Child Care Assistant: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you can pursue as a child care assistant. Read on to learn more about training requirements, job responsibilities and the employment outlook for this career path. Schools offering Child Care Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Child Care Assistant?

Child care assistants use games and activities to teach children necessary life skills. They work closely with at least one main child care worker to care for children when their families are unavailable, like during the work days. A child care assistant's primary responsibility is to help monitor kids and ensure their safety at all times. They also help feed and clean the children, as well as provide a routine schedule that may include playtimes and rest times. They may help older children prepare for school or do their homework. Child care assistants may help the main worker monitor a child's progress and development and relay this information to the family as needed. The following chart gives you an overview about what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required High school diploma; college education preferred
Education Field Of Study Early Childhood Education
Key Responsibilities Well-being of children, organize activities for children, communicate with parents
Licensure/Certification Required in some states
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for all childcare workers*
Median Salary (2015) $20,320 for all childcare workers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Do I Need to Become a Child Care Assistant?

Educational requirements for child care professionals vary by state. For example, some require you to complete some college courses or a degree in early childhood development, while others only require a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

You might consider an associate's degree program in early childhood education to learn the different factors involved in a child's development within a cultural environment. You can also learn the theoretical and practical skills necessary to work effectively with children.

Bachelor's degree programs in early childhood development are also available and offer advanced studies in education, child psychology and nutrition. Graduating from a child care assistant training program could give you the experience necessary to earn the Council for Professional Recognition's Child Development Associate (CDA) designation or the National Child Care Association's Child Care Professional (CCP) credential. Some child care centers could require or prefer that you obtain certification to work with preschool children, infants or toddlers.

What Might My Job Entail?

You could help preschool teachers or other child care workers watch children who are too young for kindergarten. As a child care assistant, you're typically responsible for the well being of the children in the absence of their parents. You might help organize activities that can prepare children for formal education and develop their language and social skills, physical abilities and intellect. You can choose to help care for infants and toddlers or supervise older children before or after school. You might also communicate with your supervisors or parents, discussing a child's progress and any developmental concerns.

What's the Employment Outlook?

Child care assistants work in preschools, day care centers and Head Start programs. The number of children that you could be responsible for depends on the age group of the children. Working in a child care facility can be very emotionally demanding and strenuous. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for child care workers, including child care assistants, would grow about 5% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that the median salary for this position was $20,320 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A similar position that usually requires some college education, but not necessarily a degree is that of a teacher assistant. Teacher assistants help enforce rules and lessons that a main educator teaches in class. They may also help perform various administrative tasks for the teacher. Preschool teachers are also closely related, but require at least an associate's degree. These professionals teach children who are typically under the age of 5 to help prepare them for school. They teach various subjects, but at a simplified level for early learners.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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