How Do I Become a Child Day Care Provider?

N. Madison
N. Madison

The steps you will have to take to become a child day care provider will likely depend on where you live. Each jurisdiction sets its own requirements for those who want to work in this field. In some cases, having a high school or general educational development (GED) diploma is enough for this position while in others you may have to complete a child care education program or even earn a degree. If you want to run your own business as a child day care provider, you will likely have to seeking licensing. If you want to work as an employee, however, you will have to meet the requirements of your perspective employer in addition to jurisdiction-specific criteria.

Day care providers supervise and teach young children.
Day care providers supervise and teach young children.

The first step you'll likely take to become a child day care provider is contacting the organization responsible for day care licensing in your area. Often, this organization is referred to as a child care licensing agency, an office of child care development, or something similar. By contacting such an organization, you can learn the requirements for starting your own day care business as well the criteria for working in various child care positions within your jurisdiction.

States require various licenses for those interested in becoming a childcare provider.
States require various licenses for those interested in becoming a childcare provider.

The educational requirements you'll need to meet to become a child day care provider vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In many places, however, you can start your own day care at home with a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Often, however, a college degree is required if you want to become a director of a commercial facility. In some cases, group supervisors need college degrees as well, though you may sometimes substitute significant experience for a portion of the educational requirements.

In most states, you need to have at least a few years of experience watching children, whether your own or someone else's.
In most states, you need to have at least a few years of experience watching children, whether your own or someone else's.

If you choose to start your own day care business, licensing is usually a must. In most cases, licensing requirements are more stringent for opening a commercial day care facility than they are for starting a family day care home. In either case, however, you will likely have to pay an application fee, complete an application process, and submit to facility inspections and background checks. Any employees you hire will usually have to submit to background checks as well. You may also have meet child-to-provider-ratio requirements and ensure that every provider is free of communicable diseases.

Each jurisdiction has different requirements for becoming a child day care provider.
Each jurisdiction has different requirements for becoming a child day care provider.

If you want to become a child day care provider as an employee of a family day care home or commercial day care facility, you will also have to meet the guidelines of your prospective employer; in some cases, the employer may have requirements that exceed those set by your jurisdiction. For example, if your jurisdiction requires group leaders to have 30 university credits in early childhood development, your prospective employer may require group leaders to have an associate's degree in this major instead.

Day care providers may get training in how to resolve conflicts between the kids they are taking care of.
Day care providers may get training in how to resolve conflicts between the kids they are taking care of.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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