Become a Certified Daycare Provider
A daycare provider supervises young children, usually ages 2-5, and provides them with stimulation through play and learning. Daycare providers might work in their own homes, other people's homes, or established daycare facilities. Working with young children can be tiring and stressful. The rewards are many, however, when daycare providers can observe their young charges' gains.
The degree level required is only a high school diploma, with some experience in childcare. To become a home daycare provider, however, you'll need to obtain a Family Child Care Home License. Daycare providers in a facility need to pass the CDA certification exam and all providers must have CPR and first aid certification. Key skills for certified daycare providers include patience, good physical stamina, people skills, and good communication skills. As of 2015, the median salary of childcare workers was $20,320 a year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Step 1: Meet the Requirements
Many states require daycare providers to receive some type of formal training before entering the field. In some instances, taking college courses or earning a degree in early childhood education can satisfy these mandates. As of 2013, childcare providers in Head Start programs are required have an associate's degree or credential.
Here's a success tip for you to consider: pass a background check. Many states require home daycare providers and childcare facilities to be licensed. Background checks for providers and staff are a common requirement for licensure.
Step 2: Complete the Licensing Process
Requirements vary by state for in-home care, but the necessary application process depends on the size and type of a caregiver's program. The licensing process typically involves submitting registration forms, paying a license fee, attending an orientation and passing a home inspection. During the home inspection, licensing agents ensure that providers meet state requirements for safety and cleanliness. States may also require individuals to childproof the home, repair or replace unsafe appliances, and maintain important emergency equipment.
Here's another success tip: complete first aid and CPR training. Most states require family childcare providers or their employees to obtain certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Once trained, an applicant must pass a skills test to receive certification.
Step 3: Obtain Certification
The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is based on a work observation in one of three settings: center-based, family care, or home visitor. To be eligible for a CDA assessment, candidates must have accumulated 480 hours of experience working with children and 120 hours of formal childcare education within the past five years. The training hours must be through an organization that specializes in early childhood teacher preparation. The application process consists of gathering testimonials from parents, being observed by a Council Representative and passing a 2-hour multiple-choice examination. The credential is widely recognized within the early childhood education field, and earning it may increase a provider's career advancement prospects. The Child Care Professional (CCP) designation is recognized by some states.
Here's one last success tip for you to consider: Keep certification current. CDA renewal criteria include obtaining a Pediatric First Aid Certificate, documenting work experience, joining a professional organization, completing a letter of recommendation form and earning continuing education credits.
Becoming a certified daycare provider for children doesn't require a lot of education, but professional certification is available to give you the experience you need to excel in the field.