with little or no training in the field. Part-time work is generally available, and this feature appeals to many workers in the field.
This industry often has relatively low pay and limited employee benefits, and these factors contribute to high turnover. The average weekly wages for child day care workers during January - September of 2007 - $323 - was 56 percent lower than the average for all industries in the region ($731).
Taking care of children is challenging, rewarding, and filled with new activities every day, but it also can be physically and emotionally demanding. Successful job candidates should have patience; creativity; leadership and teaching skills; and a desire to nurture, motivate, and influence children. Organizational and administrative abilities are also important.
Workers in this field may be employed in any of the following kinds of facilities:
The three largest occupations in the child day care field are preschool teacher, teacher assistant, and child care worker. Key duties of workers in these occupations include the following:
Several factors contribute to the strong demand for child day care workers. These include an increase in dual-income families, the rising labor force participation of women with children, and the fact that women are returning to work so soon after childbirth. In addition, the extended family support system is fading away as people tend to live further away from their families than they once did. There also has been an increase in single-parent households and that has given rise to the need for child day care services. Furthermore, the national Welfare-to-Work initiative has led to an increasing need for childcare services for the children of public assistance recipients who go to work. Also, some parents enroll their children in pre-kindergarten programs to give them an opportunity to interact with other children and prepare for entering elementary school.
Further sources of information about jobs in the child day care industry include the following:
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