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Career Definition for Baby Care Professionals
Baby care professionals (also known as childcare professionals) engage with, supervise and encourage children while following directives set by parents. They plan activities for children in their care and may provide them with approved meals. Baby care professionals also tend to sick or upset children when the need arises and alert parents to any indicators of health or behavioral issues. The most important part of caring for children is ensuring their safety at all times while meeting their physical needs like sleep and meals.
|Education||High school diploma, plus licensure, accreditation, or a degree in early childhood education, per state requirements|
|Job Skills||Excellent communication and decision making skills, physical stamina, and patience when dealing with children|
|Medium Salary (2015)*||$20,320 (all childcare workers)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5% (all childcare workers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational requirements for baby care professionals vary greatly, depending on the state. Although some states require a minimum of a high school education, others have no requirements at all. Some states may require childcare professionals to obtain licensure or an accreditation from a nationally recognized professional organization, such as the National Association for Family Child Care. Employment preference is generally given to individuals who have training in early childhood education. Courses in early childhood education may include parent-teacher relationships, child discipline, infant and toddler education, special needs children and administration of education programs.
Starting in 2013, all caregivers in Head Start programs must have graduated from or enrolled in an associate's degree program in early childhood education. For childcare professionals who work as a privately employed sitter or nanny, most states do not have licensing regulations. However, many state governments require licensing for self-employed professionals if they have multiple children in their care. Childcare centers need to be registered with the state and licensed accordingly; regulations for private childcare centers vary by state.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that baby care professionals must have the following qualities:
- Ability to identify and meet the needs of children while simultaneously teaching and disciplining them
- Ability to promote language acquisition and social skills
- Good communication skills with the parents of their charges
- Multi-tasking abilities, patience and physical stamina
Employment and Salary Outlook
Career prospects for baby care professionals are expected to grow as more households have two employed parents, birth rates rise and the number of children being cared for after school increases. According to the BLS, employment of baby care professionals can expect a growth rate of 5% from 2014-2024, as fast as average. Wages differ greatly based on whether a baby care professional is self employed, works in private care or is employed by a daycare center. Per the BLS, the average hourly wage for all childcare workers in May 2015 was $9.77. Self-employed sitters and nannies may negotiate their own pay rate with their private employers based on regional rates; self-employed childcare employees may be required to work longer hours, although part-time and evening work is also an option.