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Childcare Licensing and Training

Childcare training is important for individuals interested in pursuing a childcare career, and offers the key skills and knowledge needed to nurture and help raise a child. Although training requirements vary by State, basic courses provide the hands-on programs and experience necessary for prospective providers. Childcare workers may choose to work independently or as part of a daycare facility.

Job Description and Responsibilities After Childcare Training

Childcare training provides a worker with interpersonal skills and knowledge about children's health, development, and psychology. Workers must enjoy working with children and be able to influence them in a positive way. Common responsibilities include:

  • Playing with young children
  • Helping children with activities and learning
  • Guiding children with projects and tasks
  • Teaching basic educational principles
  • Motivating children to participate in activities and providing positive feedback
  • Learning how to make a positive difference in the child's or family's life
  • Helping the child to grow, learn, and gain new skills

A childcare provider may also be involved with play work, at-home education, homeschooling, and basic cleanup duties. Workers spend the majority of their day with children and maintaining contact with parents as needed. Some are responsible for developing a valuable childcare program. They must ensure that the child receives enough attention and freedom to grow, and need to make a well-balanced schedule of activities for each day.

Skills Needed for a Childcare Program

While some childcare workers choose to work from home, others may work in a daycare facility or center. A daycare license is required for those who are interested in opening up their own business. The average program requires workers to have specific skills and characteristics including:

  • Learning and teaching abilities
  • Strong communication skills
  • High levels of enthusiasm
  • A high level of patience
  • Self-motivated attitude
  • Ability to work on multiple projects at a time
  • Strong attention skills
  • Ability to focus on continued education and lifelong learning
  • Provide firm but fair discipline
  • Be alert and conscientious

Career Options with a Childcare License

A childcare license is required in some states, and offers more flexibility with career options as well. After completing the appropriate childcare training and courses, a worker may choose to work as a:

  • Babysitter

  • Nursery Assistant

  • Playtime Assistant

  • Nanny

  • Early Childhood Educator

  • Special Education department

  • Nursery Manager

  • Daycare Manager

  • Daycare Supervisor or Assistant

  • At-Home Childcare Provider

  • Pre-School Administrator, Manager, or Supervisor

Workers in the field may choose to manage their own child care program or facility, where additional training will be required to learn about local laws, legislation, and options.

Childcare Training Requirements

Training requirements vary depending on the State, and each state issues a childcare license after the individual has completed specific courses or a training program. Requirements are usually higher for a career at a formal childcare center or business. Still, an individual may choose to pursue a career at home as an independent contractor. A childcare course can be taken at a vocational school, technical college, or even at a distance through online learning.

Many employers prefer to hire those with a childcare license. The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential recognized that the individual has completed formal training in child development and education. Other employers offer their own form of specialized training. An associate degree program in childhood education can provide a strong foundation for a long-term career. Courses in these programs often include:

  • Childhood psychology
  • Cognition skills
  • Communications
  • Language
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • CPR training

Although opportunities for advancement in the field are limited, many childcare workers choose to obtain additional training or further their education. They may choose to work as a daycare center supervisor or administrator, or return to school in the area's of child psychology or childhood development.

A childcare license is important to meet the minimum standards and requirements of each state. Licensing gives the worker formal credentials for their position, and allows them to work independently. Some providers and workers may choose to work out of their homes or open up their own business. In this situation, a day care license is usually required. In most cases, obtaining a license requires completing a formal application and providing various attachments. Licensing attachments may include:

  • Proof of a medial physical
  • A signed health officer inspection of the facility
  • A list of household residents under 18 along with notarized criminal record releases
  • Documentation of education and experience in child care
  • Documentation of zoning approval where the program will operate
  • Inspection and evaluation of toys
  • Evaluation of the programs and services to be offered to children

Career Potential and Employment Prospects

Many childcare workers choose to work part time, and approximately one third are self-employed. Many work in child day care services, nursing facilities, and social organizations. Careers in the non-profit sector are another opportunity, along with religious institutions, government agencies, school systems, and State programs. The demand for child care workers is expected to be about average through 2014, and those with high qualifications can enjoy a long-term career. Still, with the increasing need for early childhood education programs, the growth in demand may be moderate or less than average.

The educational level of the worker largely determines the earning potential. Median hourly earnings for childcare careers were $8.06 in 2004, with the majority of workers employed at residential care facilities. Related occupations include:

  • Social workers

  • Special education teachers

  • Teacher assistants

  • Teacher's aide

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