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Child Day Care Services

Child day care services is a growing field offering many employment opportunities to qualified workers in the region. During January - September 2007, 2,121 Central New Yorkers worked in this industry at 192 firms.

Graph of employment trends 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:

  • babysitting services in provider's own home
  • child care centers
  • child day care, before or after school, separate from schools
  • child day care centers
  • child group day care centers
  • Head Start programs (other than those associated with elementary schools)
  • nursery schools
  • preschool centers
Child day care centers primarily care for infants or children, or provide pre-kindergarten education (where medical care or delinquency correction is not a major element). Some have substantial educational programs. These centers generally care for pre-kindergarten or preschool children and may care for older children when they are not in school.

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:

  • Read to children and teach simple painting, drawing, songs, games and similar activities.
  • Direct children in eating, resting, and proper toilet habits and help them develop habits of caring for their clothing and picking up and putting away toys.
  • Help children explore their interests, develop their talents and independence, build self-esteem, and learn social skills.
  • Maintain discipline.
Managers, administrative support personnel, cleaners, cooks, speech pathologists and audiologists, and social workers also account for many jobs in this field.

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:

  • Current job listings and other career resources can be found on the New York State Department of Labor web page (www.labor.state.ny.us)
  • Local New York State Department of Labor offices and One-Stop Centers - look in the Blue Pages of the phone book under State Government, Labor Department
  • The Yellow Pages in the phone book list specific child care facilities - look under the headings: Child Care Centers and Nursery Schools and Kindergartens
  • County child care councils and state departments of Social Services
  • Daily newspapers
  • People working in the field

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