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What Are the Requirements for Starting a Career in Child Care?

Requirements for starting a career in childcare include experience working with children (obtained possibly through volunteering), patience, enthusiasm and understanding. Other career requirements include the ability to pass background checks and the willingness to obtain certification and licensure if needed. If you would like to build a childcare career, read on for further details.

Personality Requirements for Childcare Workers

Not just anyone can work with children. It is essential that you love children and want to ensure that they reach their fullest potential. You must also be capable of providing the necessary discipline should problems erupt, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The ability to communicate with children is essential, as is knowing when to call a time-out. Other personal attributes include:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Understanding
  • Sensitivity
  • Maturity

Important Facts About Childcare Workers

Salary (2021) $27,490
Job Growth (2021-2031) 6%
Entry-level Education High School Diploma or equivalent
Continuing EducationMay be required to maintain license; may also be offered annually as state-mandatory training

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification

Credentials such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) and Certified Child Care Professional (CCP) may be voluntary, or they may be required by some states. Even when voluntary, obtaining these certifications enhances your marketability and may help you secure a position. They require previous experience and educational training (i.e. college courses or degree) in child care.

Licensure and Other Regulations

Different states have different requirements and regulations when it comes to childcare, though many states require licensure. Even if you are only caring for a few children in your home, a license may still be required. It also signals to the parent that you have met state regulations regarding training and education. There are also laws about the number of children allowed in the home as well as the things or objects that can be brought into the facility.

Where to Work

When starting a career in childcare, you need to decide if you'd like to work in an already-established facility or start your own. The location in which you ultimately decide to work will determine how much education and training you need. Requirements vary according to the states workers live in. Educational requirements can range from a high school diploma to college courses to a degree in child development.

Along with training and education, you will most likely have to undergo a background investigation. If you want to open your own center, you must have business and management skills, along with the ability to obtain licensure.