Become a Certified Child Care Provider: Certification and Career Info

Feb 27, 2019

Learn how to become a certified child care provider. Explore the job description, education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career in child care.

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  • 0:03 Child Care Providers
  • 0:37 Career Skills & Info
  • 1:31 Step 1: Education
  • 2:00 Step 2: Home Daycare License
  • 2:42 Step 3: Certification
  • 3:45 Step 4: Director Position

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Child Care Provider

Certified child care providers care for children under the age of five during the day, and older children before and after school or during vacations. They usually hold a Child Development Associate (CDA) or Child Care Professional (CCP) credential.

Providers ensure the health and safety of children at child care centers or in children's homes. Those who work at child care centers may need to work long hours to accommodate parent pick-up times. In-home services may require evening, overnight or unusual shifts.

Career Skills and Info

Degree Level High school diploma; some employers may require a postsecondary degree
Degree Field Early Childhood Education
Licensure and Certification Licensure required in many states to use private home to provide services; CPR, first aid and a Child Development Associate (CDA) certification required by some states and employers
Experience Work experience or training is typically required
Key Skills Patience, physical stamina, social, instructional, communication and decision-making skills, ability to use scheduling and educational software
Salary $22,310 per year (2015 median salary for all child care providers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET Online

Certified child care providers usually have to pass a background check and meet immunization requirements. Those providing services in their homes may need a state license. Providers must also be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

Key career skills for child care providers include patience, physical stamina, communication, decision-making, instructional and social abilities are also very important. Child care providers should also be computer friendly and able to use scheduling and educational software.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), child care workers will see a 5%, or fast-as average, increase in jobs from 2014-2024. In May 2015, the average yearly salary for a child care worker was $22,310.

Step 1: Education

Depending on the state and the setting in which services are offered, some child care providers may gain employment without a high school diploma, while other professionals might need a certificate or degree in early childhood education. Providers who work at Head Start programs have to be working towards a postsecondary degree or child development credential.

Success Tip:

  • Participate in a training program. States may require that child care providers complete training before working with children.

Step 2: Home Daycare License

Child care providers who offer services in their own homes may need a state license. The licensing process varies by state, and is often determined by the number of children being cared for. It typically involves completing forms and an orientation, paying a fee and passing a home inspection. During the home inspection, licensing agents ensure that providers meet state requirements for safety, cleanliness and organization.

Success Tip:

  • Consider Accreditation. The National Association for Family Child Care offers accreditation to family child care providers (or private home day cares) who can pass an evaluation. Providers are required to recertify every three years.

Step 3: Earn Certification

The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is a nationally recognized certification administered by the Council for Professional Recognition. To qualify for a CDA assessment, candidates must have accumulated 480 hours of experience working with children and 120 hours of education in child care. A passing score on an exam and being observed at work are also part of the application process.

The Child Care Professional (CCP) certification offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation is recognized by some states. Requirements include a high school diploma, experience in child care and a satisfactory score on an exam.

Success Tip:

  • Maintain certification. CDA credentials are valid for three years. Renewal criteria includes documenting work experience, obtaining first aid training, joining a professional organization, completing a letter of recommendation form and earning continuing education units (CEUs).

Step 4: Director Position

Child care providers with significant experience in the field can advance to positions as directors or supervisors in child care facilities. Aside from experience, positions typically require a high school or postsecondary award, as well as certification.

Let's review! Certified child care providers typically have a Child Development Associate (CDA) or Child Care Professional (CCP) credential, which require meeting certain education and experience requirements.

Child care workers overall earned an average annual salary of $22,310, as of May 2015.

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