To get a child care worker job, an individual must possess the skills and characteristics necessary for taking care of children. Child care workers need to be patient, energetic, and creative. Experience with children can be obtained in a variety of ways, including babysitting young relatives or neighborhood children, or prior employment in a child care center or preschool. Some schools and day care centers require child care workers to take courses and pass licensing requirements. The educational requirements for working as a child care worker can vary from no high school diploma to a college degree, depending on the setting.
Child care workers must enjoy working with children and possess specific character traits. A child care worker who works in a day care center with toddlers must be energetic enough to run after young children as needed. Children have a variety of physical and emotional needs and may repeatedly ask questions and make demands. Child care workers must be patient when answering questions and be able to nurture the growth and learning of young children. Creativity is also an important quality for child care workers, who often need to keep children engaged in a variety of play, learning, and arts activities.
The child care worker job involves taking responsibility for the health and safety of children. Young children require continual monitoring and can hurt themselves if they are not watched carefully. Some day care facilities require that child care workers complete courses in injury prevention and emergency procedures. Taking care of a child's health also means exercising sanitary practices and handling food properly to prevent illness. Many employers also require child care workers to undergo a background check and show proof of immunization.
Securing a child care worker job requires first identifying the right age group. Opportunities exist to care for children of all ages, from infants to adolescents. A high school graduate who has experience with babies might be interested in babysitting her neighbor’s newborn while the mother works full-time. If she prefers working with older children, she might want to work in a day care center, engaging in various activities such as monitoring children, playing with them, and leading arts and crafts activities. Some child care workers are full-time nannies who cook, clean, pick up children from school, drive them to enrichment activities, and help children with homework.
The educational requirements for the child care worker job span a wide spectrum. Some jobs may be secured without a high school diploma, such as working as a nanny or a babysitter. Caring for larger numbers of children, such as in a day care center, typically requires additional training and licensing, and requirements vary by region. A high school diploma and college child care courses are required by some employers. Some employers offer child care courses, which must be completed before being hired for the child care worker job.