Become an Infant Day Care Worker: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how you can become an infant day care worker. As we take you through the step-by-step process that can help you start a career in infant care, you'll learn about education and credentialing requirements and what you can earn on the job. View article »

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  • 0:01 Infant Day Care Workers
  • 0:22 Career Information
  • 1:18 Step 1: Get Training
  • 2:01 Step 2: Earn Credentials
  • 3:03 Step 3: Maintain Credentials
  • 3:36 Step 4: Earn a Degree

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Video Transcript

Infant Day Care Workers

Infant day care workers look after the basic needs of very young children, such as babies and toddlers, while the parents are working or away. They may change diapers, prepare meals, and develop daycare routines. Working with infants and toddlers requires a great deal of patience and understanding of child development.

Career Information

Degree Level 12-16 college credits for entry-level job; associate for lead positions
Degree Level Early childhood education or child development
Licensure/Certification Varies by state; some day care centers and in-home care provider licensure; some states/employers require certification in first aid, CPR, and Child Development Associate (CDA)
Experience 0-6 months for entry-level positions; 1-3 years for lead positions
Key Skills Patience; multi-tasking, verbal communication, and childcare skills; proficiency in using scheduling and educational software; pass background checks; current immunizations and physical stamina
Salary $20,320 (2015 median for childcare workers)

Sources: Online job postings (September 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET Online

Entry-level jobs for infant daycare workers typically require 12-16 college credits. Lead positions may require an associate's degree in child development or early childhood education. Entry-level workers may qualify for a position with 0-6 months of experience. Lead providers may need 1-3 years of experience. Key skills for infant daycare workers include patience, physical stamina and the ability to multi-task. They should also be able to communicate with parents and explain concepts in simple terms to infants and toddlers. Proficiency in the use of scheduling and educational software is a plus. In May 2015, the median annual salary for a childcare worker was $20,320, as reported by the BLS. Employment of childcare workers was expected to increase by 5%, or fast as average, between 2014 and 2024.

Step 1: Get Training

As we said earlier, employers often require at least 12-16 college credits in early childhood education, including a course focused on infant and toddler care. Course topics may include caregiving techniques and trends, development issues and milestones, and the caregiver-parent relationship.

State child care and education agencies may also offer courses or short training programs in infant and toddler care. Trainees learn about cultivating intellectual abilities, stimulating language development, and understanding children's behavior. Participants review training materials, including manuals and videos that are based on the most recent theories and research in child development.

Step 2: Earn Credentials

Childcare centers and home day care providers may need to meet state licensing laws, which often include passing background checks and inspections, meeting minimum training requirements, and obtaining immunizations.

Some states and employers require certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and infant first aid. Another commonly requested certification is the Child Development Associate (CDA), a nationally recognized credential administered by the Council for Professional Recognition. To qualify for a formal CDA assessment, candidates must complete 120 credit or non-credit hours of formal training in early childhood education and 480 hours of professional experience. Infant and toddler teachers must obtain training and experience with children aged birth to 3 years. Some states recognize the Child Care Professional (CCP) certification. Requirements include a high school diploma and on-the-job experience.

Step 3: Maintain Credentials

Meeting CDA renewal requirements include continuing education, recent work experience, up-to-date certifications in CPR and first aid, and membership in an early childhood education association. Those who are certified in CCP must also meet continuing education standards. Periodic testing of CPR and first aid skills is necessary to maintain certifications. Day care and home care centers must continue to meet state regulations in order to remain licensed facilities.

Step 4: Earn a Degree

Infant day care workers who would like to advance to leadership positions in infant care may need to earn an associate's degree in child development or early childhood education.

Let's go over what we just talked about. If you'd like to become an entry-level infant day care worker, you'll most likely need 12-16 credits of relevant college coursework or an associate's degree in childhood development or early childhood education to qualify for a leadership position, after which you may earn a median annual salary of $20,320.

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